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Ruairi Robinson to Direct Sci-Fi 'Last Days On Mars' Thriller with Weta

by
November 1, 2011
Source: Deadline

Mars

Remember that awesome robot short Blinky? Well the filmmaker behind it, Ruairi Robinson, has landed his first feature film project. Deadline reports on an AFM announcement for a project titled The Last Days On Mars, a sci-fi thriller being directed by Robinson from a screenplay by Clive Dawson ("The Bill"), with design talents including the team at Weta behind the special effects. Perhaps the next District 9 on the way? "I have loved making sci-fi films since I made Pitch Black and for The Last Days On Mars we have assembled a great team to do justice to a wonderful and commercial script." Quite a pitch. Details ahead!

Ruairi Robinson's The Last Days On Mars is currently in pre-production and is expected to start shooting early 2012 on location in Jordan and at Shepperton Studios in the UK. Qwerty Films' Michael Kuhn (The Duchess, I Heart Huckabees, Severance, Being John Malkovich) and Andrea Cornwell will produce the film, with Focus Features International handling international sales and distribution. So what's this about? It sounds awesome enough with Ruairi at the helm, and knowing Weta is involved with the effects makes it even better, but it's hard sci-fi, so let's get the details. Here's the plot synopsis from the press release:

As their last day on Mars draws to a close, the astronaut crew is on the verge of a major breakthrough – collected rock specimens reveal microscopic evidence of life. Meanwhile, communication is underway with AURORA, the approaching spacecraft that will relieve the crew of their operations. In their last hours on the planet, two astronauts go back to SITE 9, a cavernous valley on the surface of Mars, to collect further evidence of their discovery. But a routine excavation turns deadly when one of them falls to his death and his body taken host and re-animated by the very life form they sought to discover.

Sounds very interesting, but I hope it's something a bit more than just another ghost/alien Mars thriller. Some are comparing this to Dimension Films' Apollo 18 already, but I don't think this is found footage, it's nowhere to be mentioned, but it might have the same realism. Plus, having seen a glimpse of Robinson's style in that Blinky short, I know his cinematography will look stunning, as he's got a knack for unique visuals. Oddly, the synopsis from IMDb sheds more light on where the plot will go: "Tells the story of a group of astronaut explorers who succumb one by one to a mysterious and terrifying force." Sounds more like Mission to Mars than Apollo 18 to me, but nonetheless intriguing. And I'm glad it's not found footage.

I'm getting a District 9 feeling, just because Weta's involved and it seems like an indie production coming together with some incredible talent that will surprise us once we actually get a glimpse of it. Here's to hoping it turns out awesome! I'll definitely be keeping a close watch on this film as it heads into production, I'm a huge sci-fi guy and this sounds right up my alley. Let's see what you can do, Ruairi! Anyone else in?

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  • http://twitter.com/darktaxidermist Davide Coppola
    I really liked blinky so this is most intrigued by this for sure.
  • 5dollarfootlong
    sounds like "the thing" in space
  • Anonymous
    alex - you too? why does seemingly everyone bring up "district 9" when a new sci-fi film is coming/released???? the synopsis (while interesting) does not make me think of D9 at all. as far as this one goes - it could be good - but i'd really need more info or a trailer for a better feel on the film.
    • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
      Normally, I try not to make that comparison, but it's just how the industry works. D9 was such a huge from-nothing success, that everyone wants their projects to be like it. However, with this one specifically, I explained in the post above exactly why I feel like it has a D9 feeling. More than anything, Weta is involved (they've only done D9, Avatar, Tintin, not many other sci-fi) and it's low budget with a big concept and a emerging director behind it, I feel like this one in particular has a lot of D9 similarities.
      • Anonymous
        understood.
  • Wakecycle
    Don't forget Ruairi was nominated for an Academy Award for his short "50% Grey" back in 2002.
  • Gill
    Too bad he isn't directing Akira.
  • Desi Singh
    Loved Blinky. Ruairi is one of the most refreshing filmmaking talents to come along in a long time. I can't wait to see what he does with this script.
  • peloquin
    I went to his IMDB page and it doesn't say he had anything to do with Pitch Black so I'm wondering what he meant when he said "I have loved making sci-fi films since I made Pitch Black".  Does anyone know how he was involved in that project?
    • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
      See the comment below from Cheesus Christ: "Michael Kuhn used to run Polygram, which financed Pitch Black, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and many of the Coen Brothers movies." I wondered the same thing, such a stale and generic quote, but I'm sure he didn't even write it.
  • Ronandrovich
    eesshh you rememhber the ghosts of mars film?
  • Cheesus Christ
    Michael Kuhn used to run Polygram, which financed Pitch Black, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and many of the Coen Brothers movies. He is credited as "big cheese" on many movies, and he's pretty much the only guy that gets that credit. 
  • Davidnchar
    I hated Distric 9 aka Blair Witch project goes Alien.

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