Rumor: Christian Bale and Nicolas Cage in Talks to Play Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison for Director Mike Newell in TESLA, RULER OF THE WORLD

     July 10, 2012

tesla ruler of the world christian bale nicolas cage

As a true supergenius who revolutionized electricity and died as a penniless recluse, the life of Nikola Tesla is so cinematic that I long for the definitive biopic.  If I can trust a recent report from Wild Rooster [via Bleeding Cool], that movie is on its way.  The report suggests Christian Bale and Nicolas Cage are in talks to play Tesla and Thomas Edison, respectively, in Tesla, Ruler of the World.  Director Mike Newell (Prince of Persia) has been approached, and could take the reins after he finishes Great Expectations.  The screenplay by Serbian writer Vladimir Rajčić purportedly links “events from Tesla’s life to a modern day story of technological crisis.”  Wild Rooster suggests more big names are in talks to play other notable folk like J.P. Morgan, George Westinghouse, and Sara Bernhardt when the film shoots in Chicago.

Most of this corresponds to previous reports that have floated around the internet over the past couple years, wherein Cage has scouted for locations or Rade Serbedgia and Lolita Davidovich are also attached.  But until news of Tesla, Ruler of the World comes through a more official pipeline, we will treat this as a very exciting rumor.  Hit the jump for background on Tesla.

Here is the Wikipedia version:

nikola tesla ruler of the world

Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, physicist, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, and futurist. He was an important contributor to the use of commercial electricity, and is best known for developing the modern alternating current (AC) electrical supply system. His many revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were based on the theories of electromagnetic technology discovered by Michael Faraday. Tesla’s patents and theoretical work also formed the basis of wireless communication and the radio.

Born to Serbian parents in the village of Smiljan (now part of Gospić, present day Croatia), Tesla was a subject of the Austrian Empire by birth and later became an American citizen. Because of his 1894 demonstration of short range wireless communication through radio and his eventual victory in the “War of Currents”, he was widely respected as one of the greatest electrical engineers who worked in America. He pioneered modern electrical engineering and many of his discoveries were of groundbreaking importance. In the United States during this time, Tesla’s fame rivaled that of any other inventor or scientist in history or popular culture. Tesla demonstrated wireless energy transfer to power electronic devices in 1891, and aspired to intercontinental wireless transmission of industrial power in his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project.

Towards the end of his life in the 1930s, Tesla became reclusive, living alone in a New York City hotel room and only appearing occasionally to make unusual statements to the press. Because of his pronouncements and the nature of his work over the years Tesla gained a reputation in popular culture as the archetypal “mad scientist”. He died penniless and in debt in January, 1943.

See what I mean?  And this barely touched on the fascinating War of Currents.  As great as David Bowie was as Tesla in The Prestige, it was not enough.  We need the full Tesla experience, and I am now convinced we need Cage playing Edison as a mustache-twirling villain.

If this doesn’t come together, the Cage-free independent production Fragments from Olympus may have to suffice to tell the story of Tesla on film for now.

  • Zadir

    David Bowie was not available?

    • T. Van

      Well played, sir. Kudos to both you and Pong (whose comments are below).

      Bowie’s turn as Tesla actually got me to forget about his role in Labyrinth. For a little while, at least.

    • George

      Yes, so well played.. jesus people. Bowie wasn’t that great of a Tesla. It could be better. Come on, man.

  • ISeemToBeAVerb

    Tesla’s is a fascinating story. But Cage as Edison? Dunno.

  • Pong

    I suggest Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie) as director (or Chris Nolan) and David Bowie himself as Tesla (same impersonation as in The Prestige)…

  • Car

    Jan Kounen should direct Cillian Murphy and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Tesla and Edison.

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  • Goodness

    I personally think this is bull–the rumor, not the potential biopic. I think the filmmakers have just been trying to get the idea off the ground and so have invented this rumor to get the story to make some rounds so someone will take notice.

    Cage would be horrible as Tesla, who had a Croatian-born Serbian accent, with a hint of east coast America. It would be extraordinarily difficult to pull off, as you can all see in The Prestige with Bowie’s chewed up version that wavered between British and Russian. Only people who have never heard a Croatian Serb speak would think it was good. Cage could never pull it off, that’s just simply not his forte.

    Bale could probably pull it off though. Michael Fassbender would be awesome too.

    • Hmmm

      If you’d bothered to pay attention to the article, you’d have noticed that Christian Bale is rumored to be in talks to play Tesla, while Nicolas Cage is rumored to be under consideration for Edison:

      “The report suggests Christian Bale and Nicolas Cage are in talks to play Tesla and Thomas Edison, respectively”.

      I can’t think of a more appropriate actor than Cage for the ridiculous Edison.

    • mojo

      Bale is a great choice, also when it comes to accent, his family in law is Serbian.

  • truephil

    Hugh Jackman and Rick Springfield will be a good choice for Tesla

  • Hrod

    What would you say to Tesla if you had the opportunity?

  • Suspicious Character

    I enjoyed Bowie’s Tesla purely on the basis that he didn’t over-act it. He gave him a quality of mysterious but piercing sanity in a world where nothing is certain (in the context of that film anyways) and his performance was brief and ended before it spoiled. I have a feeling if Bale gets the job, Tesla is going to end up being portrayed as some gritty dark borderline insane recluse, which is going to be ridiculous.

  • Sri Jackson

    I know that I am way late with this response; however, I would want to ask if he ever truly received communications from other dimensional selves. We would be wrong to believe that our space is the only existing one, warp spaces, black holes, time travel, I’d love to know if he ever experienced seeing and or doing any of this. And I would want to thank him for being far and beyond his time.