George Clooney In Talks For Brad Bird’s Secret Sci-Fi Project, Codenamed 1952/Tesla

By David Wharton | Published

After a long career that has included films such as The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, anything Brad Bird is doing earns an immediate spot near the top of my “must see” list. And when one of those is a secretive science fiction movie code-named 1952, you’d better believe that’s on my radar. (Even if it was co-written by Damon Lindelof.) Now word comes that George Clooney is in talks to join the top-secret project, and that, even more intriguingly, it was previously using the working title Tesla before switching back to 1952.

Variety reports that Clooney is in discussions to play the lead in 1952/Tesla, and that the film is said to be in the vein of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and will follow “a man who makes contact with aliens on Earth.” That makes a strange sort of sense. After all, Lindelof’s Lost buddy J.J. Abrams already made his version of E.T., so why not give us Lindelof’s version of Close Encounters? (“Because it will probably suck” is an acceptable answer to that question.)

Lindelof co-wrote the script with Entertainment Weekly reporter Jeff Jensen, and Bird will direct the Disney would-be blockbuster. I’d say that Bird’s involvement trumps any possible negative aspects of Lindelof writing the script, but then look what happened with Prometheus. In spite of the direction of Ridley Scott, the movie was positively packed with illogical character choices, and the blame for that can only be laid at the feet of Lindelof’s screenplay. Let’s hope the Bird/Lindelof pairing works out better, because I really don’t want to watch another potentially amazing SF flick fall prey to easily remedied problems.

What, then, are we to make of the new codename, Tesla? Given what we know, could the “man who makes contact with aliens” be none other than the legendary Nikola Tesla? It’s certainly possible, and I would watch the hell out of a Brad Bird movie about Tesla hanging out with aliens. That said, we probably shouldn’t read too much into the change of codenames. The story that first mentioned the name change claimed that both 1952 and Tesla were simply working titles, along the line of the first Star Wars movie being produced under the codename Blue Harvest.

Then again, maybe the two titles are a puzzle just waiting for some clever fan to unscramble. What do you think 1952/Tesla will be about?