‘Attack The Block’ director Joe Cornish set to bring sci-fi classic ‘Snow Crash’ to life

You can’t see me right now, but it’s safe to assume I’m doing backflips of pure joy.

Neal Stephenson’s breakthrough novel was “Snow Crash,” a pre-Internet book that seems positively prescient when you look at it now.  It’s a rousing adventure story about Hiro Protagonist, part pizza guy, part hacker, part samurai, who gets pulled into the mystery of a computer virus called Snow Crash that threatens to destroy the proto-internet that is the main setting of the novel.  It’s a truly great book, and there have been attempts to turn it into a film before, with Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall attached to produce it at one point for Disney.

Now it looks like Joe Cornish, whose breakthrough film was last year’s “Attack The Block,” is set to write and direct the film, with Kennedy/Marshall once again attached, and the film this time set to be produced by Paramount.

This is exciting news.  “Snow Crash” is a great piece of original science-fiction, and I would love for studios to stop demanding everything be a prequel or a requel or a sequel or a reboot or a whateverthehell that’s already been made.  As I watch the cast come together on Jose Padilla’s “Robocop,” I am impressed by the actors he’s brought together, and I like Padilla, and I remain deeply, deeply unconvinced that we need a remake of an already perfect movie. 

We may all still be arguing about “Prometheus,” but a big part of that is because of what an uncomfortable fit it is with the existing series.  I may not be willing to support the big-screen adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game,” but if it makes money, it sends the message that these beloved SF novels are fertile ground for studios, and I’d love to see that film and “Snow Crash” kick off a flood of movies like “The Stainless Steel Rat” and “Foundation” and “Hyperion” and “The Forever War.”  I’d love to see some of these amazing worlds finally brought to life, and for this to happen, we need to see some of these films really work.

Cornish is a major talent.  What he pulled off with “Attack The Block” is remarkable.  That is not an expensive film, and the way he solved some of his issues was through simple ingenuity instead of just throwing money at it.  Having a guy like that in the driver’s seat for “Snow Crash” makes me think it could actually work.  We could finally get the film that many of us have been waiting for these last 20 years.  Not everything that Stephenson writes is necessarily suited to film adaptation, but “Snow Crash” is one of those big movies just waiting for the right person to figure it out, and it excites me that it’s come roaring back to life with Cornish involved.

Here’s hoping the summer of 2014 sees the triumphant realization of Hiro Protagonist and his world onscreen, and that it is the beginning of even bigger and better things for not just Cornish, but the SF genre in general.