MGM has acquired the movie rights of Richard Matheson’s 1956 sci-fi novel, The Shrinking Man. The book was previously turned into a movie back in 1957, but now MGM wants an updated version for modern audiences. So, who to turn to when it comes to bringing this little tale to the big screen? Well, how about the guy who came up with it in the first place?
According to THR, Richard Matheson and his son, Richard Matheson Jr., will pen a new adaptation of the book for MGM. The 86-year-old novelist’s works are responsible for tons of memorable genre movies over the years, including multiple movies based on his vampire classic I am Legend, Real Steel (based on the episode “Steel” from The Twilight Zone), and even Steven Spielberg’s Duel.
The Shrinking Man follows a man who, after being exposed to radiation and insecticide, begins to shrink smaller and smaller. He eventually becomes a media oddity, becomes distant from his wife, and is forced to fight spiders to survive. Written during the atomic age, Matheson’s novel serves as a cautionary tale of the trappings of technology of the era. Matheson describes the book as:
An existential action movie. My original story was a metaphor for how man’s place in the world was diminishing. That still holds today, where all these advancements that are going to save us will be our undoing.
At one point, Eddie Murphy was at the center of a comedy version of The Shrinking Man, but development couldn’t get off the ground and eventually Universal lost the film rights. Jonathan Glickman, president of MGM’s motion picture group, says of The Shrinking Man and the work of the Mathesons:
The themes of The Shrinking Man continue to be relevant, and the Mathesons’ cutting-edge ideas for the adaptation will make for a great film that will play all over the world.
Matheson will take up producing duties on the upcoming film, along with his son and Alan Gasmer of Matheson Entertainment. Matheson Jr. is also a novelist, with his latest effort, Paranoia, due in bookstores later this year.