Daniel Wilson could be on the verge of a long and prosperous career as the new Michael Crichton.
After all, one of Spielberg’s biggest hits was the higher-than-high concept “Jurassic Park,” and next up for the director is the film adaptation of “Robopocalypse,” which I wrote about a few months ago. Like Crichton, his books posit big ideas, and the exploration of that concept is perhaps more important than character or dialogue. That’s not to say he’s a bad writer… he’s not. But world-building and the big idea seem to be his strengths, and that’s the sort of thing that Hollywood frequently responds to. Wilson’s got their attention, and it looks like he’s got another film gearing up already.
With the report that Alex Proyas is set to direct “Amped,” my attention is piqued. Proyas is a gifted visual filmmaker who completely depends on how strong the material is on the page. He’s got to have a great piece of writing if he’s going to make a film that works, and he’s not one of those guys I would ask to fix something during production.
What I find most interesting is that Summit originally optioned the material in 2010, and then let the option lapse when they merged with Lionsgate. That is a baffling decision. “Amped” is set in a near-future where nanotechnology is being used to technologically enhance people, but only under carefully controlled regulations. When the “amped” humans start to feel that their existence is threatened, things accelerate into what could well be a full-scale war.
Crichton was, of course, a doctor before he became a writer, and he drew much of his inspiration from real-world research. Wilson also writes from experience and the way technology is shaping the ethical landscape of the 21st century. He began his career as a roboticist, and when you read “Robopocalypse” or “Amped,” you can tell that these are ideas that concern him greatly. The very definition of “human” may well be up for grabs in the decades and centuries ahead, and great science-fiction tries to point the way towards the future while grappling with the concepts that will matter to all of us now, when they are still just fiction.
I’m excited to see “Robopocalypse” on April 25, 2014, which is when it’s set for release, and I’m curious to see if Working Title and Proyas actually manage to get “Amped” into theaters.