Back in November we speculated that, of the projects on Les Wiseman's roster, Gears of War was likely to be first off the blocks. Not so, according to the LA Times, who report that the videogame adaptation has hit difficulties, while Wiseman's end-of-the-world epic Nocturne "has heat at Fox".
The original Nocturne script, about a group of people mysteriously surviving an apocalypse, was knocked out by Red Dawn / Missing in Action remake writers Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore. Its latest incarnation is being penned by the ubiquitous Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Iron Man 2 / Children of Men). No cast yet, and the title may yet change, but a locked-in director and a screenplay gaining strength make this suddenly a going concern.
Not so for poor old Gears of War. Envisaged by Wiseman, and by writers Chris Morgan (Wanted) and Billy Ray (State of Play) as a seriously huge, multi-generational, mythical, humans-vs-alien-locusts sci-fi action epic, the project has been "reigned in" by New Line, whose feet are apparently getting decidedly chilly. Perhaps they watched some other videogame movies. If the film now goes ahead, it'll likely be on a budget far below the originally projected $100m, with a less ambitious, whittled-down storyline, and very likely another director.
Should Wiseman let Gears go however, he's still got Shell Game, Shrapnel and Atlantis Rising in the works to occupy him. It's already three years since Die Hard 4.0, but it seems like he's keen to make up the lost time.