EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter John Orloff Talks Bryan Singer's 'Battlestar Galactica'

Friday, 21 October 2011 12:53 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter John Orloff Talks Bryan Singer's 'Battlestar Galactica'

Yesterday, news broke that Universal Pictures has hired screenwriter John Orloff to write the script for a rebooted Battlestar Galactica feature film directed by Bryan SingerGlen Larson created the original Battlestar in 1978, as part of an unstoppable tide of spacefaring adventures that followed the phenomenal success of Star Wars, and though the series lasted only one season, followed by a brief revival as Galactica 1980, it managed to hold onto a certain nerd cachet over the decades.  In 2003, Ronald Moore oversaw a new Battlestar Galactica on the Sci-Fi Channel, and the result was a four-season masterpiece of modern long-form storytelling.  The combination of space-based action, intelligent social commentary, and philosophical rumination won may passionate fans who are now wondering just what Singer and Orloff's approach to the material will set it apart.

Orloff wrote and executive produced next weekend's Anonymous, an historical film from 2012 and Independence Day director Roland Emmerich that dramatizes a theory asserting that William Shakespeare was not, in fact, the author of the plays attributed to him.  IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick conducted an exclusive interview with John Orloff regarding Anonymous, and while the full interview will be available soon, Orloff also shared some thoughts on this new Battlestar Galactica.

The screenwriter worked very closely with Emmerich in creating the script for their Shakespearean drama, and Singer frequently works closely with writers in constructing his film's stories, as was the case on X2 and Superman Returns, on which he earned "Story By" credits.  Orloff is about to begin working in concert with Singer, just as he did with Emmerich, saying, "Yes, they work very similarly. So that process is about to start."

An immediate question that arises regarding this new iteration of the television franchise is just what it's relationship to both the original and newer series will be.  Is it a continuation of one or the other?  A reboot that takes the core elements and rearranges them in a new context?  A prequel or some form of spin-off?

For his part, Orloff is dutifully keeping a lid on the exact nature of the project.  "I’m not going to tell you," he said.  "My lips are sealed. I’m a huge fan of both series. When I was a kid I loved the original, as an adult I love Ron Moore’s. I can’t wait to be a part of that universe and get my head all into it and hopefully make a really kick ass cool Battlestar movie."

Singer, who is currently in post-production on the 3D fantasy action film Jack the Giant Killer, has been actively attempting to make a Battlestar Galactica film for the better part of a decade.  Before the new Sci-Fi series got running in 2003, Singer was developing a theatrical version that was then waylaid by the show and his other feature commitments.  The director's blockbuster resume displays an affinity for superheroics, but Singer is actually an avowed science fiction fan, and has wanted to create a large-scale science fiction film set on a space colony since his earliest dreams of making movies.

For years, Singer was developing a remake of Logan's Run for Warner Bros, and according to screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, the story was set not in bubble-city on Earth, but in a colony on a ginormous centrifuge in space.  Speaking on the Creative Screenwriting Podcast, he described it as, "A massive, massive movie in a colony in outer space that was a low budget Cold War spy-movie.  It was like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold."

Given certain thematic similarities to Battlestar, there was some thought from fans that Singer's Battlestar Galactica might incorporate elements of that abandoned take on Logan's Run, but John Orloff quickly and simply dispelled any such notions.  "It’s completely separate.," he explained.  "I haven’t read that project and I know nothing about it."

So there you have it.  Stay tuned for Jami's complete interview with John Orloff regarding Anonymous, which opens in limited release on October 28th.

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