When an alien race lands on Earth, the US government enlists the services of a talented linguist who must figure out how to interpret the visitor’s language in order to determine if they come in peace, or if they showed up just to ruin everyone’s day. That’s the basic premise of author Ted Chiang’s novella, Story of Your Life, soon to be adapted into a big-screen science fiction thriller.
Deadline reports that a deal has been struck to bring the tale, adapted by screenwriter Eric Heisserer (responsible for The Thing prequel, as well as the Nightmare On Elm Street remake), into production. Shooting on Story of Your Life will begin next year, with commercial director Nic Mathieu at the helm.
FilmNation’s Aaron Ryder says, “If you look at Ted Chiang’s powerful source material, how deftly Eric and the team at 21 Laps handled the adaptation, and what Nic’s vision brings to the film, it’s no surprise that there’s been so much competitive interest.”
Right out of the gate, this is a strong concept with a great deal of potential, and almost every element of this setup is designed to help create narrative tension. First of all, the arrival of aliens on your doorstep always kicks things into gear. Introduce a ticking clock into the mix, and you’ve got ready-made conflict. Whether you’re counting down to an impeding alien attack on Earth, or towards a deadline where the humans will strike first, the end result is the same, cranking up the anxiety second by second.
Beyond that component, there are number of big themes for Heisserer and Mathieu to play around with. There’s communication, understanding, the general human fear of anything new and different, and transcending the obstacles that separate us. Story of Your Life definitely seems like fertile ground for a sci-fi movie.