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New Writer Attacks Asteroids
Jez Butterworth takes aim

16 November 2012  |  Written by Owen Williams  |  Source: Variety

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Three and a half years after the project was first announced, Universal's Asteroids have still yet to start hitting anything. Back in 2009 we said that we felt sorry for Matthew Lopez, tasked with crafting a narrative from what's a very primitive and basic videogame premise. And this morning our concern is for someone new: Jez Butterworth is the latest writer to take a shot at Asteroids' screenplay.

Asteroids is a rickety, vector-based Atari arcade classic in which a lone spaceship has to defend the planet Earth from big space rocks. Clearly then, there's the scope for some sort of large-scale disaster movie along Armageddon lines, perhaps with a tad more sci-fi, putting some sort of rugged hero (The Rock, obviously) in some sort of ship, going off-world to protect us.

Or it could be like Dark Star, with a small band of bored and paranoid space truckers indifferently blowing shit up and getting stoned until their ship goes mad. We're saying that's unlikely though.

Whatever, the basic premise of the game was deemed so awesome, that four studios were originally in the bidding war to win the rights from Atari. Universal achieved the highest score.

As we said, the first writer on the project was Matt Lopez (The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Race To Witch Mountain), and he was then followed by Evan Spiliotopoulos (many DTV Disney sequels). New incumbent Butterworth's previous credits number Doug Liman's Fair Game, The Last Legion, and Birthday Girl, which he also directed. He's got several other scripts in development, including a James Brown biopic for Tate Taylor.

Roland Emmerich was being touted as Asteroids' potential director earlier this year, but it's unclear how real a prospect that was, and nobody seems to be mentioning him now. Lorenzo di Bonaventura, the super-producer behind the Transformers and Matrix franchises (and currently in the UK working on Kenneth Branagh's Jack Ryan) is overseeing the film, and he'll be receiving Empire's screenplay for Chuckie Egg in the next few days.

If one thing's certain, it's that, whatever form it takes, Asteroids needs Killing Joke on the soundtrack


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Your Comments

Horace Goes Skiing ...
... directed by Ang Lee. More

Posted by Nicky C at 15:25 on 19 November 2012 | Report This Post

frogger
okay, last one .....Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski reunite for Frogger. an intense passionate portrayl of a frog who MUST get to the other side. Oh and Herzog could actually threaten to run Kinski over during the shoot. More

Posted by dangoodfellow at 00:11 on 18 November 2012 | Report This Post

Is there really any point in calling it Asteroids? Because it's obviously going to be positively nothing like the game. More

Posted by Whistler at 19:47 on 16 November 2012 | Report This Post

Now Manic Miner would be cool! And the sequel of Jet Set Willy! More

Posted by jem0013 at 15:14 on 16 November 2012 | Report This Post

chuckie egg begins
i'm putting forward chris nolan for chuckie egg, keeping his ensemble of michael caine, tom hardy and thingy out of 3rd rock. looking forward to bales transformation to play the chicken, a good chance in for the oscar, the only competition being de niros Danger Ranger More

Posted by dangoodfellow at 15:06 on 16 November 2012 | Report This Post

Hemorrhoids
I suppose when a studio chucks money at you you just try and write a story. But after Battlecrap, sorry Battleship, have they not learned anything? I mean the best thing about old games now is the titles - Missile Command, Space Invaders. Okay, Pong, is a bit off, but other than that what is the point? More

Posted by andrewgc at 13:35 on 16 November 2012 | Report This Post

RE: 4 studios bidding?
How's this gonna work? Could be a cool space type movie if it's 'a space event means asteroids are heading for the planet, sent up squadrons that when in space look stranded and alone as individual ships blasting away, as their compatriots fall by the wayside and the losses of individual ships become individual tragedies until the last ship remaining manages to fire the shot fracturing the weak point of the major rock the plan needs to destroy that other ships have weakened already kind of thin More

Posted by jobloffski at 12:57 on 16 November 2012 | Report This Post

4 studios bidding?
Asteroids is a classic, but not current. Everyone's played it, but they're not playing it anymore. As an audience member I'm not intrigued by an Asteroids movie at all. Not any more than I was about a Battleship movie, or would be about Monopoly, Hungry Hippos, Hot Wheels or frikkin' Connect 4 for that matter. I want to know who's in it, what's the genre, and what's the basic journey of the hero? Action figures have that embedded in them because they link the toy to a narrative. Board games are More

Posted by Nicky C at 12:22 on 16 November 2012 | Report This Post

Asteroids
Is that the sound of a lazer blaster I hear or the bottom of a very empty ideas barrel being scraped in HollyWood? More

Posted by combourg at 10:16 on 16 November 2012 | Report This Post

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