A couple of weeks ago, Joseph Kosinski’s long-cherished sci-fi project Oblivion hit a hefty road bump as original backer Disney shoved the movie into an escape pod and pulled the lever after failing to fit the script into its Family-Friendly Franchisable Framework of Films. But even then there was talk of other studios looking to sweep in and dust it off, and now it appears Universal is the front-runner to do just that, with Tom Cruise also now in solid talks to star.
Oblivion – or Horizons, depending on who you ask – is a futuristic love story set on an apocalyptic Earth, which has long since been blasted nearly uninhabitable. Most of the population live in cities set in the clouds, but there are still patrol drones wandering the surface blasting nasty alien types living on the ground. A soldier living among them as a maintenance man discovers a crashed spacecraft containing a beautiful woman, and the adventure they go on changes his worldview forever.
After initially failing to get it made before settling in for the long Tron Legacy slog, Kosinski crafted the story as a graphic novel. Then, when Disney originally bought it, the studio hired William Monahan to write the script, with Karl Gajdusek now taking a fresh pass.
There’s no solid guarantee that Universal will definitely nab the project, but it’s looking likely, especially if Cruise signs on. The studio has been looking to work with the man despite its experience with Guillermo del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness, to which Cruise was also loosely attached. Oblizons (we’re going with the mash-up title for now) would be a good replacement for GDT’s planned film, as it can sit more easily at a PG-13 level and be made for a budget of around $100 million. Stay tuned to see whether Cruise and Universal can actually help make a filmmaker’s dream idea come true this time…