As a director, Steven Spielberg has warned us about invasion from aliens, technology, and Nazis. But now Vulture hears that he’s intrigued by another threat: robots. DreamWorks optioned a novel by Daniel H. Wilson (due to be published next June) called Robopocalypse that sources tell us Spielberg has been considering making his next project. And when Hollywood hears that Spielberg is excited about something, they get excited, too: A new draft of the Robopocalypse adaptation has just been handed in by Drew Goddard (co-writer of Cloverfield, and the director of MGM’s lamentably delayed The Cabin in the Woods), and the town is desperate to get its hands on it.
Says one source, “With DreamWorks, everything is potentially a Steven project — until it’s not. That’s why everyone’s in a frenzy trying to read it.” Meaning: If Spielberg does it, agents will be desperate to get their acting clients hired for the film. Meanwhile, directors’ agents are trying to read it in case he decides not to do the project. Goes the thinking, If Spielberg flirted with it, it’s forever marked as a Quality Movie, so everyone wants to scoop it up if it gets dropped.
It does seem like a logical DreamWorks project, whoever directs it; the studio has been betting big on ‘bots for a while now. Shawn Levy’s action movie Reel Steel, set in the futuristic world of robot boxing, appears in theaters in November 2011, six months after the DreamWorks release of Transformers 3.
Vulture was unsuccessful in reaching Wilson, a robotics researcher who previously wrote the 2005 book How to Survive a Robot Uprising. We did leave a message for him at his home in Oregon; he may call us back with details, provided his answering machine hasn’t already slaughtered him.