I wasn't sure whether or not Joseph Kosinski would be able to get back to work as quickly as he is. His feature debut, Tron: Legacy, did some business, but not exactly what Disney had hoped it would. Of course, that's not the reason that the Mouse House dropped the visually-inventive filmmaker's new project, Oblivion (at least that's not what the company is saying). The fact that Kosinski couldn't bring the film in with a PG rating is supposedly why Disney let the ambitious movie go. Thankfully, Universal Pictures has swooped in and picked it up - and attached the biggest movie star in the world to it.
Deadline reports that Tom Cruise will star as a lone soldier on the ground in a desolate future planet, where most of the population lives in a society amongst the clouds. Day in and day out he repairs drones that patrol and destroy a savage alien life form that has taken control of the surface, until he encounters a beautiful woman who crashes in a craft and forces him to question everything he believes about his planet and life. William Monahan (The Departed) penned the screenplay, based on Kosinski's original idea, and Karl Gajdusek is coming aboard to rewrite it. Universal, not bound by the same family-friendly business model as Disney, has agreed to a PG-13 rating and a production budget of $100 million.
I'm pretty gung-ho about this project. It's totally sci-fi, but also sounds like it has a deeply theological or existential story arc that, set against the beautiful backdrop of a city in the clouds, should be breathtaking. I'd be more comfortable with it if it was in the hands of a more experienced filmmaker, but this appears to be Kosinski's baby. That, coupled with his indisputable aesthetic talents, should lead to a pretty awesome adventure flick. And this is exactly the kind of film that Cruise needs to make the world remember why he's the biggest action star on the planet. He hasn't done sci-fi since 2005's War of the Worlds, instead opting for spy action like Mission: Impossible 3, Knight and Day and this winter's fourth Mission. He's still one of the most bankable leading men in the business and I'm looking forward to seeing him return to this exciting genre.