Actor to star in classic sci-fi remake

Twentieth Century Fox has set Keanu Reeves to star in “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” its re-imagining of the 1951 Robert Wise-directed sci-fi classic.

Reeves committed over the weekend to play Klaatu, a humanoid alien who arrives on Earth accompanied by an indestructible, heavily armed robot and a warning to world leaders that their continued aggression will lead to annihilation by species watching from afar.

Erwin Stoff is producing, with Scott Derrickson (“The Exorcism of Emily Rose”) directing from a script by David Scarpa. Reeves’ commitment puts the picture on track for a late fall or early 2008 production start. Studio sees it as a tentpole.

The Klaatu role was originated by Michael Rennie. The 1951 film’s premise, a response to the rise of the Cold War after WWII, is being updated, and the film will use advances in visual effects.

It also returns “The Matrix” star to his strong suit in the sci-fi realm and puts him in back-to-back films for Fox. He just completed the David Ayer-directed “The Night Watchman,” for Fox Searchlight/Regency about police corruption based on a story by James Ellroy. Forest Whitaker, Chris Evans and Hugh Laurie also star.

Reeves is repped by 3 Arts and CAA.

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