Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: D.W. Harper has been set to write a new draft of The Forever War for Fox 2000 and Scott Free. It’s a directing vehicle for Ridley Scott, who for 25 years has wanted to helm an adaptation of Joe Haldeman’s 1974 seminal science fiction novel. The hope is to get the project moving with a script by Harper, who most recently wrote All You Need Is Kill, the sci-fi film that is in production with Tom Cruise starring and Doug Liman directing.

I first wrote about this one when the studio acquired the Haldeman book back in 2008, and at that time Scott told me it was “a science-fiction epic, a bit of ‘The Odyssey’ by way of ‘Blade Runner,’ built on a brilliant, disorienting premise.” Scott first pursued the book not long after it was published, but the rights were unavailable for a long time. Oscar-winning Raiders Of The Lost Ark VFX wiz Richard Edlund originally bought the rights with the intention of making his directing debut on the film, but it never got off the ground and finally Scott’s home studio was able to make a deal. His Scott Free is producing, with Vince Gerardis exec producing. Fox 2000’s Rodney Ferrell is steering the pic. Haldeman’s book won the 1975 Nebula Award and the 1976 Hugo Award.

I’ll try to explain that disorienting premise: A soldier reluctantly battles an enemy in deep space, and while he spends a short time in battle, the time dilation of space channel causes him to return home to a planet that has aged to the point it is almost unrecognizable to the soldier.

Harper, who co-wrote the upcoming Hansel And Gretel Witch Hunters and adapted Isaac Asimov’s Foundation for director Roland Emmerich, is repped by CAA and Management 360.

Haldeman’s novella Seasons was recently acquired by Sony Pictures as a directing vehicle for Tim Miller, with Sebastian Gutierrez writing the script. Scott, who last helmed Prometheus, most recently wrapped the Cormac McCarthy-scripted The Counselor with Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz. Scott is separately trying to mount a sequel to his sci-fi classic Blade Runner. Prometheus, a sort of prequel to Alien, got somewhat mixed reviews, but I found it fascinating. It is nice to see Scott back and working in the genre he transformed with Alien and Blade Runner.

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