The project is being set up a Universal Cable Productions, but don’t expect it any time soon; the article says it could be two or three years away (which would give Esmail time finish a four-to-five-season plan for Mr Robot). The rumoured budget is a whopping $10 million per episode, though there are no details which cable or streaming service the miniseries might end up on.
Apparently there is already a “writers’ room” albeit a very small one (two or three writers), and for now they’re not scripting, just figuring out ways the film might be adapted.
The original film, recognised as a masterpiece of German expressionism, has had a major influence on the history of sci-fi cinema, with echoes of its future cityscapes and central robot, the False Maria, still being felt in the visuals of science fiction films and TV series today. To be honest, it’s more famous for it images – including dystopian visions of dehumanised workers slaving away like mere cogs on massive machines – than its rather messy storyline, in which the evil dictator in charge of the city creates a robot double of a political agitator to try to crush worker rebellions; it’s a plan that backfires massively. It’ll be interesting to see how the miniseries makes the story relevant in an age when any old cheap sci-fi show can knock up a half-decent sci-fi city thanks to CGI.
The crucial thing about any Metropolis remake is that the city has to be the star. So let’s hope that small writers’ room is concentrating on making the place the most fully realised, living and breathing, visually groundbreaking sci-fi cityscape since Blade Runner.