Asimov’s Foundation moves into pre-production

Dante Harper, an untested but popular film adaptation writer, has been hired to pen Sony’s upcoming adaptation of the first novel of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.

With the announcement of Caves of Steel last week, that makes two Asimov films currently in pre-production development.

The seven books known as the Foundation novels cover the story of The Foundation, a secret organization which has tasked itself with the far future history of mankind in the Asimov story universe.

In the past (still our distant future) Harri Seldon, a mathematician, developed a new Science called Psychohistory, the core feature of which is that with a human population at critical mass (the human population of the time is in the hundreds of trillions) math can be used to predict the upcoming future of the civilization.

The Foundation safeguards Harri Seldon’s predictions, and uses them to influence society at very specific, sensitive points, to help ensure the continued civilization.

The first book, Foundation is about the early days of the organization. Starting from Seldon’s treason trial (his science predicts the downfall of the Empire), and following the challenges of the first few generations of the guardians of Psychohistory.

How much of that vast story will be covered by the film is unknown. There is easily enough story in the Foundation novels to fill four trilogies, if it proves successful.

Foundation is being directed by Roland Emmerich who announced last year that the film would be 3D and contains lots of CGI elements.

Harper has been getting a lot of attention as an adaptation writer recently, though none of his big budget adaptations have yet been released, so his abilities have yet to be truly seen. He’s written a Timothy McVeigh biopic called Dreamland, which is in production, and his film, All You Need is Kill, an adaptation of a bestselling Japanese novel, is on its way soon. Harper’s also been tapped to write an action adaptation of Hansel & Gretel and Black Hole.

It’s quite odd to see a writer given so many projects before determining if the first big script is a hit, so someone somewhere must have a huge amount of confidence in the new screenwriter.

No production or release dates have yet been announced for Caves of Steel or Foundation.