Schuehly to remake sci-fi classic

Producer Thomas Schuehly (“Alexander”) has acquired the remake rights to Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” and is partnering with Mario Kassar on an updated version of the 1927 silent sci-fi classic.

The Munich-based Schuehly and Kassar are currently in negotiations with a number of top directors to helm the pic, with a final decision expected in the next few months.

Schuehly obtained the rights to the film from Vienna-based publishing group Sessler Verlag.

One of the most groundbreaking films in cinematic history, the influence of “Metropolis” is evident in classic works that have spanned the 20th century, from James Whale’s “Frankenstein,” “Dr. Strangelove” and “2001” to “Blade Runner,” “Gattaca” and “The Matrix.”

“With the overwhelming role technology plays in our daily lives, the growing gap between rich and poor, including the gradual elimination of the middle class, the story of ‘Metropolis’ is a frightening reflection of our society that takes place in an all too possible not too distant future,” said Schuehly.

Considered one of the most expensive films of its time, pic is set in 2026 in a massive city-state characterized by its monumental skyscrapers and art-deco architecture.

The film, which is listed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Org’s World Register as part of Germany’s documentary heritage, depicts the class struggle between the wealthy society of planners and thinkers, who live in luxury high above the Earth, and the workers, who live underground, toiling to sustain the lives of the privileged.

Schuehly, has also produced such films as “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” and “The Name of the Rose,” as well as Oliver Stone’s “Alexander.”

Schuehly’s production won’t be the first remake of a German expressionist classic. In 1979, Werner Herzog created a modern classic with his adaptation of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 vampire film “Nosferatu.”

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more