Denis Villeneuve Set to Direct Arthur C. Clarke Space Epic ‘Rendezvous with Rama’

Villeneuve will reunite with Alcon Entertainment, the studio behind "Prisoners" and "Blade Runner 2049," and will team with producers Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary.
Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villeneuve

After taking on Frank Herbert’s “Dune,” Oscar-nominated filmmaker Denis Villeneuve is set to direct another adaptation of a sci-fi novel, this time from “2001: A Space Odyssey” author Arthur C. Clarke.

Villeneuve will direct “Rendezvous with Rama” for Alcon Entertainment, with whom Villeneuve worked on the Hugh Jackman thriller “Prisoners” and his sci-fi sequel “Blade Runner 2049” (itself based on the writings of sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick). Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary will also produce alongside via their Revelations Entertainment banner. Freeman purchased rights to the novel in 2018.

The story from Clarke’s original novel, per THR, “follows a group of human space explorers that are tasked with intercepting an alien starship that is hurtling through the solar system. It is believed that the missions will lead to mankind’s first contact with alien intelligence.” The story takes place in the 2130s.

Freeman and McCreary had a long-standing collaboration with Arthur C. Clarke, and they committed to him to personally on a visit to him in Sri Lanka that they would bring “Rendezvous with Rama” to the big screen.

“Denis’ vision for ‘Rama’ felt completely aligned with Arthur’s wishes, so we are confident that teaming with our producing partners Andrew and Broderick at Alcon is the right next step in this over-20-year odyssey,” said McCreary and Freeman in a statement shared with IndieWire.

“This is one of the most intelligent works of fiction in the genre; it poses as many questions as it does answers, and is a work for our time,” said Johnson and Kosove in a statement. “It’s perfectly fitted to our friend and collaborator Denis’ brilliant sensibilities and specifically to his love and passion for science fiction. We are also pleased to work with Morgan and Lori, who have a long-standing passion for this IP.” The project will be financed by Alcon.

“Rendezvous with Rama” has been in development limbo since the early 2000s, with the book under option for more than 20 years. At one point, David Fincher was attached to direct, before moving on to other projects.

“Dune” is nearing the $400 million mark at the global box office even despite the pandemic and initial play on HBO Max. The success of the film led Warner Bros. to greenlit the sequel, “Dune: Part Two,” which is currently still in its pre-production stages. Villeneuve is also attached to direct episodes of the HBO Max spinoff prequel series “Dune: The Sisterhood,” which he will also executive produce.

“Dune” earned three Golden Globe nominations this week, including for Best Motion Picture Drama, Best Director for Villeneuve, and Best Score for Hans Zimmer, setting him up for Oscar contention in the months ahead.

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