First of all, I’m frankly stunned that Wolfgang Peterson is directing anything. His career arc has been one of the more bizarre ones. He directed one of the all-time great war movies in Das Boot, then a series of minor classics such as In The Line Of Fire, The Neverending Story, and Enemy Mine. Then we got Air Force One, a fun, if ridiculous romp. Then A Perfect Storm, Troy, and the god awful Poseidon.
What I’m saying is, the man isn’t exactly storming the gates anymore, though he’s costing studios a lot of money to put out some pretty mediocre projects (although Troy is a guilty pleasure of mine). About ten years ago he was briefly attached to a Batman Vs. Superman project that died in the womb, and that was probably the last time I was excited about anything he’s been involved in.
Mainly because Paramount has picked up the rights to John Scalzi’s 2005 novel Old Man’s War, and Peterson has already been tagged to direct it. If you haven’t read Old Man’s War and the three other subsequent novels in the series, well… you should. Because they’re pretty damn impressive, and would make for a hell of a movie if tackled well. It’s amazing in scope and storytelling (not to mention seriously philosophically twisted), and if put in the right hands and with the right cast, it could be a truly impressive project.
Here’s the book synopsis for you:
With his wife dead and buried, and life nearly over at 75, John Perry takes the only logical course of action left him: he joins the army. Now better known as the Colonial Defense Force (CDF), Perry’s service-of-choice has extended its reach into interstellar space to pave the way for human colonization of other planets while fending off marauding aliens. The CDF has a trick up its sleeve that makes enlistment especially enticing for seniors: the promise of restoring youth. After bonding with a group of fellow recruits who dub their clique the Old Farts, Perry finds himself in a new body crafted from his original DNA and upgraded for battle, including fast-clotting “smartblood” and a brain-implanted personal computer. All too quickly the Old Farts are separated, and Perry fights for his life on various alien-infested battlegrounds.
It’s a pretty intense and exciting bit of storytelling, and the potential is there to really be something special. Paramount is probably excited for the idea of an Avatar-like concept, which this resembles only in the “transferring your consciousness to another body” part. The rest of it is exceedingly well-written, unlike a certain billion dollar pile of blue-skinned bullshit.