A promising original sci-fi film is coming from an unlikely source. French filmmaker Claire Denis, whose credits include Beau Travail and White Material, is poised to make her English-language debut with a space-set sci-fi adventure. Per Screen Daily, the movie will take place beyond our solar system, “in a future that seems like the present.” The project is based on an original idea by Denis and writing partner Jean-Pol Fargeau, but Denis is penning the screenplay with novelist Zadie Smith and Smith’s writer husband Nick Laird.
This is a stark change of direction for the veteran filmmaker, whose previous films have dealt with heavy themes and subject matter through grounded, character-centric dramas. Denis’ most recent film was the 2013 drama Bastards, which premiered Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival.
Oliver Dungey (Miss Julie), Laurence Clerc, and Olivier Thery Lapiney are producing the film through Alcatraz Films alongside Caludia Steffen and Christoph Friedel of Pandora Filmproduktion. Development is said to be in the “advanced” stages, with Denis planning on beginning production later this year or in early 2016 in Cologne.
In preparation for her first sci-fi film, Denis is collaborating with folks like Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, astrophysicist Aurelien Barrau, and Tindersticks frontman Stuart Staples.