There have been several aborted attempts at putting together an adaptation of the classic book, but none of these have managed to get very far. According to the article at Slashfilm, the film has secured sales from distributors in several countries, and visual effects are being worked on, with a view to a 2012 shoot. This sounds promising, and director Natali is clearly committed to getting it done.
If you don’t know Natali, he was the director behind cult classics Cube and Splice. These are both dark, intelligent sci-fi movies, with some great ideas, so he is clearly a good choice for the project, and will put a lot of thought and care into the film. My only real worry is that with Natali as the director, the budget will probably be pretty modest, as he is not known for bringing big box office. It will be difficult to bring the technologically advanced world of Gibsons novel to the big screen convincingly, and with little funds behind it Natali may struggle to do it justice visually. It is still preferable, however, to a big budget botch job by the likes of Brett Ratner or Joel Schumacher, so hey.
If you don’t know Neuromancer, if i tell you it is a highly influential novel that inspired the likes of The Matrix, you’ll appreciate why this adaptation is big news. Neuromancer tells the story of a burnt-out hacker pressed into service for several heists, who stumbles upon a wide conspiracy. If you ever played the Shadowrun video game on the SNES, it pretty closely mimics the tone and technology of the novel. Whilst the idea of jacking your consciousness in directly to the internet is not a novel concept now, it was a groundbreaking idea at the time. The filmmaking technology of today is well up to the job of rendering scenes of characters infiltrating the virtual world, so it is possibly a blessing that we have had to wait until now to see it put on-screen. I’ll follow the progress of this adaptation with great interest.
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