Francis Lawrence, the talented director of Constantine and I Am Legend, has signed up to direct an adaptation of Alan Weisman’s non-fiction novel The World Without Us, to be adapted by Mark Protosevich.
The book concerns itself with ideas about what would happen to the planet should we suddenly cease to exist. First Showing reports the plan behind the project is for the script to take the scientific facts involved in the book and build those into a story about the events which lead on to the disappearance of the human race.
Lawrence has certainly got little ability to elevate screenplays or end movies, but he has a skilled hand with visuals and could make something quite good should he be schooled in how to take screenplays which don’t quite work and deal with those issues to deliver films which are wholly, rather than half, good. That could prove particularly tough given that Protosevich wrote that horrible ending to I Am Legend, relying entirely on the immeasurable charm of Will Smith to prevent people from leaving the movie.
This certainly hits upon some hot-button issues around environmentalism and humanity’s impact on the planet earth, but it sounds as though much of that will be eschewed to make a pre-apocalyptic tale with, I’ve got to imagine, a bleak ending. Although, seemingly, the book is more concerned with getting its audience to understand the value of humanity in keeping the world ticking over.