Deadline is reporting

"Fox has acquired film rights to The Dark Side, the Anthony O’Neill novel that created buzz at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Garrett Basch & Steve Zaillian’s Film Rites will produce. The novel is in the spirit of Philip K. Dick’s style, or Avatar or Blade Runner. It’s an elevated sci-fi noir story set in a future where the moon is used as a penal colony. It houses criminals, psychopaths and curious tourists alike. When an anarchic android begins wreaking havoc on the area and bodies start turning up, an exiled detective arrives to investigate. The novel was just acquired by Simon & Schuster worldwide for publication in the spring."

The description is reminiscent of 2012's sci-fi action film Lockout, starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace. In Lockout, Pearce is a prisoner who has to rescue the president's daughter (*groan*) from a penal colony that orbits earth, housing the worst kinds of criminals. The Alcatraz of the future, if you will. Lockout had the opportunity to be campy good, but Rotten Tomatoes' review summed it up quite well: "Lockout is ultimately too derivative and shallow to build on the many sci-fi thrillers it borrows from." It ended up earning a whopping 38% from critics and 46% from audiences.


Pearce and Grace in Lockout 

ForTDS, there's arguably more potential. O'Neill impressed critics at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the rights to publish the book were acquired by Simon & Schuster, one of the four largest publishers in the United States. The rights for the film were snapped up by Fox Studios, one of the six largest studios in the US. That could lead one to believe there's some genuinely good material there, between the decisions of those two companies. To be fair, however, Fox was also the studio that brought Space Chimps and Dragonball: Evolution to fruition.

With the combination of lunar penal colonies, androids, murder, anti-heroes and the general sci-fi geekery, this film could be an interesting one to keep on your watchlist. Fox (or another interested party) has already gotten the ball rolling by adding the title onto IMDB-pro. Let's just hope that Basch and Zaillian steer clear of any writers involved in Lockout... 


on November 4, 2014