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'Looper' Director Rian Johnson Is Working On A Cyberpunk-y Sci-Fi Script For His Next Film

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by Edward Davis
April 1, 2013 6:48 PM
5 Comments
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Rian Johnson

American writer/director Rian Johnson has never repeated himself. His debut, "Brick," is a film noir-y crime drama that featured one of the early turning-point Joseph Gordon-Levitt performances that proved the young actor was much more than just a TV child star trying to break into movies. His sophomore effort, "The Brothers Bloom," was a more whimsical con-man film that had flourishes of controlled Wes Anderson-like camera moves, and his third film, of course, was last year's sci-fi time-travel film, "Looper," starring Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis.

With just three films, Johnson has established himself as a completely unique voice in American cinema, and as relatively young and talented as he is, Johnson seems like a ripe candidate to take on high-concept studio tentpole work like Marvel movies, "Mission Impossible" films or any studio project that generally looks for bright, talented filmmakers to take their work to the next level while keeping budgets reasonable. But Johnson has resisted all overtures, and has said that he's going to continue making original films for as long as he can.

"Adaptation is not something that's ever really appealed," Johnson told us in an interview last year. "If I read a great book or comic book or something, the last thing in my head is 'Wow, I want to make that into a movie.' Obviously, some of the greatest films ever made have been adaptations, I'm just talking about my personal opinion. So there's no dream project. My dream is to come up with another movie, and be able to make it. I'm realizing that that's the only way I can work."

So with that in mind, what's next for Johnson? Well, another original project of course, but he might be repeating himself in the genre...somewhat. The director spoke to /Film over the weekend and revealed that he is currently writing his next film. It's evidently still within the sci-fi genre, but more Cyberpunk and different from "Looper." No details or quotes yet, but we imagine this is all Johnson would reveal anyhow. "Cyberpunk" does sound like a bit of an outdated term, but the works of William Gibson still resonate, and we'd definitely give Johnson the benefit of the doubt regardless. And hell, "Blade Runner" is often thought of as the quintessential example of that style, and last we checked that movie is still one of the all-time greats. Mr. Johnson, you have our full attention.

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5 Comments

  • Coppercredit | April 2, 2013 2:35 PMReply

    "Cyberpunk" does sound like a bit of an outdated term," i've heard that word more times in that last year then my lifetime. There has been a massive resurgence in the Sub Genre especially in Video Games, with the new Shadowrun, Cyberpunk 2077, and the latest announcement.Transistor. even CoD got in on it with the latest Black OPs.

  • Michael M. | April 2, 2013 12:18 AMReply

    AKIRA.

    Quintessential Cyber Punk of all time.

  • Sean | April 1, 2013 9:23 PMReply

    A cyberpunk set in 1887 perhaps?

  • Alan B | April 1, 2013 8:06 PMReply

    I liked 'Brick' more than his subsequent films, as I felt the two follow-ups suffered from a lack of discipline in the writing stage. In an earlier cut of 'Brothers Bloom', the ending was blown up and overcomplicated, but - when Johnson cut it down - he completely rewrote character actions to the point they don't make a lot of sense. And Scriptshadow was right about the telekinesis subplot in 'Looper': it's a lazy way of generating physical stakes and jeopardy in the final act that always feels uncomfortably placed in this time-travel storyline. It's not only his writing that's the problem: he mentioned that his intent for the earlier scenes of 'Looper' was to create New Wave feel to the cinematography and editing, but his direction is always so controlled and mannered that it achieve that jittery, exciting quality of an earlier Godard film, for instance. Honestly, I would prefer that he didn't either an adaptation or even a super-ambitious science fiction project and do what Sidney Lumet did every so often: a very small project designed to improve his technique. He has the potential to remain a viable and interesting filmmaker, but if he doesn't try to rescale now, then he'll probably end up in the studio system making less and less interesting films.

  • Letícia | April 7, 2013 1:15 PM

    Exactly what I think. Brick is a masterpiece (and his only).

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