John Scalzi's epic novel Old Man's War heading to the big screen

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012

John Scalzi's epic science fiction novel Old Man's War is coming to the big screen, and has a big name attached to direct it.

Deadline reports that Paramount Pictures has bought the rights to Old Man's War, the first in a four-book series by Scalzi, and has attached Wolfgang Petersen as the director. Petersen's last film, 2006's Poseidon, didn't exactly rock anyone's boat, but the man's previous credits include both blockbusters and solid action thrillers like Troy, The Perfect Storm, Air Force One, In The Line of Fire and the classic World War II German submarine drama that put him on the map, Das Boot.

In other words, Petersen knows how to make big movies, and Paramount is looking to turn Old Man's War into a large, tentpole-type project. The novel follows a widowed 75-year-old man who agrees to trade in his old body for a younger model with enhanced physical strength and psychic abilities. The catch is that he must join a military coalition assigned to protect human colonists in deep space. After he is injured in battle, however, he meets another enhanced soldier who may be the younger version of his late wife—and who has no memories of her previous life.

The book was nominated for science fiction's highest honor, the Hugo Award, while author Scalzi has won two Hugos for other works, as well as the 2005 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He also served as a consultant to Stargate: Universe.

Scalzi himself commented on the news at his blog, saying he's excited about the team behind the film and adding, "The movie that is eventually made of Old Man's War will be an adaptation of the book—not the book itself. The filmmakers are going to have to make changes and alterations and cuts and additions and so on and so forth, because that's what they do when they make movies ... this is part of the reason why I chose to be picky about who I optioned the work to: Because I wanted filmmakers I felt could best adapt what I wrote so that it would work on the big screen. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do."

Screenwriter David Self (The Wolfman) has been hired to write the script, and it will be a while before production gets underway. But it's always great to see a real science fiction novel make its way to the big screen, especially from a writer like Scalzi, who's held in such high regard in the field.

Have you read Old Man's War? Do you think Petersen will make a great movie, or do you dread Hollywood getting its hands on this?

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