Could Christopher Nolan really direct a reboot of The Twilight Zone for the big screen, Rod Serling’s t.v. creation that began in 1959 and which Warner Bros and producer Leonardo DiCaprio have been trying to crack for the past three years? Clearly the answer from WB and DiCaprio is, “we God Damn hope so”.
After his mega bucks delivering Batman trilogy and Inception, WB are of course desperate for Chris Nolan to continue making films at their studio until the end of time and they are pulling out all the stops to keep him around. This included offering him the money to make his Howard Hughes biopic ‘Citizen Hughes’ that he tried to film a decade ago with Jim Carrey before Martin Scorsese beat him to the punch with The Aviator. At this point we expect that to be his next film, though with Warren Beatty casting up his own Howard Hughes movie, perhaps Nolan might find himself losing the race again. I imagine WB are going to throw many enticing projects his way over the next 18 months as alternatives to Citizen Hughes and this will be the first of many.
And for DiCaprio, as big a fan as anybody of The Twilight Zone, an actor who paid big money out of his own production shingle Appian Way to secure the rights to Rod Serling’s epic creation in 2008 and has hired a couple of screenwriters to make an anthology movie work on screen (Astronaut’s Wife scribe Rand Ravich and then newcomer Jason Rothenberg) only for nothing to come of it, he is just desperate to get something moving on this and his Inception director would of course be a dream hiring.
Variety reports that Nolan, deep into filming on next summer’s most anticipated film The Dark Knight Rises, tops the wishlist of potential directors WB would like to helm The Twilight Zone movie that we are now told will be a single narrative story (which is far better than loads of small ones) that will be directed by one individual filmmaker unlike the 80′s movie that had Steven Spielberg, George Miller, Joe Dante and John Landis direct stand-alone segments each.
Other names on the list include Transformers series helmer Michael Bay (yuck… totally, totally, totally wrong for this), Children of Men and Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix director Alfonso Cuaron (he is currently making Gravity at the studio and would be a great choice) and Rise of the Apes helmer Rupert Wyatt (though his next picture is likely to be a sequel to that Fox blockbuster).
David Yates, director of the last few Harry Potter movies was also on the potential wishlist, but they moved him onto an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand instead.
Presumably with the names above, WB are throwing out the old scripts and letting a new director approach the material in any way they see fit but even with that carte blanche, it will probably depend on how deep a vested love they have for the show as to whether they would actually sign on. I have no idea if Chris Nolan or Alfonso Cuaron are Twilight Zone fans, so I couldn’t possibly say, though as Cuaron has nothing in the offing after Gravity is done (which WB excitedly must be pleased with given they want him for this) and the others do, I guess he would be favourite to take on this gig and his sci-fi background would put him in good stead.
Though wishlists are wishlists and they aren’t particularly useful at this stage. And of course we could have figured out that DiCaprio and WB wanted Nolan as first choice, that seems obvious to us before today. But clearly we are a long way from anything being signed but there’s definitely a Twilight Zone movie starring DiCaprio (who has never ruled out appearing in the film if the project is right) and directed by Nolan that could tear down the house.
P.S. – If I were DiCaprio, what I would do with the property and which I’ve said a thousand times before is the way to approach this… is to simply do it the way Rod Serling did. Hire the best sci-fi screenwriters/directors (off the top of my head Duncan Jones, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron, Damon Lindelof, etc) and hungry up and coming storytellers and let them loose with their own 30 minute storylines, attempt to attract A-list actors and regular t.v. faces, and use yourself as the figurehead for intro/outro’s the way Serling did. Use the DiCaprio brand name to introduce a whole new audience to the show (woman, teenagers), star in a few episodes… The Twilight Zone still has name recognition to bring in big ratings. Even do it the way Hitchcock did and call it “Leonardo DiCaprio Presents… The Twilight Zone”.
Creatively, making a film out of a show that pushed original short stories, makes no sense to me and I really wish DiCaprio would see this as the best way to revive a classic….
(having said that if Nolan comes out tomorrow and says he is making the movie with DiCaprio, I will be as pleased as punch).
This article was first posted on October 1, 2011