Five Directors Who Should Make a Sci-Fi Movie

So, back at the beginning of the month, there was a comment by Shoggoth_King on one of Paul’s posts that suggested we write up a list of directors who haven’t made a science fiction movie yet, but totally should. I kicked myself for not thinking of it first, and then convinced Paul to let me.

Surprisingly (or not), a lot of my favorites have already done work in the genre before, especially when you count early movies (David Fincher, Alien3) or movies that are technically science fiction (Joe Wright, Hanna). I may have fudged the line once or twice with these guys, but not by much.

Michael Mann

The genius behind Heat, Collateral, and my favorite movie ever The Insider.

Mann’s movies are cool incarnate. He’s known for his iconic shootouts, but his eye can be equally excellent for action, character, and locale. The scenery in a Mann movie becomes an integral part of the story — if he went into space or onto a different planet, better be damn sure you’d feel like you’d been there too. If he could do for a futuristic city, spaceship, or alien world what he’s done for Miami and Los Angeles, we’d be looking at one of the coolest movies of all time.

Why wouldn’t he?
Recently, Mann has been moving towards an ultra-realistic style of filmmaking. He rarely, if ever, uses CG enhancements or elaborate sets, preferring to capture everything on location and in camera. For obvious reasons, science fiction would require him taking a new path, at least from a production standpoint.

If he did, what would it be like?
A less philosophical, more masculine Blade Runner.

The Coen Brothers

Like I have to tell you. They won oscars for No Country for Old Men and Fargo, and eternal internet glory for The Big Lebowski.

One of the hallmarks of the Coen brothers movies is their dialogue. They tend to find a unique, often quirky dialect for their characters and spend the whole movie in half-parody, half-tribute of it. Can you imagine how much fun it would be to listen to them write a movie full of science-fiction jargon?

Why wouldn’t they?
The Coens tend to center their movies around relatively obscure, unimportant characters — not typical sci-fi fare. Also, the only movie they’ve made recently that has any sort of slick contemporary feel was Burn After Reading; they usually make period pieces (No Country, O Brother) or very small-scale endeavors (The Big Lebowski, Fargo). Sci-Fi would be a substantially different from their usual material.

If they did, what would it be like?
I’m thinking something like Fargo crossed with I, Robot. Which, and I can’t stress this enough, sounds hilarious.

George Clooney

Well, the actor. But he’s also directed three excellent movies: Good Night and Good Luck, Leatherheads, and The Ides of March.

Clooney’s movies have all been relatively low-key affairs, but he’s a very smart filmmaker. He tackles subjects with cultural relevance, and takes a fairly balanced (or at least fair) viewpoint when fiddling with hot-button issues. He’d be great at taking on a more agenda-centric science fiction story, as he could embrace whatever issue it was tackling and make it relevant, without coming across as preachy.

Why wouldn’t he?
Clooney’s material, limited as it is, seems to look backwards a lot. He likes to take pivotal moments in history and pick them apart, gleaning lessons that can be applied to today’s world. Sci-Fi would require him to work in the other direction: identifying an issue and then crafting a fictional scenario in which he could take a look at it.

If he did, what would it be like?
A very contemporary-feeling Brave New World.

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  1. Pingback: 5 Directors
  2. George Clooney also directed the incredible Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

    Let’s put Sam Rockwell back in space and put George Clooney with him.

  3. If you haven’t seen Refn’s “Bronson,” you absolutely must. You will be converted. He’s the first name I thought of for this list.

  4. Including Refn would be kind of silly, because isn’t his current project remaking Logan’s Run? You’ll get his sci-fi film soon enough.

    I’d like to see an Edgar Wright or Anton Corbijn (The American) sci-fi film.

  5. Isn’t Michael Mann’s 1983 film “The Keep” sort of sci-fi?

    Mel Gibson had wanted to direct Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” for many years with the plan of casting Tom Cruise in the lead.

    I’d definitely add PT Anderson to my sci-fi wish list, along with Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese. Quentin Tarantino, Sam Mendes, Antoine Fuqua, Paul Greengrass, James Gray and Andrew Dominik.

    I’ll say Terrence Malick too, because I don’t think there’s anything fiction about the science in the metaphysical “Tree Of Life”.

  6. Lars Von Trier. I just want to see some god damn beautiful Sci Fi. There’s no reason a sci fi movie cannot look like an art house film. It would be the most beautiful thing to happen to sci fi since Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

  7. Mel Gibson could do an adaption of Snow Crash! It has the whole dead language and ancient civilization thing to it while being completely cyberpunk

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