While chatting to Dark City Alex Proyas about his latest film Knowing , we had the chance to ask him about his version of Tripods, which he’s currently developing. And the good news is that, unlike Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, he won’t be changing the location from the original children’s books written John Christopher.
“Absolutely it’s set in Europe,” he tells SFX. “We’re basically concentrating on the first book in the trilogy at the moment, The White Mountain, and we've kept the exact flow of geography that's in the book. Which is that basically they start off in England and then go across the channel to France. So that's all been preserved from the book.”
But will it be a children’s movie?
“Well, you know, I've never made a kids' film so I don’t really know what that is. Look, it’s not going to be R-rated that's for sure. But I wouldn't be making a light and frothy entertainment. I think there are some pretty powerful concepts and it will certainly have an adult quality to it even though the protagonists are 12 year-old children.”
He admits that at first he wasn’t convinced about making a Tripods movie because “we’re coming in the wake of Spielberg's War of the Worlds. We've seen tripods now.” But getting his head around how to make the Tripods different to Spielberg’s Martian war machines has fired his enthusiasm.
“Our Tripods are going to be very different. Their centre of gravity is going to be much lower. Spielberg’s ones were very octopus-like; tall and gangly. Ours are going to be low to the ground, more crab-like, for want of a better description. They'll be much faster. They can actually climb stuff. There’s actually a bit in the script where the kids are pursued up the Eiffel Tower by one of the Tripods, which is kinda like scrambling over the tower essentially.”
Proyas also has a Dracula "prequel" in development – charting the story of how Vlad the Impaler became the infamous vampire – but he's not sure which (if either) of the projects will get the greenlight first.
“Hollywood is going through a very odd phase at the moment. The economic times have kind of impacted on studios as well as everyone else. So it's an ongoing struggle right now. Not just for me, but I know a lot of friends who are in the process of trying to get their movies greenlit. Just trying to arrive at a budget that the studios want to spend. I don’t quite understand the way it works. People are still going to see movies, usually it’s an art form that survives bad economic times quite well because it’s a relatively cheap form of entertainment. But there still seems to be this reticence. So, it's a very long-winded way of saying that I'm not sure what my next movie is.”