Danger, Will Robinson: Gary Oldman is in final talks to star as the persnickety Dr. Smith in the film version of the hit 1960s TV skein “Lost in Space” for New Line Cinema, the studio confirmed Tuesday.
Oldman is the first of the ensemble cast firmed under helmer Stephen Hopkins (“The Ghost and the Darkness”), who will be working from a script by Akiva Goldsman (“A Time to Kill,” “Batman and Robin”). Tim Robbins and Kenneth Branagh had also shown interest in the part.
Oldman will receive $4 million for the role. He also inked for a sequel at a higher rate if New Line makes one. New Line exec VP of production Richard Saperstein, who brought the project into the studio, said the company considers the show a franchise property that could easily merit a sequel.
New Line is planning on a $65 million budget for the high-tech special effects extravaganza. The 1965-68 CBS series is a cult favorite about a futuristic family who wander in their spacecraft from planet to planet trying to get back to Earth. Smith is a doctor inadvertently trapped in the craft before it takes off.
“Gary is the perfect Dr. Smith,” said Saperstein. “Now our challenge is to identify a cast that complements his talents and brings further integrity to the project.”
Oldman couldn’t be reached for comment, but his manager said he was eager to segue from the darker roles he’s inhabited to more family entertainment.
“He wants to do something that his seven-year-old son can see,” said manager Douglas Urbanski. “He’s always wanted to pop up in something that is a high-camp family film.”
Mace Neufeld and Robert Rehme are exec producing the pic. Mark Koch, chairman of Prelude Pictures, will produce with Goldsman and Hopkins.
Oldman’s most recent credits include the upcoming “Air Force One” opposite Harrison Ford and “The Fifth Element” with Bruce Willis. He also has his first film as a director, “Nil By Mouth,” due out soon from Columbia Pictures.
Other pics he has starred in are “JFK,” “Murder in the First,” “The Professional,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” “Immortal Beloved,” “The Scarlet Letter,” “Romeo Is Bleeding,” “Basquiat,” “True Romance” and “Sid and Nancy,” his screen debut.
His deal was brokered by CAA reps Rick Nicita and Josh Lieberman.