Joe Cornish To Direct Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash

We're praying to the gods of celluloid and good storytelling that Hollywood doesn’t screw this up.

Deadline announced on Thursday that Joe Cornish, director of "Attack the Block", has been tapped as the guy who will be bringing my all-time favorite book, Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel "Snow Crash", to the silver screen. I hold this book in very high regard, and since I heard the news I€™ve been filled with the same type of angst that Watchmen fans must have been filled with when they heard the news of a movie for that similarly €˜unfilmable€™ property. Although being made for Paramount Pictures with Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall producing is a pretty good start, Snow Crash is a hell of a dense book that if done right will require a hefty budget, a whole whack of state-of-the-art effects and a runtime of probably 150 minutes to fit everything in. If you haven€™t read it yet, you€™re doing yourself a huge disservice, as author Neal Stephenson has created an adventure in a world that€™s different from our own yet described in such vivid detail that we can easily imagine it in the not-too-distant future. One could argue that it heavily €˜borrows€™ elements from other sci-fi/cyberpunk fiction, but it weaves them together in a thick, gnarly story that emerges as something entirely new. In the book, our not-too-subtly named hero, Hiro Protagonist €“ pizza delivery boy, samurai swordsman and world€™s greatest hacker €“ is stunned when the avatar of a friend is infected with a computer virus (or is it a drug?) in the Metaverse, an immersive version of the internet where he spends most of his time. When this results in his friend lapsing into a coma in the real world, Hiro teams up with a young skateboard kourier (with a k) named YT to find out where the virus came from and, no surprise, stumbles onto a vast and deadly conspiracy with elements of €“ to quote Wikipedia €“ history, linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, religion, computer science, politics, cryptography, memetics and philosophy. That doesn€™t even begin to do the intricate plot justice, but you get the idea. As I said, this is a dense read, with a number of set pieces that would just blow your socks off if you saw them on an IMAX screen: YT harpooning cars with an electromagnetic tether and €˜surfing€™ down the highway on her smartwheel-enabled skateboard; deadly biomechanical €˜rat thing€™ security robots that move so fast you won€™t notice them until there€™s a hole in your chest; sword and gun battles aboard a city built of yachts and rafts tied to a private aircraft carrier; and a 60,000 mph motorcycle chase in the Metaverse that ends with a logic bomb going off at a rock concert attended by millions of screaming avatars. As for casting, well that€™s a hard one. In the book Hiro is around 30 years old and of Korean/Black descent, while YT is a 15-year old 21st century version of an early 90€™s Gwen Steffani. Hiro€™s race will probably be glossed over in the movie, but for some reason I€™ve always imagined John Cho when I read the book (Did you know he€™s 40? Dude looks 25). For YT, I imagine that current it-girl Chloe Moretz could readily pull off the right mix of street-smart indignation and punk rock authority to do the role justice. The big casting question is the story€™s hulking, Aleut bad guy, Raven. This is how the book describes him:
€œUntil a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world... Hiro used to feel this way, too, but then he ran into Raven. In a way, this was liberating. He no longer has to worry about being the baddest motherfucker in the world. The position is taken.€
I used to think Vin Diesel would be a good fit for this (say what you will about his acting chops, but Riddick is still one of the most badass characters our there), but by now he€™s gone a bit too...Vin Diesel-y? Two other names popped into my mind €“ Danny Trejo (although he€™s a bit old for the role) and Kevin Durand. It€™s a tough call €“ what do you think? At any rate, I will be following this story closely, and I€™m praying to the gods of celluloid and good storytelling that Hollywood doesn€™t screw this up.

Greg Jorgensen hails from a wee town in mid-western Canada with a name that’s hard to pronounce and even harder to remember. After spending a few years in film school and learning how to lift heavy equipment for abusive producers, he ended up in Bangkok in 2001 where he currently lives, works and sleeps. Since then, he has worked as a corporate trainer, stand-up comedian, tour guide, proofreader and actor (usually playing a bad guy or a bodyguard that gets killed). These days he’s happy spending much of his time as a writer and fondly thinking about how many kilometers lie between him and a Canadian winter. His blog can be found at