After the critical and domestic box office disaster The Counselor, director Ridley Scott is back in Huge Epic Movie mode, with the Biblical tale Exodus coming out in December. And from there, the world of science fiction is his playground. But instead of getting into any potential sequels to past hits, Scott may be heading into space for a different story of survival, as he is currently in talks with 20th Century Fox to direct an adaptation of Andy Weir’s spectacular novel The Martian. This is amazing news, right?
Scott is currently developing the oddball HBO series Pharaoh, but we assume he’d begin pre-production on The Martian as soon as he knocks that pilot out. The Martian already has a leading man in Matt Damon, and a screenplay by Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard. Goddard was originally on board to direct The Martian as well, but he had to back out after diving face-first into Marvel movie-making with the upcoming Spidey spin-off Sinister Six and Netflix’s Daredevil series. Scott is obviously a more established filmmaker, but he never could have made Cabin work, and I’m wondering if his vision is too large for The Martian.
The novel, first self-published by Weir in 2012 before being picked up and released by Crown Publishing earlier this year, tells the story of Mark Watney, just your everyday astronaut embodiment of Robinson Crusoe and MacGyver. When a giant dust storm threatens a Martian space mission, the crew packs up and leaves; except for Mark, who was thought to have died in the calamitous hubbub. But like few others in modern fiction, Mark is a survivor of the highest caliber, and he is able to figure out how to create a suitable habitat for his long, treacherous wait for a possible rescue. Do I have to tell you that nearly everything that can go wrong eventually does go wrong? Check out the book’s trailer.
The Martian, though it eventually surprises readers by opening up the story to include a few other characters, is mostly a one-man show, with Mark flowing from witty to sarcastic to frustrated as he documents everything. This is not the kind of movie that Scott generally works on, and I’m assuming he’ll take another pass at the script to include more background scenes and other characters. Unless he’s just intent on making a small-scale story.
And if that’s the case, he’ll probably come out of it wanting to make something gigantic again. Which is probably where the long-rumored Blade Runner and Prometheus sequels will come back into the conversation. But we’re perfectly happy not talking about them for another year, assuming he does take the Martian job.
Do you guys want to see the Academy Award-winning director head back to space for an all-new(ish) adventure?