Sam Esmail is best-known for creating, writing and directing the USA hit Mr Robot, a show fond of making cinematic references (Fight Club, Taxi Driver, A Clockwork Orange). Now he has a new project on his plate, based on one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time: Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
Brigitte Helm in Fritz Lang’s 1927 Metropolis. Image: Kino Lorber
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Esmail is in the early stages of adapting the 1927 film into a miniseries — something he’ll aim to work on once Mr Robot, which wrapped up season two earlier this year, finishes its planned four- or five-season run. So we won’t see it for at least two years, probably longer, and no network yet been named. That said, it sounds like Esmail’s Metropolis will hew pretty closely to Lang’s version (with some major echoes of Mr Robot in there, too):
Like the original film, the small-screen adaptation will take place in a future society where wealthy industrialists rule the vast city from high-rise tower complexes, while a lower class of underground-dwelling workers toil constantly to operate the machines that provide its power. Risking everything they know, two star crossed lovers from opposite sides of the divide must find a way to bring down the whole system.
THR also notes that there’ll be another key similarity. At the time of its release, Metropolis was one of the highest-budgeted films ever made; the miniseries is targeting a Westworld-ish $US10 million ($13 million) per episode. Of course, there’s no word yet on how many episodes it will contain.