Carl Sagan Movie Developing at Warner Bros.

Carl Sagan Movie

The work of Carl Sagan has led to some justly influential TV and film, in the form of the two Cosmos series, and the film Contact based on his novel, but now there is going to be a movie about Carl Sagan himself. Warner Bros. is developing a film based on Sagan’s life, with the participation of his widow and collaborator Ann Druyan.

Variety reports that Lynda Obst and Ann Druyan are producing the film, and that Zach Dean (Deadfall) is writing. Druyan was a producer and writer on the recent Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, for which she won an Emmy for best non-fiction writing.

What we don’t get in the report is the scope or ambition of this film. We don’t know if this will be a simple biopic about Sagan, or a film that seeks to incorporate his scientific inquiries and thoughts about extraterrestrial life, or his conception of God and his ideas about the relationship between religion and science.

One would think that a film about Sagan would have to take some of those ideas into account, especially with Druyan around to guide the ship. Otherwise, what’s the point? Sagan may seem like a friendly scientific personality now, long after his death, but he was also an anti-nuclear activist and one who helped challenge popular perceptions of scientific boundaries with critical thinking and rational arguments against actions he considered dangerous.

Given that Obst was a producer on both Contact and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, hopefully any eventual Carl Sagan movie under her watch will represent his life not just with a character drama, but with visualizations of his work and ideas that match or even challenge the scope of a theatrical biopic.

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