Phil Lord and Chris Miller are set to direct and produce Ryan Gosling‘s new astronaut movie based on an untitled upcoming novel from The Martian author Andy Weir.
Variety reports that Universal’s Donna Langley had to give the deal her blessing, as her studio just signed a lucrative first-look deal for film with Lord and Miller, who plan to make this their next live-action project. Apparently, Gosling had been lobbying to work with the directors, and MGM’s Michael De Luca convinced his longtime friend Langley to sign off on the idea.
Amy Pascal (Little Women) has also come on to produce the movie with Gosling, Weir, Ken Kao and Aditya Sood, who runs the directors’ production company Lord Miller. Pascal has a long history with Lord and Miller, with whom she shared both office space and an Oscar win as producers on Sony’s animated hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The dynamic duo behind The LEGO Movie and the 21 Jump Street franchise also go back a ways with Weir, as they were developing the author’s book Artemis as a potential directing vehicle, though it’s unclear where that 20th Century Fox project stands at the moment.
Weir’s new book won’t be published until next spring, and as such, it remains untitled, but it’s reportedly being referred to as Project Hail Mary. Variety describes it as a solitary tale of an astronaut on a space ship who is tasked with saving the planet. My first reaction when news of this project broke was one of surprise, as I didn’t think that Gosling would want to play an astronaut again so soon after First Man, which for whatever reason, just wasn’t that good in my opinion. I consider myself a huge Gosling fan, but I’ve never thought of him as the kind of movie hero who would be tasked with saving the world. His vibe is considerably darker than Tom Cruise. And yet, if this project turns out to be more of a comedy, then I may have to issue a retraction on Twitter, because I happen to think Gosling is pretty funny in a low-key way. I was not exactly psyched for this movie before today, but if Lord and Miller are involved, I have no choice but to give it the benefit of the doubt.
“All of us at MGM are incredibly excited by this literal dream team coming together around Andy’s astounding novel. With their masterful ability to balance drama, action, and humor, Phil and Chris are the perfect filmmakers to take on this unique material,” De Luca and his MGM colleague Pamela Abdy said in a joint statement.
MGM has been making some major moves under De Luca’s leadership, acquiring George Miller‘s Three Thousand Years of Longing starring Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton, as well as Ron Howard‘s untitled Thai cave recsue movie. Plus, the studio convinced Lady Gaga to star in Ridley Scott‘s Gucci hot off her Oscar-nominated turn in A Star Is Born.
In addition to its first-look deal to make movies for Universal, Lord and Miller recently signed a five-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television, where the pair will develop their own projects for network, cable and streaming platforms and help develop shows based on Sony-owned Marvel characters. Their animated series Bless the Harts will soon return for its second season on Fox.