Posted on Monday, August 23rd, 2010 by Russ Fischer
In June, Doug Liman‘s name was attached to the Warner Bros. sci-fi project All You Need Is Kill. At the time I thought the pairing of Liman and a ‘Starship Troopers meets Groundhog Day‘ story was odd, given that Liman is known to be rather on the indecisive side when it comes to directing style. But something clicked between Liman and WB, because he’s now confirmed to direct the film.
Variety doesn’t have many details other than that Liman has officially moved from the WB verison of The Three Musketeers (which was competing with Paul WS Anderson’s adaptation of the same material) to All You Need Is Kill. Dante Harper adapted Hiroshi Sakurazaka‘s novel, and there’s no mention of a rewrite. Nor of a budget, which could be key. Shooting what’s on the page in Harper’s script won’t be cheap.
So: about the script. I’d heard good and bad about All You Need Is Kill, but I really enjoyed it when I blazed through it a couple months back. It revolves around a solid character and has a premise and development that propels it quickly. A couple of spots faltered in my reading, but those points aren’t deal-breakers.
The core idea is simple: a young solider, is about to take part in a make-or-break battle against an alien force. The young solider is a lackluster fighter at first, but he becomes caught in a Groundhog Day-style time loop, and has to relive the battle over and over. It isn’t as repetitive as the basic idea sounds, however, as the solider realizes his predicament and starts to approach it almost like a video game in which he has infinite lives.
Basically take that ‘Starship Troopers meets Groundhog Day’ idea and infuse it with a healthy videogame sensibility. Not in the sense of flashy, quick cutting, but in a conceptual sense: what if you realized that the best way to get through a difficult stage in your life was to approach it like a game? There’s the scope of Starship Troopers, and the violence, but not the satire. Instead there’s a bit of the time and battle-bending ideas that are in Dan Simmons’ Hyperion books. (Seriously — with this in production, I can’t see WB also doing Hyperion without a lot of cutting.)
Now the question: who gets cast as the young solider? Hopefully not a buff Channing Tatum type. This is a character who thinks his way through the story rather than bludgeoning his way to the end. Take any of the actors who didn’t get the nod for Spider-Man and you’d be on the right track. There are a couple other meaty roles, too, including one make or break female soldier who will have to be well-cast in order to keep the movie from sinking.