Fox 2000 film based on Joe Haldeman novel

Fox 2000 has acquired rights to Joe Haldeman’s 1974 novel “The Forever War,” and Ridley Scott is planning to make it into his first science fiction film since he delivered back-to-back classics with “Blade Runner” and “Alien.”

Scott intended to follow those films with “The Forever War,” but rights complications delayed his plans for more than two decades.

The film will be produced by Scott Free. Vince Gerardis and Ralph Vicinanza will exec produce. Their company, Created By, reps Haldeman and spent the last decade trying to get back the rights.

“I first pursued ‘Forever War’ 25 years ago, and the book has only grown more timely and relevant since,” Scott told Daily Variety. “It’s a science-fiction epic, a bit of ‘The Odyssey’ by way of ‘Blade Runner,’ built upon a brilliant, disorienting premise.”

Book revolves around a soldier who battles an enemy in deep space for only a few months, only to return home to a planet he doesn’t recognize some 20 years later, Scott said.

“The Forever War” rights were acquired right after publication by f/x titan Richard Edlund, who spent $400,000 of his own money and intended to make the book his directorial debut. The book became an iconic sci-fi title but Edlund, who won two Oscars — including one for visual effects on “Raiders of the Lost Ark” — never got “The Forever War” off the ground. After a Sci Fi Channel miniseries stalled, Scott became interested again and Edlund was ready to make a deal. It took six months to secure all the rights.

Scott Free and Fox 2000’s Elizabeth Gabler and Rodney Ferrell will hire a writer immediately. Scott, whose “Body of Lies” was released Friday, next plans to direct “Nottingham,” starring Russell Crowe. He has several other projects percolating that include the thriller “Child 44,” for which Richard Price just penned a script, and “Gucci,” about the internecine squabbles within the fashion family that led to the murder of Maurizio Gucci. That Fox 2000 pic has a new draft by Charles Randolph.

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