Neuromancer cyberpunk art shies from the neon

Posted by CB Droege

GFM Films recently posted the first piece of concept art for its proposed Neuromancer adaptation.

GFM Films has been developing the film with writer-director Vincenzo Natali. We picked up some rumors last week about the progress on the film, but had no confirmation until now they were indeed moving forward with their plans.

The art, released by way of GFM's website, is by Amro Attia, who has worked with Natali on previous projects.

As noted by Bleeding Cool, Attila had posted this piece on his blog months ago, without confirming it was for the Neuromancer project, so the artist has likely been involved in the development process for a while. The image was posted at the time along with many others, yet only two seem like they are connected to the Neuromancer project:

In addition to the concept art, GFM confirmed that casting has already begun.

Marc Walberg was reportedly been offered the role of the protagonist, Henry, who had his ability to jack into the global computer network damaged by a mobster after a deal gone bad. Meanwhile, Liam Neeson has apparently been offered the part of Armitage, the mysterious G-man who offers Henry an uplink in exchange for his services - a part Neeson would be perfect for. The third lead role, the romantic lead, hasn't been offered to anyone yet, but that's likely waiting on who plays the protagonist.

Neither actor has commented publicly on the offers yet, and nothing has been officially announced or green lit, so it could all just be Natali sending out feelers for what kind of interest there might be in this film from the talent side. If this is the beginning of the casting process, however, I would expect filming to start after Natali is finished with post-production on his current project, Hunter, which should be wrapping up near the end of the year. Of course, it still has to line up a studio before anything else can go forward.

Released in 1984, William Gibson's Neuromancer was a genre defining work which established the concept of cyberpunk. This genre typically consists of dangerous computer-based adventures, often with grey themes, typically set in a near-future dystopia.

Despite numerous attempts, Neuromancer has never been adapted into its own film before, but the novel has obviously inspired many other movies. Without the inspiration of Neuromancer, we likely would not have The Net, Hackers, Jonny Mnemonic, End of Days, The Matrix, Inception, for example.

Unfortunately, this is what makes a film version of the story so difficult to do now. It's one of those odd situations where the story would seem derivative to a modern audience, even though it technically came first, just because they'll be able to so clearly see all relevant elements from other films.

The synopsis for the film is thus:

Case is a low level hustler living out his last days on the streets of the future Tokyo underground. A talented thief who would break into high security computer systems by directly linking his brain into them, he is discovered and injected with a poison which renders him unable to interface into cyberspace. Unable to work, Case embarks on a self-destructive path of drug addiction and double dealings, waiting for a local crime lord to collect on money and time that doesn`t exist.

Enter a shady businessman named Armitage who offers him the impossible: the chance to repair his neural damage and regain the life he once had. There is a catch though. Armitage has implanted timer activated poisons in Case’s body that he can react if Case doesn’t carry out what he asks. Placed under the protection of Molly, a professional killer who frees him by executing the crime lord, Case is put on a mystery assignment that begins a journey out of the gutters of future Tokyo and into an ever-expanding world of multinational intrigue.

So, here's to hoping Neuromancer gets off the ground, and that Natali finds a way to make the classic story fresh and interesting for a modern audience.