With Paramount having officially pulled World War Z 2 off of its release schedule, it now appears that Brad Pitt has an opening in his own schedule. Talk around town is focused on what he might do next, but it appears that performer may venture into previously uncharted territory: space-set science-fiction. While Pitt’s been in a lot of movies over the years, he’s never really done a true space sci-fi story. He’s done films with tinges of sci-fi like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or Meet Joe Black, and certainly supernatural with Interview with the Vampire, but Twelve Monkeys and Cool World are really the closest he’s come to brainy science-fiction movies, and both of those were fairly grounded.
Per Deadline, however, Pitt is eyeing the starring role in the next film from The Immigrant director James Gray, the sci-fi pic Ad Astra. The story revolves around a slightly autistic engineer whose father left 20 years ago on a one-way mission to Neptune in order to find signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence. As an adult, he now sets out to travel the Solar System to find his father and discover why his mission failed.
Pitt and Gray have been trying to work together for years, as Pitt was previously attached to star in Gray’s The Grey Man (which hasn’t yet been made), and was poised to lead The Lost City of Z in the role that eventually went to Charlie Hunnam. Pitt nevertheless executive produced Lost City of Z, and with World War Z 2 delayed, the frontrunner for his next project has become Ad Astra.
Gray co-wrote the script with Ethan Ross, and as work is being done to keep the budget manageable, Ad Astra may soon land at New Regency with a summer production start-date. This would fill the hole in Pitt’s schedule left by World War Z 2, which Pitt has been developing as producer and star for a few years now. J.A. Bayona was initially set to direct the zombie sequel, but left because Paramount was trying to rush the production. Now David Fincher is eyeing the director’s chair, but the script still needs work and an effort is underway to get Fincher officially attached and Paramount fully onboard. As that continues, Pitt may be hitting outer space in Ad Astra.
The actor most recently shot the Netflix drama War Machine for director David Michod, and while I really want to see what a David Fincher-helmed World War Z 2 looks like, Ad Astra sounds mighty enticing.