Helmer Proyas back to sci-fi

Director to begin 'I, Robot' in Oz

SYDNEY — Alex Proyas is preparing a return to sci-fi after wrapping the ensemble rock band drama “Garage Days” — a pic that took the producer-director back to his musicvid roots.

He’ll next helm “I, Robot,” a sci-fier based on Isaac Asimov’s classic and adapted by Jeff Vintar, but he’s mum on details despite penciling in a booking at Fox Studios Australia.

He says “I, Robot” is poised to roll as a negative pickup for Fox, if it’s viable. “Things have been a little fluid at the studios anyway, as much as I’d love to shoot it in Sydney there are other possibilities.”

“I, Robot” marks Proyas’ return to big-budget fare, after New Line’s lavish “Dark City” (1998) and his 1994 breakthrough with fantasy thriller “The Crow,” distributed by Miramax/Dimension for almost $100 million worldwide gross, plus abundant ancillaries.

In contrast, “Garage Days” is an A$14 million ($7 million) film about an aspiring garage band. Helmer, who co-wrote with Dave Warner and Michael Udesky, drew on his experiences at the fringes of the rock industry. As musicvid director for Crowded House (“Don’t Dream It’s Over”) and others, he road the coattails of the Oz music push into the U.S. in the late 1980s. The U.S. pics followed.

Shot on location in Sydney, “Garage Days” features an all-Aussie ensemble led by Kick Gurry, Pia Miranda and Maya Stange. It was financed by Fox Searchlight and government coin agency the Film Finance Corp.

Proyas is also slated to direct Jesse Alexander script “Berserkers” for New Line.

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