Three years before he released Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton dropped what some—okay, me—think was his best novel: Sphere. The story of scientists sent to examine a mysterious spacecraft found at the bottom of the ocean, Sphere offers gnarly pulp, philosophical musings, and a compelling ensemble of beautiful dorks. It was previously adapted by Barry Levinson in 1998, but, despite an A-list cast that included Dustin Hoffman and Samuel L. Jackson, it never quite congealed. Now, the team behind Westworld is giving it another crack.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan are turning Sphere into an HBO series with Denise Thé, a Westworld writer who will serve as the series’ showrunner. Team Downey, the company behind HBO’s gritty take on Perry Mason, will also produce.
Westworld, lest we forget, is a radical reinvention of Critchton’s 1973 film, and, while we appreciate their desire to bring the late author’s work to a modern audience, we’re crossing our fingers that they don’t veer too far from the page on this one. Westworld, as we’ve chronicled in our reviews, has consistently failed to marry its big ideas with its characters and storytelling, and it’d be a shame to see Sphere’s tight narrative get lost in too much sprawl. (Some sprawl, obviously, is encouraged, especially if they give us a cool-looking giant squid.)