* Some people consider William Gibson's Neuromancer—about a hacker going on missions in cyberspace and dealing with artificial intelligence—the greatest science fiction novel ever. In 1984, that was groundbreaking stuff. The novel inspired movies like Ghost in the Shell and The Matrix, and it won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and the Philip K. Dick Award.
Now that it's 2010, you might think that online hacking and AI are old news, but one filmmaker thinks it's finally time to bring Neuromancer to the big screen. Vincenzo Natali, writer-director of Splice, has written a screenplay.
"I think now is the right time for Neuromancer," Natali said in a group interview on May 22 in Hollywood, where he was promoting Splice. "Some people say that you can't do Neuromancer now because The Matrix and other films borrowed so heavily from that book. My argument is no, that's a good thing, because the book has so many ideas that are so abstract that it's only after those films that you could really get into the meat of it."
The Matrix explained how a computer world could appear like our everyday life, and how skilled hackers could download kung fu. If you like that, Neuromancer goes even further.
"There are ideas in the book that have not been explored in any film that I think are really intriguing," Natali continued. "Neuromancer is about evolving our consciousnesses."
Studios have tried to develop Neuromancer films before, but Natali thinks he's the one who's finally going to do it. He even ran his ideas by Gibson himself.
"It's a hard book to translate, but I have to confess, I think I know exactly how to do it," Natali said. "I had a very good conversation with William Gibson about it. The secret lies in the end. The book is a hard nut to crack because there's a lot going on in it. I don't think anyone is able to bring all the disparate pieces together, but I think I have a way to do it. Maybe I'm being foolish. Maybe I'm being naïve. We'll find out."
One thing Natali can promise is: NO KEANU REEVES. Sorry, dude, you had your day as the cyberpunk. "I hate to say it, but Keanu Reeves is far too old, because Case, the character in the book, is supposed to be 24 years old."
So what do you think? Is Natali finally the guy to get the project made and do Neuromancer right?