Marvel's "Iron Man" had better watch his back, as director Darren Aronofsky is set to re-team with his "Black Swan" screenwriter Mark Heyman for Mandalay Pictures' pop thriller "Machine Man," the company announced on Tuesday.
Based on an upcoming book by Max Barry, the story follows a gadget geek and engineer at a forward-thinking tech firm who tires of going through life as an average, unnoticed individual. Obsessed with his own self improvement, he decides to systematically replace his weak fleshy parts with high-end titanium performance upgrades of his own design, though he's not the only one with plans for his superior new body.
Does this sound familiar to anyone else ... Robert Downey Jr., perhaps? And besides, wasn't Aronofsky supposed to direct another movie about a character with metal parts -- 20th Century Fox's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2," not to mention a now-abandoned remake of "Robocop?"
I don't want to underestimate a brilliant filmmaker like Aronofsky, because I'm all for him tackling new themes and genres, but I do worry about where his career is headed following the back-to-back successes of "The Wrestler" and "Black Swan." It just seems like Hollywood is trying to make him something he's not, though I guess we won't really know until he gives big-budget filmmaking a serious shot, right?
Mandalay acquired the film rights to Barry's partial manuscript last November and will work with Aronofsky and Heyman to develop the latter's adapted screenplay for the big screen. Interestingly enough, Barry's book is currently being published one page per day as an online serial, though Vintage Books will release the completed novel in the spring.
Mandalay's Cathy Schulman will produce, while Barry will exec produce. Mandalay's Adam Stone will oversee the project for the company.
The Peter Guber-led company currently has the hitman drama "Salvation Blvd." in post-production and Martin Scorsese's "Sinatra" in active development at Universal.
Aronofsky and Heyman previously collaborated on "The Wrestler." They are represented by CAA.