Ideas nicked from the books of William Gibson have been leaking into cinema sci-fi for years, but to date, the only official screen-Gibson has been the wretched Johnny Mnemonic, Abel Ferrara's New Rose Hotel, and two X-Files. That's finally about to change though, with a press release from Seven Arts Pictures confirming that work is properly underway on Vincenzo Natali's Neuromancer.
Natali began working on his adapted screenplay when he finished the publicity rounds for Splice around this time last year, reportedly with the approval of Gibson himself. Seven Arts have been drumming up international interest at Cannes, and, says COO Kate Hoffman, "Response to this cult cyberspace thriller has been tremendous; the film ticks a lot of boxes with distributors. The film will be a Canadian/European co-production, with principal photography taking place in Canada, Istanbul, Tokyo and London."
Published in 1984 (two years after Blade Runner, which, when he saw it, almost caused him to stop writing), Gibson's Neuromancer was part of the vanguard of the Cyberpunk movement, which, in a nutshell, concerned itself with noirish plots about hackers, artificial intelligences, mega corporations and industrial dystopias. Surprisingly little of it has dated, and it was extraordinarily prescient about the rise of "cyberspace": a word actually coined by Gibson. Neuromancer forms part of a loose trilogy with Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive.
Natali described the project last year as "about evolving our minds, where Splice was about evolving our bodies." That's not to say there won't be some physical enhancements on show though, with key post-human roles like the technologically modified Molly to fill.
Preliminary work on the visual effects is underway, which is not in itself a guarantee of the film reaching its start date. But all being well, Neuromancer is expected to go before Natali's cameras in the first quarter of next year.