With Drew Goddard signing on to direct “The Sinister Six” for Sony, the “Cabin in the Woods” filmmaker has pulled out of “The Martian,” a sci-fi movie set up at 20th Century Fox that Matt Damon is being eyed to star in, multiple individuals familiar with the project told TheWrap.
A representative for 20th Century Fox had no comment.
With Goddard focused on “Sinister Six” and Netflix's “Daredevil” series, Fox was unwilling to wait for his schedule to clear, according to insiders who insist that the studio remains excited about the project and wants to move quickly to find a new director who its top choice Damon would be willing to work with.
While Damon is not officially attached to the project at this time, he recently worked with producer Simon Kinberg on “Elysium,” and his involvement will likely depend on the new director.
Based on the e-book by Andy Weir, “The Martian” follows an astronaut who becomes stranded on Mars and must figure out how to survive long enough to return to Earth.
The project has been described as a cross between “Apollo 13” and “Cast Away,” and insiders say it is quite different from Alfonso Cuaron's “Gravity,” which found Sandra Bullock stranded in space.
The piece mentions that Damon will now have a hand in finding Goddard's replacement, and knowing his history, it's likely to be a big name. Maybe Damon's old friend Gus Van Sant returns to the mainstream? Maybe Terry Gilliam plays nice with the studios and gives it a shot? Maybe he can coax Steven Soderbergh out of retirement! All wishful thinking aside, Damon has long juggled the idea of transitioning into directing himself, why not give it a shot here? He would barely have to work with any actors, and he'd command respect from a crew for being one of Hollywood's true nice guys (seriously, speaking candidly, Damon is a damned prince in person). Crazier things have happened.
Executive produced by James Cameron, Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Weintraub, as well as climate expert Daniel Abbasi and Emmy-winning former "60 Minutes" producers Joel Bach and David Gelber, the series contains nine one-hour episodes.
Abassi talked about the choice to use celebrities as correspondents instead of the scientists themselves: "Obviously, Governor Schwarzenegger has been an extraordinary leader, but Harrison Ford is on the board of Conservation International [and] does a phenomenal story for us on deforestation in Indonesia. So this is a global story. Matt Damon has co-founded a group called Water.org, and you all probably know it, is an incredibly smart individual. David and I talked about the fact that he could be a great correspondent on '60 Minutes' if he had chosen to be a journalist. Don Cheadle is a UN environmental ambassador. So we chose people that already have this passion for the issue, and then we gave them an opportunity to do something that most of them hadn’t done before, which was go into the field as correspondents. But they relate... they relate to people. They’re charismatic."