"I’m really, really heavily researching a sci-fi movie… I have a huge telescope and I stargaze. I marvel when I study the moon and think of stories about colonizing Mars…" – Director F. Gary Gray on what lies ahead for him, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, ahead of tomorrow’s opening of his latest work, "Straight Outta Compton."
The self-described "Cosmos" addict then joked that he’d maybe team up again with Ice Cube (the two have collaborated on past projects, starting with the cult comedy classic "Friday"): "How about ‘Are We There Yet? The Mars Edition’ … With Neil deGrasse Tyson as a guest star."
But seriously, if he really is does want to make a sci-fi movie and has been "heavily researching" for one, I’d suggest that he give Morgan Freeman a call and ask him about the actor’s long-in-limbo adaptation of the late Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi classic "Rendezvous With Rama."
Freeman has been working to bring the novel to the screen for what feels like an eternity! I’d long given up on the likelihood of it happening. But, every year or so, someone asks him about it – usually when he’s doing press for some other film he’s starring in that’s coming out; and, last I recall, he seemed quite assured that the movie would eventually happen.
What’s the hold-up? What else – financing!
David Fincher was Freeman’s first choice to direct the film adaptation, but it’s been maybe a decade since the project was first announced, so he might be open to another capable director handling the material. Besides, Freeman hasn’t exactly worked with many black directors throughout his lengthy career. The only film I can think of in which he starred that was directed by a black filmmaker was "Olympus Has Fallen," which was directed by Antoine Fuqua.
"Rama" is what I’d call a hard science fiction novel, which I read at least a decade ago. It centers on the discovery of a 30-mile-long alien spaceship with mysterious origins, that’s adrift in our Solar System, controlled by an unknown intelligence. What is it? Who built it? What is it doing in our corner of the galaxy? All those questions and more are tackled by the captain of the spaceship Endeavor that is charged with rendezvousing with the unknown vessel in outer space, to answer those questions; but what he and his crew discover is unlike anything they imagined. Freeman, of course, would play the captain.
The novel has drawn comparisons to Clarke’s other and most enduring work, "2001: A Space Odyssey," which Stanley Kubrick turned into a cinematic masterpiece of science fiction; so it’s no surprise that it’s taken this long (and likely even longer) to see the project realized.
So, Mr. F. Gary Gray, reach out to Mr. Freeman about this, and see what develops. You can thank me later.
Maybe the box office success of "Straight Outta Compton" will encourage a studio to invest an even bigger budget in the director for his next project.