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SYFY WIRE PlayStation 5

WIRE Buzz: Oscar Isaac & Ben Stiller bring sci-fi to ‘London’; Gary Whitta writing PS5 game; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Oscar Isaac at the Rise of Skywalker red carpet

Two big names are teaming up to bring a mysterious sci-fi project to the big screen, with Oscar Isaac and Ben Stiller joining forces for the upcoming London, a film adaptation of a short story from Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø.

Stiller will direct the movie off a script by Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Denis Villeneuve's Dune), according to Deadline. Isaac, no stranger to sci-fi as trigger-happy flyboy Poe Dameron in the final three films of Star Wars' Skywalker trilogy, will reportedly both star in and produce the upcoming movie for Lionsgate. Nesbø reportedly is also attached as an executive producer.

Ben Stiller

Isaac reportedly sought out rights to Nesbø's "new short story/high-concept thriller," though few details are known at this point. There's no early word on whether Stiller (There's Something About Mary, Mystery Men, Night at the Museum) will step in front of the camera in addition to directing the movie.

Sony's PlayStation 5 presentation packed one big game announcement on top of another last week, and one of the biggest to catch our eye was a mysterious Square Enix adventure going by the working title Project Athia. While working titles usually indicate a game hasn't made it too far into development, an intriguing Twitter post from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story writer Gary Whitta appears to suggest that may not be the case here.

Describing Project Athia as a "new universe" from the studio minds behind the Final Fantasy series, Whitta told fans that he has actually been deeply involved in the upcoming game, leading "a crack team of A-list writers from the worlds of film, tv, games, and fantasy literature" who've already been working on the project.

It's not clear how deep Whitta's involvement is (nor whether it's ongoing) beyond the concept stage; responding to a subsequent fan's tweet, Whitta said he was "[p]roud to have been even just a small part of something this epic," even as he teased in the original tweet that he "[c]an't wait" for fans "to see and learn more."

Either way, we're even more intrigued than we were just looking at Project Athia's action-packed trailer (shown above), which features a young woman in present-day clothes navigating a fantasy world where animals and dragons are animated by an almost techo-looking, white-hot aura that pulses through their bodies. Square Enix hasn't said when to expect more news on Project Athia (including its real name and a release date), but when it arrives, it'll be a PlayStation 5 console exclusive.

How about a new mobile game that gives players one ring — if not one ringtone — to rule them all? Warner Bros. is working on a new game for smart devices based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

Via Twitter, WB Games and internet services company NetEase Inc. announced The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War, an officially licensed go-anywhere strategy game that's set in the Third Age of Middle-earth.

"[T]his latest title will recreate the fictional world of Arda in a visually stunning and completely faithful rendition," said NetEase in a release, "with iconic characters and locations from the original [book] trilogy."

Judging by the art style in WB Games' tweet, Rise to War appears to be hewing closely to the high fantasy look of Peter Jackson's iconic film trilogy — though we'll have to wait for a proper trailer to see what we're really in for. We'll keep the eye of Sauron wide open on the lookout for more news, including a release date.