James Ponsoldt Teams With Arrival Producers For New Sci-Fi Flick

James Ponsoldt

Long before Arrival loomed over theaters across the globe, Denis Villeneuve’s poignant sci-fi was angled as a passion project for the director – a primer for his inevitable journey to helming Blade Runner 2049. But with eight Oscar nominations to its name, not to mention scores of rave reviews, Villeneuve’s evocative work of science fiction will be remembered as one of the very best releases of the year.

21 Laps knows all about it, too. The production company headed up by Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen enjoyed an overly successful 2016, working on both Arrival and Netflix phenomenon Stranger Things. It seems Levy and Cohen’s banner has developed a taste for the genre, with The Hollywood Reporter revealing today that the company has struck a deal with Fox 2000 and director James Ponsoldt (The Circle) for a new sci-fi film.

THR notes that Fox has acquired an as-yet-untitled pitch that’s based on Larry Niven’s short story Inconstant Moon. Niven is a heavyweight in the sci-fi genre having penned the classic Ringworld, so news that the author’s work is bound for the big screen is exciting in and of itself. Taking place over the course of one catastrophic night in downtown Los Angeles, Inconstant Moon poses the question: What would you do if it were your last night on Earth?

As the city braces itself for the end of days, Niven’s story explores one couple teetering on the edge of a break-up. All of those raw, universal emotions are dramatically amplified by the impending natural disaster, and there’s room here for Ponsoldt and Co. to engineer a focused, intimate drama that favors human emotion over eye-popping spectacle. Not unlike the craftsmanship seen in Arrival, then.

Next up for the writer-director is The Circle, a button-pressing thriller starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks as a Steve Jobs-esque media mogul. Look for that one to boot online this April. Arrival, meanwhile, is headed back to theaters with a bumper extended cut featuring behind-the-scenes footage.