I'm confused. Is Ridley Scott making the "Prometheus" sequel for a 2016 release, or is he making "The Martian," with Matt Damon starring in the Drew Goddard adaptation of the book by Andy Weir? We've heard several possibilities, but according to Simon Kinberg, a producer on "The Martian," it appears that a choice has been made. The comments were made during a podast appearance with Jeff Goldsmith.
Andy Weir's "The Martian" is one of the many self-publishing success stories that have been enabled by the age of digital distribution, and I'm amazed by how often this seems to be happening now. As Hollywood gears up to make this movie, and with "50 Shades Of Grey" already shooting and stirring up massive fan-flurries of activity with any new image that gets released, it seems like a good time to take a shot at getting your message and your story out to an audience directly, without anyone between the author and the readers.
This is a best case scenario. Imagine you're Andy Weir, and you self-publish this book on your website, and then a year later, Crown's picked it up and they've got it in stores nationwide and 20th Century Fox is gearing up to make the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut who is stranded on Mars by himself. It's hard-science science-fiction, very matter of fact in many ways. The way the situation unfolds is plausible, and horrifying because of just how believable it seems to be, and no doubt Weir's background in orbital mechanics and astronomy have him the right skill set to create a nail-biter that feels like it's grounded in fact.
No doubt that's part of the appeal for Scott. It's not a one-person film, though, even though much of it deals with Watney's efforts to survive being the only person on Mars with no real supplies to help him. Simon Kinberg was a producer on "Elysium," the last science-fiction film that Matt Damon was in, and it can be hard to get Damon to lock in on a piece of material. I'm sure having Kinberg aboard helps, and it sounds like the kind of role that is custom-designed to win an actor acclaim. I would much rather see Scott make this than either a "Prometheus" or "Blade Runner" sequel, and we'll see how this shakes out. I'm going to reach out to the filmmakers to try to get some clarity on where this falls in the timeline.
In the meantime, Ridley Scott's "Exodus: Gods and Kings" is due in theaters December 12, 2014.