Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail is bringing his high-tech hijinks to a classic sci-fi property with a TV miniseries adaptation of the iconic 1927 film Metropolis. THR reports that the writer-director is in early development on the TV retelling of Fritz Lang‘s revered film, which centered on a pair of star-crossed lovers in a classist futuristic society.
Esmail is prepping the series with Universal Cable Productions (where he has an overall deal), which he will Executive Produce alongside Anonymous Content’s Chad Hamilton. Esmail’s exact role in the miniseries is still being negotiated. Should Esmail want to keep his attention focused on Mr. Robot (he single-handedly wrote and directed every episode of the critical darling’s second season), he’ll have the time. The report states that UCP’s current plan is to launch the Metropolis miniseries in two to three years, which would give him time to conclude Mr. Robot‘s planned four to five season run.
Despite its current status as one of the most celebrated silent films of all time, Lang’s Metropolis was critically panned when it first arrived in theaters. At the time of release, the German film was one of the most expensive movies ever made thanks to its epic scope and groundbreaking visual effects. That precedent certainly conjures up all kinds of exciting possibilities for Esmail’s take on the material considering how far visual effects have come in the near-100 years since the film’s release, and I’m excited to see how much Esmail will harken back to Lang’s visionary aesthetic and how he will integrate it into a new vision of a futuristic society.
Whatever he envisions, he’ll have the budget, as UCP is reportedly willing to throw down $10 million an episode. While the studio usually prioritizes NBCUniversal owned networks (of which Mr. Robot’s home network USA is one), Metropolis comes with no in-house mandate and will likely be shopped around to other cable and streaming networks. Wherever it lands, it’s exciting that Esmail and his team are getting the time and budget to truly craft the series into something special.