With Arrival now a bonafide Oscar nominee, it’s been reconfirmed that science fiction is where the money is and, every once in awhile, where the prestige can be found. Of course, the fiscal glory that can be found in science fiction movies has been well-known since the 1960s. Heck, one could even argue that the trend started back with Fritz Lang‘s classic Metropolis. What Arrival has done is given a sharp reminder of how thoughtful movies about aliens and far-off planets can be when given to a good director, such as Denis Villeneuve. On the flip-side, Rogue One has reminded us how unimaginative and clunky science fiction can be when its made to fit a rote formula.
The Star Wars brand is making Everest-size mountains of money, so they don’t really have to give much of a care if the movies are good or not at this point, but Shawn Levy‘s 21 Laps, which backed Arrival, can’t rest so easily. Thus they’ve been on the hunt for a new property and it seems like they found it this week. According to THR, 21 Laps will be producing Inconstant Moon, a science-fiction drama adapted from Larry Niven‘s Hugo and Nebula-crowned story of the same name; it also served as source material for a memorable Outer Limits episode. To helm the project, Levy and his company have tapped James Ponsoldt, the hugely talented filmmaker behind Smashed, The Spectacular Now, and The End of the Tour, who is now preparing for the release of The Circle, his anticipated Dave Eggers adaptation.
Considering the fact that Ponsoldt has focused mainly on earthly matters for his films thus far, one might think Ponsoldt’s an odd choice for the story, which focuses on a writer’s reaction to what may be the last night before an apocalyptic event signaled by changes to Earth’s moon. On the contrary, following the more imaginative conceit of The Circle, a full-blown science fiction movie may bring out bigger ambitions and more inventive visual ideas out of the filmmaker, even if the premise sounds more like Last Night than Avatar.
Here’s how Amazon describes Niven’s book:
A freelance technical writer notices that the moon is unusually bright. At first, he thinks it is some kind of atmospheric phenomenon, but soon he realizes he will be spending his last night alive. What should he do?