Posted on Monday, July 26th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
Last year, we told you that commercial director turned Tron Legacy helmer Joseph Kosinski was developing a new feature film project for Radical Pictures titled Oblivion. You might recognize the title because it is the same title of a “illustrated novel” announced back in February, written by Kosinski with art by newcomer Tae Young Choi. For those of you who don’t yet know Kosinski’s work, check out some of his commercials, and the VFX concept footage that he directed to convince Disney to greenlight Tron 2 — all of which is very impressive.
The filmmaker has since signed on to direct a remake of The Black Hole for Disney, is first in line for a third Tron film (which is currently being written), and most recently signed on to direct a “Bourne“-styled sci-fi thriller titled Archangels for producer Ridley Scott. Where does that leave Oblivion? The project had an exclusive preview comic released at Comic-Con, and now it looks like Kosinski is going to be pitching the project around town this week.
According to Deadline, Kosinski will be pitching the project to Disney on Monday night, and if the Mouse House doesn’t bite, he’ll be taking it around to other movie studios this week. A sale will probably happen quick, and I expect Disney to bite (its better to keep this upcoming director in the family).
Kosinski has been developing the idea for the last five years, which he had initially hoped to make his directorial debut with the story before Tron came along. He had conceived the idea as a “very spare science fiction film with a small cast but big ideas and big landscapes” that could be made on a medium budget.
Described as a “big sci-fi epic” set in a “post-apocalyptic Earth,” where “civilization lives above the clouds and scavengers illegally collect artifacts from the polluted and destroyed surface below.” The story follows one young scavenger, a soldier who’s been court-martialed and sent to patrol this planet and maintain “a fleet of droids and probes that comb the surface, searching out this primitive alien race that’s been defeated.” One day, he “discovers a crashed spacecraft planetside- and a beautiful women within,” “who left on a science mission 60 years earlier. When she wakes up, she knows who he is, which doesn’t make any sense to him and together they have to unravel this mystery. It’s in the same realm as “12 Monkeys.”
Here is a lengthier plot synopsis which originally appeared on Amazon:
“Earth, 2015. The Odyssey travels to Mars to assemble and occupy the Red Planet’s first base station. En route, the sudden appearance of a vast White Cube in space interrupts the ship’s voyage – and the crew of the Odyssey is never heard from again. 30 years later, Earth has become an almost unrecognizable, surreal wilderness with the remains of human cities poking through vast black sand dunes and bizarre geological formations. The White Cube, from a long-dead extraterrestrial race, was to find potentially inhabitable worlds and reshape them into suitable environments for the aliens, who now will never come. It now sits high in the planet’s orbit, dominating the sky, attempting to undo the damage it has caused as well as repopulate the Earth with clones of the comatose Odyssey crew. The only clones on the surface remain those stationed in the looming Watchtowers, scattered around the planet. One such Watchtower crewmember, a clone named Jak, witnesses a burning object fall to Earth. It’s an escape pod carrying Julia Kanan, the one lone survivor of the Odyssey before its capture by the Cube, and a love from Jak’s pre-clone past. But as the authorities close in to retake Julia, Jak’s genetic memory of his love for her drives him to decisions he never would have thought possible-and which could lead to disaster for both of them.”
Kosinski told Comic Book Resources that “It’s a love story that explores various themes ranging from identity to redemption.”
“It’s a sci-fi adventure that spans two different worlds and two different times. It’s epic in terms of its scale and scope, but it’s a character driven story with a small cast.” … “I first came up with the concept when I moved from New York to Los Angeles. I was inspired by old sci-fi models like The Twilight Zone” to find an emotional, dramatic story that would raise interesting questions and play with perspective. I wanted to build the story around those few characters, but at the same time ask the bigger universal questions that are integral to science fiction, questions about our existence, our purpose in the big scheme of things. … The main character, Jak, is an ex-soldier who works as a drone repairman on this barren planet. He fixes the drones that patrol the surface looking to destroy what’s left of the Scavengers, a savage alien race. Jak has a partner, Vika, who’s a by the book kind of career officer and she works as his “eye-in-the-sky,” scanning for damaged drones and monitoring Scavenger activity. One day, Jak comes across a spacecraft that’s crashed, and inside he finds this mysterious woman in “deltasleep.” He rescues her from the Scavengers and takes her back to their Skytower, which is high above the clouds. When the woman wakes up, her story turns their lives upside down and sends each of them on an adventure of self-discovery.
Sounds like a pretty awesome concept. The book sounds equally as cool — 125-130-page 11×14-sized hardcover featuring painted art, some of which will span 2 pages (ala 300?). Right now Kosinski has a 25-page treatment, which will be fleshed out by one or two writers for the graphic novel, which is due out in 2010. A screenwriter will then be brought on board to help adapt it for the screen.