Warner Bros. has set screenwriter Fernley Phillips to write a remake of “Altered States,” the 1980 Ken Russell-directed psychedelic sci-fi thriller. Greg Shapiro will produce.
The original film starred William Hurt as a psychophysiologist who uses a sensory deprivation tank to put his mind back into more primitive states of human evolution, with catastrophic results.
Shapiro said he and Phillips came up with a way to alter the original pic that prompted WB brass to dust if off for a redo, with exec Polly Cohen shepherding.
For the original, Paddy Chayefsky (“Network”) adapted the film from his own novel, but the three-time Oscar winning scribe so clashed with the director’s vision that he removed his name and replaced it with the pseudonym Sidney Aaron (his first and middle names).
‘Looks to the future’
“The original is a cult film where people loved the idea but can’t totally digest the film,” Shapiro said. “Fernley has a keen sense of psychological horror, and this is a time-tested gothic horror concept where an experiment goes awry. But where the original film explored human consciousness in relationship to the origins of man, this version will look to the future and the evolution of consciousness and its various levels.”
WB production prexy Jeff Robinov signed Phillips to a blind script deal.
Phillips scripted the New Line thriller “The Number 23,” a script that is out to directors. Phillips also wrote the thriller “Turn” for Radar and Paramount, with Marcus Nispel set to direct.
Shapiro just produced the Danny Leiner-directed “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.”