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Wiseman directing science fiction

LenWiseman.jpgLen Wiseman is set to direct Shell Game as his next film, departing once again from the realm of werewolves and bald headed action stars, he's going to be entering the world of science fiction with Shell Game.

The story is about a detective who is faced with a moral dilemma when he is investigating the black market of immortality, a story that sounds all too familiar.

It really does sound like an adaptation of the excellent novel from Richard Morgan, the Scottish science fiction writer from Stirling, called Altered Carbon (Play / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com), a novel that begins the series of Takeshi Kovacs stories that I've become very addicted to.

However there's no word of that in the Variety article and it says that Len Wiseman, Chris Morgan, Justin Bondi and Andrew Ludington have been writing the script. Wiseman says:

“I've been wanting to make this film for the past five years, but it's a huge film and has always been too expensive to make at the level I've wanted to make it at...Now I'm finally getting a chance to do it at that level.”

I'm really not sure if this is the same project, however I do remember reading that Altered Carbon was picked up for a film, and yet the pre-writer's strike memo shows James McTeigue as directing Altered Carbon, so perhaps it isn't the same script. In fact Altered Carbon is listed as that very title in IMDB, definitely different although very similar sounding stories?



Altered Carbon is a fantastic story! Personally I'm hoping that this isn't an adaptation - Wiseman isn't my favourite director, and I don't think he'd do it justice.

Still, even if it is, US studios don't have the greatest record in attributing source material. Just look at New Amsterdam, which is so obviously pulled from the book 'Forever' by Pete Hamill that I'm amazed they haven't had a plagiarism lawsuit. Likewise, Pegg and Stevenson aren't credited or involved with the US remake of Spaced, and there's been a debacle about the Matrix series for years.

My judgment on this remains reserved :D

That's a great point Jim - why aren't you entering the competition to write a feature for Filmstalker based on that idea?

Spaced is a case of younger stars signing over the rights to their products without having the stance to fight for their rights on the work. Now they're famous the remake can carry their names without any question, and that's just because they signed it away like that.

In other cases the ideas are taken from stories and altered enough to ensure that the courts can't legally make a connection.

Of course some connections are just flukes.

Wiseman is good, he did an amazing job with Die Hard if you consider how much time had gone between the films in the franchise and how well he captured the original feeling, you have to give him credit for that.

Considering the look and feel of Underworld, I think it's not too far from the noir feeling that an Altered Carbon, but I'm not so sure about the whole story.

Any ideas on who could direct it?

Heh, I may enter the feature contest, but it does rather depend on the ravages that St Patrick's Day will inflict upon my poor brain.

Wiseman certainly has his talents in some areas, I do agree. Die Hard 4 was a good effort from him, and Underworld is one of those guilty secrets I have, in that I actually rather enjoy them on a purely personal level. However, I don't think that he has the kind of appreciation of tonal functionality that an adaptation of Altered Carbon would require. Underworld does use light and colour, yes, but I often get the impression that it's laboured and in your face, as if he's saying "Look, it's a dark moment in the film" or "Check it out, quasi-gothic vampires!" rather than subtly and gently prompting a realisation of the moment.

Altered Carbon would require this, with its pseudo-dystopic and cyberpunkish setting. The story is so bizarre and foreign in concept to what we're used to that simply good writing and acting coupled with effects would not carry it well enough. The whole gamut of filmmaking, from the type of film through to the way a shot is lit, to the use of tint and hue to suggest rather than project mood, would be required.

As for the person I'd like to direct it? I'm not quite sure. I'd lean towards Alfonso Cuaron (as I usually do), but I think that his strength lies in more grounded films such as Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children Of Men. Perhaps someone like John August in a couple of years time?

Excellent Jim, you've convinced me. I see what you're saying and I do agree there's a lack of subtlety in Wiseman's films to date.

Good suggestion in Alfonso Cuaron, but John August hit me out of the blue, now that's an interesting choice and might be a good gamble for the film.

I'm frantically trying to think who would be an interesting choice...


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