When someone tells you they’re making a movie out of the classic ’70s arcade game Asteroids, your reaction is probably similar to when you first heard Peter Berg was adapting Battleship into a movie. You cock your head like a confused dog, pause for a moment to collect the various thoughts swirling around in your head, and ask, “Huh?”
Like Battleship, there is no inherent narrative in the game, no characters, no nothing. You’re a triangle shooting periods at big empty shapes, and that’s it. From a filmmaker’s perspective it could be kind of exciting. What you have in front of you is a mostly blank canvas. You have spaceships and asteroids; make a movie out of it. There have been a number of writers attached to Asteroids at various times, including David S. Goyer (Man of Steel) and Jez Butterworth (Fair Game).
Given that Roland Emmerich, a man who has destroyed the world numerous times in movies like 2012 and Independence Day, is rumored to direct, you might expect a large-scale catastrophe. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, however, indicates that’s not the case. He says it’s more of a space opera than a disaster movie.
Talking to Screen Rant, he said:
It’s not a disaster movie, yeah, if we’re successful at getting it made. It’s much more of a space opera. It’s like a great sci-fi movie if we get it done right. It is not at all what people think it is. People think, ‘Oh, the asteroid’s gonna hit the earth,’ and I have no interest in doing that. That’s been done exceedingly well before. No, this takes place in an asteroid belt, the whole movie.
Back in 2009, di Bonaventura said that the story is about two brothers “who have to go through a seminal experience to figure out their relationship, against this huge backdrop.” The idea of a story that actually takes place in space sounds way better than the Armageddon knock-off many of us imagined. Maybe the brothers are badass pilots who fly around blasting asteroids all day. That could be cool. Still, it’s really, really difficult to imagine Asteroids turning out to be anything more than a dog. Hopefully we’ll be proven wrong if this ever happens, but until then, skepticism is the word of the day.