If we can squeeze out an entire feature length movie based on a board game as inherently plotless as Battleship (or Ouija for that matter), turning the classic arcade game Asteroids into a major motion picture should be a cakewalk, right? Okay, maybe it’s not that simple, as they’ve gone through a couple of writers already, but the production recently brought in a new face to give the script a rewrite.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, F. Scott Frazier, who wrote the upcoming racing actioner Autobahn, which hits theaters later this year and stars both Felicity Jones and Nicholas Hoult, has been hired to rework the draft of the sci-fi adventure adaptation of the beloved 1979 game (there’s a dive bar by my house that still has one of these consoles, which is awesome). Universal won what turned into a bidding war a few years ago, back in 2009, and have been working on hammering out the details ever since.
While it must be difficult to scratch out an entire movie script out of a game that has nothing more too it than the outline of a triangle shooting periods at the jagged outlines of what are supposed to be asteroids, it also offers up a great deal of freedom in that regard. You’re not tied to anything, while it has name recognition there aren’t beloved characters to screw up, and you can do whatever the hell you want in this situation. You get to make up the story, you get to make up the characters, it all falls on you. On the other hand, having no preexisting guidelines at all might prove to be another kind of stumbling block, because, well, you have to make it all up yourself.
Frazier takes over from for Matt Lopez (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), Evan Spiliotopoulos (The Huntsman, Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie), and Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow), who had the job previously. Apparently they weren’t dodging massive hurtling space rocks with a deft enough ease and had to be replaced. David S. Goyer was also attached for a time as well.
More than anything, I’m really, really curious to see what kind of story they’ve concocted for this. As you’re probably well aware, there’s not much more to Asteroids than spinning that control ball (I love it when arcade games have that) and mashing buttons. In addition to Autobahn, Frazier also wrote a script called Berliner, which wound up on the Black List last year and was picked up by Universal, which is likely where they came across him. Ultimately, I do hope it revolves around something as silly and asinine as a stolen microwave chicken burrito, like Battleship.