spiderhead

Joseph Kosinski is currently directing Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, but as soon as he’s done with that, he’s flying on over to Netflix. Kosinski has been tapped to helm Spiderhead, a sci-fi film from Deadpool and Zombieland screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Based on a George Saunders short story, Spiderhead focuses on convicts in the near-future who agree to become test subjects for scientific experiments in exchange for reduced prison sentences.

Deadline broke the news about Spiderhead. The original short story, titled Escape From Spiderhead, appeared in the New Yorker (you can read it here, and also in Saunder’s short story collection Tenth of October). The film adaptation will be “set in the near future, when convicts are offered the chance to volunteer as medical subjects in hopes of shortening their sentences. When one prisoner finds himself the test patient for a new pharmaceutical capable of generating feelings of love, he begins questioning the reality of his emotions and sets out to discover the truth.”

This sounds a bit like 12 Monkeys meets Brave New World (or Equilibrium, if you want to get really crazy). This is definitely a concept that can be worked into something exciting. Saunders is a fantastic writer, but I’m not sure how well his work will translate to the screen. I also don’t know if Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the team responsible for the Deadpool scripts and Zombieland, and the right folks for the job. But Reese and Wernick are a hot commodity right now, so of course Netflix wants to work with them. This is actually the screenwriting duo’s second project with the streaming service. They also penned 6 Underground for director Michael Bay and star Ryan Reynolds. Everyone wants to work with Netflix, folks.

Spiderhead is apparently on the fast track, and Kosinski will begin casting the project soon and start shooting pretty much the moment he wraps up Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to Top Gun that brings Tom Cruise back as a pilot who grins a lot. I’m not the biggest fan of Kosinski’s work. He’s responsible for Tron: Legacy and Oblivion, and while both of those movies look amazing, they felt as if they were lacking a key ingredient to make them truly special. Perhaps he’ll hit his stride with Top Gun and Spiderhead. Then again, Kosinski also directed the under-seen Only the Brave, which was surprisingly good. So maybe he’s just getting better with age.

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