Ridley Scott returned to tentpole sci-fi filmmaking this summer with Prometheus and it turned out to be one of the most divisive genre films released in recent years. Nevertheless, it was a global blockbuster and was warmly embraced by critics and audiences looking for something more intellectually stimulating in their summer movie escapes. Months before Prometheus opened in theaters, Scott had also signed on to make another Blade Runner movie. Plus, he has the Cormac McCarthy original script The Counselor next up on his dance card. After all that is said and done, it looks like the Oscar-winning director will be returning to a pet project he has been pursuing for the past quarter-century.
Since the late 1980s, Scott has sought to make a feature film adaptation of The Forever War, a 1974 sci-fi war novel written by Joe Haldeman, a former Army combat engineer who had served in the Vietnam War and used those experiences as the inspiration for his book. The Forever War told the story of a soldier who goes off to fight in an intergalactic war for a few months and returns to Earth only to find that 700 years have passed and the world is much different than when he left it. In 2008, Scott finally secured the rights to the book and announced he would be making the movie for 20th Century Fox, but those plans were sidelined in favor of Robin Hood and eventually Prometheus.
David Peoples, whose credits include Unforgiven and Blade Runner, was the first to take a crack at the Forever War script. After his pass was rejected, Matthew Carnahan, brother of director Joe Carnahan (The Grey) and a writer on the upcoming World War Z, took a shot at making Haldeman’s novel into a cinematic endeavor, but his draft didn’t pan out with Scott and the studio either. The latest writer to try their hand at the long-gestating project is Dante Harper. A former documentary producer who also worked on many DVD featurettes for Automat Pictures, Harper’s sole produced credits to date are the soon-to-open Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and All You Need is Kill. The latter film, directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and starring Tom Cruise, is much like The Forever War in that it’s adapted from a novel (by Hiroshi Sakurazaka) and that focuses on a soldier fighting in a futuristic war, but that is where the similarities end.
Although Scott has been hungering to make The Forever War for most of his filmmaking career it is not yet known when he would be able to fit it into his extremely busy schedule. In addition to The Counselor and the Blade Runner project the director has also been talking up a potential Prometheus sequel since the ending of the original made for such an interesting cliffhanger. Personally I would rather see him do The Forever War first. It’s a great book that I’ve been reading lately (among about twenty other books I’ve started and need to finish) and though I really enjoyed Prometheus immensely on my second viewing – that flick really grows on you if you allow it – I am not clamoring for a follow-up just yet. Now that Scott has given Fox the Alien prequel they have wanted for years the time has come for him to exercise his considerable clout and make The Forever War. What do you think?
[Source: First Showing]