Those waiting for the first signs of movement on Prometheus 2 may have to wait a little longer, as Ridley Scott is now attached to direct The Martian as his next project – according to producer Simon Kinberg (X Men: Days Of Future Past). In an inspired casting choice, Matt Damon will take the lead role in this story of an astronaut accidentally left behind on Mars. Such a role plays entirely to the strengths of Damon, who has proved he can hold the screen just as easily on his own as in an ensemble situation.
Based on the debut novel of the same name by Andy Weir, the film was originally set to be written and directed by Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, The Cabin In The Woods), but he is now deep into the development of The Amazing Spider-Man spinoff Sinister Six – so while his writing work remains, he will no longer be taking the helm. Simon Kinberg has described Goddard’s initial Martian script as “incredible” – certainly great enough to attract the legendary Ridley Scott to the director’s chair.
The Martian has had quite a journey. Rejected by literary agents when he wrote it, Andy Weir self-published his tale in 2012, and it subsequently caused a big stir online. The positive reaction from readers prompted 20th Century Fox to option the rights in 2013, while Crown stepped in and re-published the novel in 2014. The book synopsis – as used by Barnes And Noble – is as follows:
“Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
“After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive – and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be long gone before a rescue could arrive.
“Chances are though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old ‘human error’ are much more likely to kill him first.
“But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills – and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit – he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?”
There had been speculation that the March 4th, 2016 release slot reserved by 20th Century Fox for an “untitled Ridley Scott project” was for Prometheus 2, but with The Martian as his next project, it now seems highly unlikely that Scott would be directing that follow-up for that date. If it is reserved for that title, this could mean that Scott will simply produce and leave the directing to someone else. Regardless of Prometheus 2 plans, and according to Kinberg, The Martian will be heading into production this fall, so watch this space for more details.