With Vincenzo Natali suddenly off making Haunter, there were some questions about what had happened to his slowly-gestating adaptation of William Gibson's Neuromancer. The answer is that the cyberpunk classic is still making its independent way to the screen, and that Neuromancer has now gained a heavyweight mainstream producer, in Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
Currently based at Paramount, where recent gigs for his production company have included the likes of Salt, Red, and the Transformers and GI Joe movies, di Bonaventura was previously a senior production executive at Warner Bros. There, he helped wrangle the Harry Potter series, along with, perhaps most significantly, The Matrix trilogy. The Wachowskis were always up-front about Neo and co.'s indebtedness to Gibson.
Don't take all this to mean that Neuromancer has been swallowed by the studio machine though. It remains a UK/Canadian/Hungarian co-production, with a relatively modest budget of $60m. Jay Firestone, already on board Natali's film through his Prodigy Pictures banner, explains that, "Lorenzo and Mark [Vahradian, di Bonaventura's producing partner] bring a wealth of success and experience to this project. Having them on board solidifies a strong and creative team that is dedicated to producing [a] groundbreaking and thought provoking cult classic."
Natali said last year that he doesn't view Neuromancer as a potential blockbuster. "I think the reason that William Gibson has been so supportive of me doing it is that he knows the film won't be homogenised. There's something inherently not mainstream about it, and I want to preserve that. There's definitely a potentially bland and uninteresting version of that story [hackers take on behemoth corporation in cyberspace] but what's important is not just what happens in the story, but how it's told and the texture that exists in the world we have to recreate."
Shooting is currently pencilled in for sometime later this year, with a projected release in the autumn of 2013.