High-brow, adult sci-fi has a champion, and his name is Denis Villeneuve. Hot off Arrival, Blade Runner 2049, and Dune, with Dune Part 2 already in the pipe, he is also now in the big chair to make a film adaption of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Rendezvous With Rama. The Hollywood Reporter has broken the news.

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This has been in development hell for over 20 years. David Fincher was attached for years, and the project was set up at Revelations Entertainment. That is Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary’s production company. Now Alcon Entertainment is in the driving seat to push this forward. Their movies include The Blind Side, The Book Of Eli, and Dolphins Tale. They also worked with Villeneuve on Prisoners and Blade Runner 2049.

Rendezvous With Rama was written in the 1970s, it is set in the 2130s.

After an asteroid falls in Northeast Italy in 2077, creating a major disaster, the government of Earth sets up the Spaceguard system as an early warning of arrivals from deep space.

The “Rama” of the title is an alien starship, initially mistaken for an asteroid categorized as “31/439”. It is detected by astronomers in the year 2131 while it is still outside the orbit of Jupiter. Its speed (100,000 km/h – 62,137 m/h) and the angle of its trajectory clearly indicate it is not on a long orbit around the sun but is an interstellar object.

The astronomers’ interest is further piqued when they realize the asteroid has an extremely rapid rotation period of four minutes and is exceptionally large. It is named Rama after the Hindu god, and an unmanned space probe dubbed Sita is launched from the Mars moon Phobos to intercept and photograph it. The resulting images reveal that Rama is a perfect cylinder, 20 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter and 50 kilometers (31 miles) long, and almost completely featureless, making this humankind’s first encounter with an alien spacecraft.

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A group of human explorers is dispatched to intercept the ship and attempt to gain access. This is potentially humanity’s first contact with an alien species.

McCreery, Freeman, Broderick Johnson, and Andrew Kosove will produce.

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