Neuromancer Is Finally Going to Be a Movie

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I love how Variety softballs this announcement:

William Gibson’s prescient sci-fi bestseller from the ’80s, “Neuromancer,” will get the big screen treatment from vet producer-distributor Peter Hoffman, whose own Cannes exploits go back some 25 years.

Hoffman said the project is not just a good sci-fi adventure but a story full of hot topics –issues like artificial intelligence, bio-engineering and alternate theories of immortality will be dealt with dramatically. There’ll be a sort of love interest as well.

The $70 million pic is essentially being fast-tracked to replace the Paul Verhoeven project “The Winter Queen.” Latter is being pushed back until at least next spring because leading lady Milla Jovovich is pregnant.

Like Peter Hoffman — who? — is the story. Oh, and Milla Jovovich got knocked up. And then, oh, by the way, the greatest science fiction novel of the last quarter-century — quite possibly the greatest novel of the last quarter-century period — is finally going to be a movie. That’s some good sci-fi adventure! With sort of a love interest!

My little nerd heart is being rent in twain right now, because they’re handing the movie to a hack, one Joseph Kahn, whose principal credit is a biker movie starring Ice Cube. OK, fine, he also directed Britney Spears’ “Toxic” video, which is a legitimately great video, and La Spears does rock a bit of a Molly Millions vibe in it. But no fair casting her in the movie, Joe. Seriously, I should be beyond surprise at this point, but it’s still stunning to me the callousness with which Hollywood can treat the gems of geek culture. Neuromancer is the jewel in the crown of contemporary sci-fi. The Sprawl Trilogy should be SF’s answer to The Lord of the Rings movies. It needs a Peter Jackson at the bare minimum. It does not need Joey Torque.

We’ve all been through the heartbreak of Johnny Mnemonic, the only other Gibson property to make it to the screen. We’ve watched Ice-T in full man-kangaroo makeup. Haven’t we suffered enough? Back in the day the rumor was that Neuromancer would be the debut feature for Kubrick acolyte and F/X adept Chris Cunningham, whose video for Bjork’s “All Is Full of Love” is still probably my favorite video of all time. After 8+ years — the earliest credit I can find for it is 1999 — that video still looks like an artifact from the future of nerd cinema. I’ll embed it below as a memorial to what might have been: