Bad news for cybers, punks, or any combination of the two: Cube and Splice director Vincenzo Natali has dropped out of the long-anticipated film adaptation of William Gibson’s Neuromancer. The news comes shortly after an announcement from GFM Films, the company that owns the rights to Gibson’s gritty tale of razorgirls and console cowboys, that it had secured a deal with China’s C2M Media Group to help finance the project.
Natali was attached to write and direct Neuromancer way back in 2010, and announced in 2013 that the movie’s script, complete with input from Gibson, was complete. Given that the C2M deal specifically cites “script development” as one of the areas of partnership, and that GFM Films is now apparently in talks with new writers as well as new directors for the film, it’s probably safe to assume that that Gibson-blessed screenplay left the project with Natali.
Studios have struggled to bring Neuromancer into theaters ever since the novel was published more than 30 years ago, and the addition of new cash to the project is certainly welcome news. But the loss of Natali, after five years of work on the film, is an undeniable setback. It’s enough to put a pessimistic Gibson fan in mind of the novel’s opening line, and its grim description of a sky “the color of a television, tuned to a dead channel.” (In this case, because the movie that was supposed to be on it doesn’t have a script or director any more.)