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SYFY WIRE Uma Thurman

WIRE Buzz: John McTiernan's 'Tau Ceti' ready to shoot; Robert Rodriguez talks 'We Can Be Heroes' sequel; more

By Josh Weiss
John McTiernan

After a hiatus of almost 20 years, John McTiernan (director of '80s touchstones like Predator and Die Hard) is heading back to the world of filmmaking with Tau Ceti, an upcoming sci-fi action epic starring Uma Thurman (Kill Bill) and Travis Fimmel (Vikings). The project is ready to roll, but its future hangs in the balance amid the ongoing health crisis that continues to stall and delay live-action productions.

"We were about to shoot the film in Serbia when COVID happened," McTiernan told Empire for the magazine's February 2021 issue. "And now, I don't know what we're gonna do. I could also do it here in Canada. It's easier to set up a bubble or set up some sort of isolation arrangement for the year. Although, in another six months, I suppose we'll have enough vaccines around that they can finally get it under control. And we can go back to work."

John McTiernan

In the meantime, the 69-year-old director is figuring out whether or not the movie (centered around a trio of badass soldiers attempting to take down an oligarch on a war-torn planet) will be renamed to "Tau Ceti Foxtrot." Scientifically-speaking, "Tau Ceti" refers to an actual star that is located about 12 lightyears away from Earth.

Also chatting with Empire, writer-director Robert Rodriguez revealed that he already has a slew of new characters for a potential sequel to We Can Be Heroes, a kid-friendly superhero flick that debuts on Netflix tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 25).

"My kids and I had come up with 15 kid characters we had to pare back and save for the sequel," he said. "So we're excited to keep the Rodriguez-verse going." Featuring an all-star ensemble that includes Pedro Pascal, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Boyd Holbrook, Heroes is about the children of the world's greatest super-team: The Heroics. When the team's members are kidnapped by aliens, it's up to the next generation to rescue their parents and save the planet. "You want children to model themselves on those who are pushing towards making the world better," Rodriguez added.

Even if Netflix doesn't order a sequel, Rodriguez will still be plenty busy as an executive producer on The Book of Boba Fetta, which begins filming before Season 3 of The Mandalorian. The spinoff series (featuring Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen) is also being produced by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. It is set to premiere on Disney+ next December. Rodriguez dipped his toe into the Star Wars universe by helming the sixth episode of The Mandalorian's second season: "Chapter 14: The Tragedy."

Last month, it was announced that Zack Stentz (creator of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous) is developing a female-led TV series inspired by H.G. Wells' late 19th century sci-fi novel: The Island of Doctor Moreau. The project, which will serve as a cautionary tale in the modern age of genetic editing, is apparently an extremely hot commodity among Hollywood's movers and shakers.

"We've had A-list directors calling and saying, 'Can I direct the pilot?'" Stentz told Empire. "Just because the idea of turning Dr. Moreau into a show is that compelling."

The Island of Dr. Moreau

Not much is known about the show at this time, although it has been confirmed that it will be titled Moreau and produced under Gunpowder & Sky's DUST banner. In addition, we know that the titular character — a brilliant, but ultimately unhinged scientist that turns people into human-animal hybrids — is named "Dr. Jessica Moreau."

"We haven't had a lot of brilliant female antiheroes as anchors for television, when we've had very many Tony Sopranos and Walter Whites," Stentz said.