Steven Spielberg Says Goodbye to ‘Robopocalypse’… For Now

Robopocalypse No More

The idea of the world’s biggest director tackling a film that would feature man vs robot action on a large scale was an exciting one to be sure, but some things just aren’t meant to be apparently. Get ready to taste some conspicuously salty robot tears.

Steven Spielberg knows his way around a science fiction film, and no one would argue that he lacks action chops too, but according to the man himself (in a recent 60 Minutes interview) action films no longer appeal to him. That lack of interest may be at least part of the reason why Spielberg has announced that he’s stepping away from what was expected to be his next directorial effort… an adaptation of Daniel H. Wilson‘s bestselling novel, “Robopocalypse.”

Per THR, Dreamworks is moving the film to the back burner so that further script work can be completed. Spielberg’s spokesperson, Marvin Levy, broke the news stating the film is “too important and the script is not ready, and it’s too expensive to produce.” A script for the film does already exist from Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, Cabin In the Woods), but apparently Dreamworks and their partners (Fox, Disney) are hoping to lower the expected production budget before moving forward again.

Robopocalypse was originally set to be Spielberg’s follow-up to War Horse, and informal casting had already begun with both Anne Hathaway and Chris Hemsworth theoretically attached. The director shifted gears when the project stalled and instead turned to a film he’s been trying to get made for far longer. Lincoln had been on and off the back burners for over a decade before finally getting made last year, so Spielberg pressing pause on his robot apocalypse movie doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t direct it someday… but, well, he’s not going to direct it.

He’ll exec-produce it obviously once it’s ready to roll, but I’m guessing the directorial reigns are permanently removed from his hands. It’s unclear at this point what his next project will be instead, but as long as it isn’t another Indiana Jones adventure I’ll be happy. Maybe he can gently push Peter Jackson aside and direct another Tintin film, or better yet, I’d love to see him finally direct a mini-series adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub’s The Talisman.

If Spielberg doesn’t direct Robopocalypse, which he won’t… who will? And who should? Goddard, Duncan Jones, Josh Trank, Rian Johnson, J. J. Abrams, Neill Blomkamp, Guillermo del Toro, Dan Trachtenberg, etc?

Rob is the Chief Film Critic of Film School Rejects. He doesn't eat cheese on weekdays.

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