Sony Dates Two Marvel Projects in 2020

Sony Pictures has planted flags for two Marvel projects in 2020, the company announced Wednesday.

The first film is an “Untitled Sony/Marvel” dated  7/10/20 and the second film which is “Untitled Sony/Marvel Sequel” is dated for 10/02/20.

The first project is most likely “Morbius” which will star Oscar winner Jared Leto and Daniel Espinosa will direct, based on the Marvel comic. Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach will produce with Lucas Foster. Palak Patel will oversee for the studio. Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless wrote the script.

Also Read: Jared Leto to Star as ‘Morbius,’ Daniel Espinosa Set to Direct

The Morbius character was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane and first appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man” issue no. 101 in 1971. In the comics, Michael Morbius is a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who is transformed into a vampire while attempting to cure a rare blood disease with a highly experimental approach involving electroshock therapy… and vampire bats.

As a “pseudo-vampire,” Morbius does not possess all the powers of an actual vampire, and isn’t subject to all the traditional limitations and weaknesses thereof, according to Marvel lore.

Morbius almost made it to the big screen before. In 2000, when Avi Arad was president and CEO of Marvel Studios, the company entered into an agreement with Artisan Entertainment to turn at least 15 Marvel superhero franchises into live-action films, television series, direct-to-video films or internet projects. Morbius would have been among the franchises.

The second project is most likely a sequel to the hit “Venom” which has grossed $779 million worldwide at the box office.

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Sony Pictures has planted flags for two Marvel projects in 2020, the company announced Wednesday.

The first film is an “Untitled Sony/Marvel” dated  7/10/20 and the second film which is “Untitled Sony/Marvel Sequel” is dated for 10/02/20.

The first project is most likely “Morbius” which will star Oscar winner Jared Leto and Daniel Espinosa will direct, based on the Marvel comic. Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach will produce with Lucas Foster. Palak Patel will oversee for the studio. Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless wrote the script.

The Morbius character was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane and first appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man” issue no. 101 in 1971. In the comics, Michael Morbius is a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who is transformed into a vampire while attempting to cure a rare blood disease with a highly experimental approach involving electroshock therapy… and vampire bats.

As a “pseudo-vampire,” Morbius does not possess all the powers of an actual vampire, and isn’t subject to all the traditional limitations and weaknesses thereof, according to Marvel lore.

Morbius almost made it to the big screen before. In 2000, when Avi Arad was president and CEO of Marvel Studios, the company entered into an agreement with Artisan Entertainment to turn at least 15 Marvel superhero franchises into live-action films, television series, direct-to-video films or internet projects. Morbius would have been among the franchises.

The second project is most likely a sequel to the hit “Venom” which has grossed $779 million worldwide at the box office.

Related stories from TheWrap:

All 35 Stan Lee Marvel Movie Cameos Ranked, Including 'Venom' (Photos)

'Venom' Scores Sony Record $111 Million Opening in China

'Venom' Stomps Past $500 Million at Worldwide Box Office

Jared Leto to Star as ‘Morbius,’ Daniel Espinosa Set to Direct

Oscar winner Jared Leto will star and Daniel Espinosa will direct “Morbius,” based on the Marvel comic, an individual with knowledge of the project tells TheWrap.

Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach will produce with Lucas Foster. Palak Patel will oversee for the studio.

Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless wrote the script.

Also Read: ‘Morbius’: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless in Talks to Write Sony-Marvel Vampire Movie

Morbius was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane and first appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man” issue no. 101 in 1971. In the comics, Michael Morbius is a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who is transformed into a vampire while attempting to cure a rare blood disease with an highly experimental approach involving electroshock therapy… and vampire bats.

Oh, and Spider-Man had six arms at the time. It was temporary.

As a “pseudo-vampire,” Morbius does not possess all the powers of an actual vampire, and isn’t subject to all the traditional limitations and weaknesses thereof, according to Marvel lore.

Also Read: ‘Silk’: Sony Developing Project About Marvel Comic Korean-American Heroine

He must digest blood to survive and has a strong aversion to light, like most vampires. But he also has the ability to fly, and superhuman strength, speed, and healing abilities. His bite tends to be lethal, but his victims do not necessarily become vampires themselves.

Morbius almost made it to the big screen before. In 2000, when Avi Arad was president and CEO of Marvel Studios, the company entered into an agreement with Artisan Entertainment to turn at least 15 Marvel superhero franchises into live-action films, television series, direct-to-video films or internet projects. Morbius would have been among the franchises.

Sazama’s and Sharpless recent credits include “Gods of Egypt,” “The Last Witch Hunter,” and “Dracula Untold.”

Sazama’s and Sharpless are represented by ICM Partners and SMGS law firm.

Espinosa repped by WME, Magnolia Entertainment and Warren Dern.

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Oscar winner Jared Leto will star and Daniel Espinosa will direct “Morbius,” based on the Marvel comic, an individual with knowledge of the project tells TheWrap.

Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach will produce with Lucas Foster. Palak Patel will oversee for the studio.

Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless wrote the script.

Morbius was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane and first appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man” issue no. 101 in 1971. In the comics, Michael Morbius is a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who is transformed into a vampire while attempting to cure a rare blood disease with an highly experimental approach involving electroshock therapy… and vampire bats.

Oh, and Spider-Man had six arms at the time. It was temporary.

As a “pseudo-vampire,” Morbius does not possess all the powers of an actual vampire, and isn’t subject to all the traditional limitations and weaknesses thereof, according to Marvel lore.

He must digest blood to survive and has a strong aversion to light, like most vampires. But he also has the ability to fly, and superhuman strength, speed, and healing abilities. His bite tends to be lethal, but his victims do not necessarily become vampires themselves.

Morbius almost made it to the big screen before. In 2000, when Avi Arad was president and CEO of Marvel Studios, the company entered into an agreement with Artisan Entertainment to turn at least 15 Marvel superhero franchises into live-action films, television series, direct-to-video films or internet projects. Morbius would have been among the franchises.

Sazama’s and Sharpless recent credits include “Gods of Egypt,” “The Last Witch Hunter,” and “Dracula Untold.”

Sazama’s and Sharpless are represented by ICM Partners and SMGS law firm.

Espinosa repped by WME, Magnolia Entertainment and Warren Dern.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Tom Holland Just Revealed Title for Next 'Spider-Man' Movie

'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Trailer: Miles Morales Comes to Grips With His Powers

'Spider-Man: Homecoming 2': Here's What You Need to Know About Mysterio, Spidey's Next Villain

Jared Leto, Daniel Espinosa Team For Sony’s ‘Morbius’ Spider-Man Spinoff

BREAKING: Jared Leto and director Daniel Espinosa are being set by Sony for Morbius, a Spider-Man Universe spinoff based on the Marvel Comics antihero Morbius the Living Vampire. Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama, creators of Netflix’s Lost in Space…

BREAKING: Jared Leto and director Daniel Espinosa are being set by Sony for Morbius, a Spider-Man Universe spinoff based on the Marvel Comics antihero Morbius the Living Vampire. Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama, creators of Netflix’s Lost in Space, wrote the script. Leto, who played the iconic character The Joker in DC’s Suicide Squad and has been mentioned for a bunch of potential Joker-centric spinoffs, here will play Dr. Michael Morbius, a biochemist who in an attempt…

Jared Leto to Star in ‘Spider-Man’ Spinoff ‘Morbius’ From Director Daniel Espinosa

Spider-Man’s web just got wider. Sony has tapped Jared Leto to star in the spinoff “Morbius,” based on the Spidey villain of the same name. Sources also tell Variety that “Safe House” director Daniel Espinosa will helm the…

Spider-Man’s web just got wider. Sony has tapped Jared Leto to star in the spinoff “Morbius,” based on the Spidey villain of the same name. Sources also tell Variety that “Safe House” director Daniel Espinosa will helm the movie. Leto has been loosely attached to the project for some time, but wouldn’t fully commit until […]

Sony Enlists Director Daniel Espinosa, George Clooney’s Smokehouse For ‘Red Platoon’

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has set Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa to direct an adaptation of the Clinton Romesha book Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor. George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures has come aboard the film as producer. Sony optioned the book last year. Suicide Squad 2‘s Adam Cozad wrote the script, and Josh Bratman is also producing.
Medal of Honor winner Romesha was part of Red Platoon and the Black Knight Troop which in 2009…

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has set Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa to direct an adaptation of the Clinton Romesha book Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor. George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures has come aboard the film as producer. Sony optioned the book last year. Suicide Squad 2‘s Adam Cozad wrote the script, and Josh Bratman is also producing. Medal of Honor winner Romesha was part of Red Platoon and the Black Knight Troop which in 2009…

‘Power Rangers’ Morphs to $3.6 Million at Thursday Box Office

“Power Rangers” earned $3.6 million at the Thursday previews, with the Mighty Morphins on track for a $35 million weekend.

Heading into the weekend, independent trackers predicted the film will make $35 million in its 3,693 screen opening, while Lionsgate’s predictions were a tad lower, at $30 million to $33 million.

Back in 2014, the live-action reboot of another classic kids TV show, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” had a preview gross of $4.6 million and went on to earn $65 million its opening weekend. Last summer’s “TMNT” sequel “Out of the Shadows” grossed $2 million at the Thursday box office for a $30 million opening weekend.

Also Read: ‘Power Rangers’: A Spoiler-Filled Recap of the Post-Credit Scene

The big question this weekend will be whether the teen superheroes even have a chance to dethrone “Beauty and the Beast,” which opened last weekend to a record-setting $174.8 million. Even if the live-action remake starring Emma Watson drops 50 percent from its opening total, “Power Rangers” would still not come anywhere near the monster that is “Beauty and the Beast.”

“Power Rangers” was produced for $105 million and retells the story of the TV show’s first season back in 1993, with five teens from Angel Grove being summoned by the mysterious Zordon (Bryan Cranston) to become the Power Rangers and take on his former ally-turned-villain, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). Dean Israelite directed the film from a screenplay by John Gatins, with “Power Rangers” creator Haim Saban producing with Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen and Brian Casentini. The film has received mixed reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, with current scoring at 44 percent.

Other new releases include Warner Bros.’ “CHIPS,” a comedy based on the hit ’70s TV series of the same name. It stars Dax Shepard and Michael Pena as a pair of California Highway Patrol officers tasked with bringing down a sadistic ex-cop (Vincent D’Onofrio). The film grossed $500,000 at the Thursday preshows.

Also Read: ‘CHIPS’ Is Latest Studio Bro Comedy Crawling With Homophobic ‘Gay Panic’ Jokes

Heading into the weekend, projections placed the film at around $10 million to $11 million. Shepard directed, wrote and produced the film for $25 million. Its reviews accumulate to 27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

And finally, Columbia Pictures is opening the sci-fi horror flick “Life,” starring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, which earned $800,000 from 2,627  locations on Thursday.

Director Daniel Espinosa’s movie received mostly positive reviews from critics who saw it at SXSW, but it’s estimated by trackers to only open to between $12 million and $17 million against a $58 million budget. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a score of 62 percent.

Rebecca Ferguson also stars in the film about astronauts on a Mars exploration team that finds itself in terrible danger when the alien specimen they recovered turns hostile and threatens to kill them all on their voyage back to Earth.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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“Power Rangers” earned $3.6 million at the Thursday previews, with the Mighty Morphins on track for a $35 million weekend.

Heading into the weekend, independent trackers predicted the film will make $35 million in its 3,693 screen opening, while Lionsgate’s predictions were a tad lower, at $30 million to $33 million.

Back in 2014, the live-action reboot of another classic kids TV show, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” had a preview gross of $4.6 million and went on to earn $65 million its opening weekend. Last summer’s “TMNT” sequel “Out of the Shadows” grossed $2 million at the Thursday box office for a $30 million opening weekend.

The big question this weekend will be whether the teen superheroes even have a chance to dethrone “Beauty and the Beast,” which opened last weekend to a record-setting $174.8 million. Even if the live-action remake starring Emma Watson drops 50 percent from its opening total, “Power Rangers” would still not come anywhere near the monster that is “Beauty and the Beast.”

“Power Rangers” was produced for $105 million and retells the story of the TV show’s first season back in 1993, with five teens from Angel Grove being summoned by the mysterious Zordon (Bryan Cranston) to become the Power Rangers and take on his former ally-turned-villain, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). Dean Israelite directed the film from a screenplay by John Gatins, with “Power Rangers” creator Haim Saban producing with Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen and Brian Casentini. The film has received mixed reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, with current scoring at 44 percent.

Other new releases include Warner Bros.’ “CHIPS,” a comedy based on the hit ’70s TV series of the same name. It stars Dax Shepard and Michael Pena as a pair of California Highway Patrol officers tasked with bringing down a sadistic ex-cop (Vincent D’Onofrio). The film grossed $500,000 at the Thursday preshows.

Heading into the weekend, projections placed the film at around $10 million to $11 million. Shepard directed, wrote and produced the film for $25 million. Its reviews accumulate to 27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

And finally, Columbia Pictures is opening the sci-fi horror flick “Life,” starring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, which earned $800,000 from 2,627  locations on Thursday.

Director Daniel Espinosa’s movie received mostly positive reviews from critics who saw it at SXSW, but it’s estimated by trackers to only open to between $12 million and $17 million against a $58 million budget. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a score of 62 percent.

Rebecca Ferguson also stars in the film about astronauts on a Mars exploration team that finds itself in terrible danger when the alien specimen they recovered turns hostile and threatens to kill them all on their voyage back to Earth.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Why Krispy Kreme Is All Over 'Power Rangers'

'Power Rangers' Will Open in Malaysia Despite LGBT Protagonist

Can 'Power Rangers' Slay Disney's 'Beast' at the Box Office?

‘Life’ Review: Jake Gyllenhaal & Ryan Reynolds Fight Creepy Alien In Killer Space Adventure

Life falls smack into the sci-fi alien genre of movies, so it is my prediction that every single review of it will somehow lead to comparisons in particular with Ridley Scott’s Alien — especially since that sci-fi classic owns this piece of the cinematic pie with numerous sequels and yet another (Alien: Covenant) coming from the man himself in May. And with the more cerebral Arrival having just tackled the alien-vs.-humans theme all the way to a Best Picture Oscar…

Life falls smack into the sci-fi alien genre of movies, so it is my prediction that every single review of it will somehow lead to comparisons in particular with Ridley Scott’s Alien — especially since that sci-fi classic owns this piece of the cinematic pie with numerous sequels and yet another (Alien: Covenant) coming from the man himself in May. And with the more cerebral Arrival having just tackled the alien-vs.-humans theme all the way to a Best Picture Oscar…

Jake Gyllenhaal to Reteam With ‘Life’ Director on ‘The Anarchists vs ISIS’

Jake Gyllenhaal will reteam with “Life” director Daniel Espinosa on an indie “The Anarchists vs ISIS,” an adaptation of a Rolling Stone story about American volunteers who fought alongside Kurdish militia members in Syria.

Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker’s Ninestories production shingle have joined with Bold Films to option Seth Harp’s Rolling Stone article, with Espinosa set to direct and produce under his newly formed BOZI banner.

Bold Films’ Chairman Michel Litvak will also produce and CEO Gary Michael Walters will executive produce. Gyllenhaal is expected to star.

The fact-based story will follow a group of American volunteers, socialists and outcasts who join forces with the Kurdish militia known as the YPG to fight ISIS in Syria and establish an anarchist collective amid the rubble of war.

Also Read: ‘Life’ Review: Jake Gyllenhaal Battles Space Monster (and Familiarity)

Marker said in a statement: “Jake and I are thrilled to partner with Daniel Espinosa on Seth Harp’s daring story. Thematically, we’re often attracted to material about the search for identity, especially in a world where it’s become easier to feel less and less connected.  Seth’s story is about people who abandon everything that’s familiar as a means to connect in the most brutal of circumstances.”

Bold Films’ Chairman Michel Litvak added, “In a very short time under the leadership of Jake and Riva, Ninestories has become an incredibly exciting production company. Their vision for fresh and provocative material coupled with brilliant filmmakers like Daniel Espinosa aligns perfectly with Bold’s mandate.”

The deal was negotiated by Bloom Hergott on behalf of Ninestories and Gyllenhaal, by WME on behalf of Ninestories, Gyllenhaal and Espinosa and by UTA on behalf of Alex Jacobs at Elyse Cheney Associates for Seth Harp.  Espinosa is repped by WME and Shelley Browning of Magnolia Entertainment.

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‘Life’ Review: Jake Gyllenhaal Battles Space Monster (and Familiarity)

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‘Sunday in the Park With George’ Broadway Review: Jake Gyllenhaal Paints as Well as Sings

Jake Gyllenhaal will reteam with “Life” director Daniel Espinosa on an indie “The Anarchists vs ISIS,” an adaptation of a Rolling Stone story about American volunteers who fought alongside Kurdish militia members in Syria.

Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker’s Ninestories production shingle have joined with Bold Films to option Seth Harp’s Rolling Stone article, with Espinosa set to direct and produce under his newly formed BOZI banner.

Bold Films’ Chairman Michel Litvak will also produce and CEO Gary Michael Walters will executive produce. Gyllenhaal is expected to star.

The fact-based story will follow a group of American volunteers, socialists and outcasts who join forces with the Kurdish militia known as the YPG to fight ISIS in Syria and establish an anarchist collective amid the rubble of war.

Marker said in a statement: “Jake and I are thrilled to partner with Daniel Espinosa on Seth Harp’s daring story. Thematically, we’re often attracted to material about the search for identity, especially in a world where it’s become easier to feel less and less connected.  Seth’s story is about people who abandon everything that’s familiar as a means to connect in the most brutal of circumstances.”

Bold Films’ Chairman Michel Litvak added, “In a very short time under the leadership of Jake and Riva, Ninestories has become an incredibly exciting production company. Their vision for fresh and provocative material coupled with brilliant filmmakers like Daniel Espinosa aligns perfectly with Bold’s mandate.”

The deal was negotiated by Bloom Hergott on behalf of Ninestories and Gyllenhaal, by WME on behalf of Ninestories, Gyllenhaal and Espinosa and by UTA on behalf of Alex Jacobs at Elyse Cheney Associates for Seth Harp.  Espinosa is repped by WME and Shelley Browning of Magnolia Entertainment.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Life' Review: Jake Gyllenhaal Battles Space Monster (and Familiarity)

The Evolution of Jake Gyllenhaal: From 'Bubble Boy' to 'Life' (Photos)

'Sunday in the Park With George' Broadway Review: Jake Gyllenhaal Paints as Well as Sings

Jake Gyllenhaal & Daniel Espinosa Reteaming For ‘The Anarchists Vs. ISIS’

Daniel Espinosa is getting back in business with his Life star Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhall and Riva Marker’s Ninestories and Bold Films have optioned rights to Seth Harp’s Rolling Stone article “The Anarchists Vs ISIS” to adapt into a movie. Gyllenhall is expected to star.
Harp’s article published last month tells the true story of a ragtag team of American volunteers, socialists and outcasts who are fighting alongside the Kurdish militia known as the YPG to beat ISIS in…

Daniel Espinosa is getting back in business with his Life star Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhall and Riva Marker’s Ninestories and Bold Films have optioned rights to Seth Harp's Rolling Stone article "The Anarchists Vs ISIS" to adapt into a movie. Gyllenhall is expected to star. Harp’s article published last month tells the true story of a ragtag team of American volunteers, socialists and outcasts who are fighting alongside the Kurdish militia known as the YPG to beat ISIS in…

‘Life’ Review: Jake Gyllenhaal Battles Space Monster (and Familiarity)

They’re still making “Alien” movies, so if you’re going to create a horror film about people trapped in outer space with a monster, you had better bring something new to the table. And while “Life” doesn’t entirely escape comparison — in space, there’s still no one who can hear you scream — it provides enough chills and tension to stand on its own.

Take the space-station setting which, along with advanced wire-hiding technology, allows director Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House”) to double down on the portrayal of weightlessness, and “Life” exploits this opportunity at every corner for drama (one of the crew members is wheelchair-bound on Earth but unfettered at zero g’s), tension (chase scenes involve people propelling themselves with their hands), and horror (victims get to bleed out in every direction).

At its base, this is a story you’ve heard before: The international scientists in a laboratory far above the stratosphere are thrilled to receive a sampling of Martian soil that contains what appears to be life. British doctor Hugh (Ariyon Bakare, “Rogue One”) finds himself fascinated by the unicellular blob (named “Calvin” in a contest among schoolchildren) that grows and mutates before their eyes, while the Centers for Disease Control’s Miranda (Rebecca Ferguson) finds her enthusiasm tempered by her insistence on strict firewalls and protocols.

See Video: Watch Aliens Shut Ryan Reynolds’ Mouth in ‘Life’ Trailer

Her persnickitiness winds up being valuable, since Calvin very soon grows into something truly terrifying, a floating squid-lizard-flower creature that swims through the weightless air, squeezes into the vents, moves in and out of the space station at will — and starts devouring the hapless humans one by one, as they attempt both to stay alive and to prevent Calvin from ever reaching Earth.

The first 20 pages or so of the screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“Deadpool”) provide a torrent of techno-jargon that establishes the close quarters of the space station and the scientific work therein. It would have improved “Life” immeasurably if they had also worked in a few lines of dialogue to fill out their characters more.

Also Read: Can ‘Power Rangers’ Slay Disney’s ‘Beast’ at the Box Office?

Apart from Jake Gyllenhaal’s PTSD-suffering physician (he’s spent more than a year in space but is still in no hurry to touch ground), we don’t get much of a sense of who these crew members are before they become Calvin’s lunch. It’s a testament to the cast members (which also include Ryan Reynolds, Olga Dihovichnaya and Hiroyuki Sanada) that they make this much of an impression with such flimsy material.

When it comes to creating tension, however, “Life” fires on all cylinders — cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (“Nocturnal Animals”) makes great use of the claustrophobia-inducing interiors, and editors Mary Jo Markey (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) and Frances Parker (“Game of Thrones”) never rely on cheap jump scares, instead tightening the vise of suspense with subtlety and effectiveness. (And the writers, to their credit, don’t bump off the cast in the order you might necessarily expect.)

See Photos: 6 Mind-Bending ‘Donnie Darko’ Facts on Film’s 15th Anniversary

The sound design of Calvin — he’s silent, but slithery — adds to the creepiness, but there’s a mid-story showdown involving an open airlock that gets too noisy and chaotic, with Jon Ekstrand’s classically inspired score suddenly working itself into too much of a froth.

“Life” never reaches greatness, but it’s solidly good, from its earned scares to a spot-on ending. (Don’t let anyone ruin it for you.) The film’s tight spaces and layered audio will work best on the big screen; see it with someone whose wrist you can grab.

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‘Sunday in the Park With George’ Broadway Review: Jake Gyllenhaal Paints as Well as Sings

They’re still making “Alien” movies, so if you’re going to create a horror film about people trapped in outer space with a monster, you had better bring something new to the table. And while “Life” doesn’t entirely escape comparison — in space, there’s still no one who can hear you scream — it provides enough chills and tension to stand on its own.

Take the space-station setting which, along with advanced wire-hiding technology, allows director Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House”) to double down on the portrayal of weightlessness, and “Life” exploits this opportunity at every corner for drama (one of the crew members is wheelchair-bound on Earth but unfettered at zero g’s), tension (chase scenes involve people propelling themselves with their hands), and horror (victims get to bleed out in every direction).

At its base, this is a story you’ve heard before: The international scientists in a laboratory far above the stratosphere are thrilled to receive a sampling of Martian soil that contains what appears to be life. British doctor Hugh (Ariyon Bakare, “Rogue One”) finds himself fascinated by the unicellular blob (named “Calvin” in a contest among schoolchildren) that grows and mutates before their eyes, while the Centers for Disease Control’s Miranda (Rebecca Ferguson) finds her enthusiasm tempered by her insistence on strict firewalls and protocols.

Her persnickitiness winds up being valuable, since Calvin very soon grows into something truly terrifying, a floating squid-lizard-flower creature that swims through the weightless air, squeezes into the vents, moves in and out of the space station at will — and starts devouring the hapless humans one by one, as they attempt both to stay alive and to prevent Calvin from ever reaching Earth.

The first 20 pages or so of the screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“Deadpool”) provide a torrent of techno-jargon that establishes the close quarters of the space station and the scientific work therein. It would have improved “Life” immeasurably if they had also worked in a few lines of dialogue to fill out their characters more.

Apart from Jake Gyllenhaal’s PTSD-suffering physician (he’s spent more than a year in space but is still in no hurry to touch ground), we don’t get much of a sense of who these crew members are before they become Calvin’s lunch. It’s a testament to the cast members (which also include Ryan Reynolds, Olga Dihovichnaya and Hiroyuki Sanada) that they make this much of an impression with such flimsy material.

When it comes to creating tension, however, “Life” fires on all cylinders — cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (“Nocturnal Animals”) makes great use of the claustrophobia-inducing interiors, and editors Mary Jo Markey (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) and Frances Parker (“Game of Thrones”) never rely on cheap jump scares, instead tightening the vise of suspense with subtlety and effectiveness. (And the writers, to their credit, don’t bump off the cast in the order you might necessarily expect.)

The sound design of Calvin — he’s silent, but slithery — adds to the creepiness, but there’s a mid-story showdown involving an open airlock that gets too noisy and chaotic, with Jon Ekstrand’s classically inspired score suddenly working itself into too much of a froth.

“Life” never reaches greatness, but it’s solidly good, from its earned scares to a spot-on ending. (Don’t let anyone ruin it for you.) The film’s tight spaces and layered audio will work best on the big screen; see it with someone whose wrist you can grab.

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‘Life’ Isn’t An ‘Alien’ Ripoff, But Jake Gyllenhaal and Director Daniel Espinosa Don’t Mind The Comparisons

The latest sci-fi thriller features a monster going mad on a space station, but it exists in its own orbit.

Credit “Life” director Daniel Espinosa with courage. The Swedish filmmaker has made a horror-in-space feature starring Jake Gyllenhaal, a film that centers around a vicious alien that slowly picks off spacecraft crew members, and he doesn’t even wait for the question about comparisons to Ridley Scott’s seminal “Alien.” He jumps right into it.

“For me, one of the great references, the great movies, the movie that is an obvious comparison, [which has that] great, great, glorious breakfast scene which everybody aspires to is ‘Alien,'” he said.

Rather than scary set pieces, it’s the smaller stuff that gets him, he said, the parts that rely more on character development and connection. That’s what excited him about the genre, not the actual alien at its heart.

“I think that most directors have a kind of secret ambition of sci-fi,” Espinosa said. “Even great glorious artists, Tarkovsky, Kubrick, Scott, went into this genre, and modern heroes like Cuaron and Nolan. There’s something with the sci-fi genre that attracts us directors: You’re doing something in a confinement of a genre, but in that confinement you’re allowed to pursue characters.”

A Journey Inward

His leading man cared even less about genre. For Gyllenhaal, it was all about fear.

“I read this script and I was terrified,” he said. “Daniel had a take on it that I really loved. It was much more psychological, and really about a journey inward as a opposed to sort of a journey outward.”

READ MORE: ‘Life’ Review: ‘Alien’ Meets ‘Gravity’ In Daniel Espinosa’s Derivative Sci-Fi Survival Story

Written by “Deadpool” scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, “Life” follows a group of astronauts and scientists on the International Space Station. The crew is reasonably content until they pick up a probe that includes Mars soil samples. When they isolate a single living cell, they inadvertently jump-start the evolution of a terrifying new species, one bent on taking out everyone on the ship.

Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson) in Columbia Pictures' LIFE.

“Life”

Alex Bailey

The director’s focus on character tapped into the explorations that Gyllenhaal likes, which are also the sort of thing that ratchet the film’s tension. Gyllenhaal’s character, Dr. David Jordan, goes through his own evolutions over the course of the film, mostly foisted upon him by the once-tiny alien creature he comes to know as “Calvin.”

Espinosa’s vision for the film was about “how we all each related to this creature in our own individual ways, and how that saved us or destroyed us,” Gyllenhaal said. “That, to me, is what makes me want to do a movie.”

Espinosa’s most recent film was “Child 44” (a Lionsgate flop); before that, he directed Universal’s $200-million grossing “Safe House,” which is where he first worked with Gyllenhaal’s co-star, Ryan Reynolds. That resume might not make him the most obvious pick for a big studio film about aliens run amok (“I come from social realism in Europe,” Espinosa said, chuckling), but the filmmaker saw something familiar in Reese and Wernick’s script.

“I thought it would be interesting to do a sci-fi movie that was not like ‘Alien,’ which took place in a very, very far-off future in a sort of dystopian neo-punk world,” Espinosa said. “This is not the sci-fi movie in the realms of the impossible. This is something that could happen tomorrow.”

“This Is Something That Could Happen Tomorrow”

Setting the film on the present-day ISS roots it in a reality that’s closer to “Gravity” than the “Alien” franchise. And while the discovery of Calvin is unnerving, it’s not impossible.

“Portraying it in the most realistic way possible is what makes it scary,” Gyllenhaal said. “They are moving toward finding life; they did just find essentially frozen water on Mars. All of those factors make it much different than your idea of science fiction.”

He added, “It’s happening at the International Space Station, not some sort of made-up space station in the future that people don’t know about. All of it is real.”

Even what Calvin becomes is grounded in science. To create the look and feel of the ever-evolving alien, Espinosa turned first to geneticist Adam Rutherford (“I gave him the rule set of what created Calvin, then I put him in a room and I locked the door and he was not allowed to come out”), and then to the graffiti artist Ziggy, whose dark aesthetic Espinosa found compelling.

“I thought, if I can meet Ziggy with the science of Adam, I would come up with something that is not just truthful, but also interesting and of course, scary as fuck,” Espinosa said. “And that’s what we did.”

Espinosa was also compelled by Calvin’s character arc, one that gives the Martian antagonist its own path to travel.

“When we encounter Calvin in the beginning, he’s not maleficent,” Espinosa said. “I think that in the other sci-fi movies, the unknown is always a threat. In my movie, the unknown is created somewhat by us. It’s not a question of what unknown does to us, but what do we do to the unknown.”

Initially imagined as a single cell, Calvin starts growing – and changing – with the introduction of various stimuli, from glucose injections to human interaction.

David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Columbia Pictures' LIFE.

“Life”

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

“Calvin takes impressions from his surroundings,” the filmmaker said. “The first scene, he encounters a hand, that’s why he has five limbs. There are all these clues of the adaptability of Calvin that, of course, you don’t see the first time and that’s fine.”

Survival of the Fittest

Gyllenhaal is slightly more philosophical about Calvin, and was eager to explore the alien’s psychological wounds in ways that most sci-fi features don’t.

“I loved that how we relate to it, is how it relates to us,” Gyllenhaal said. “I mean, imagine what it would feel like to be taken from your home, put into a strange space station in a box, and then poked, prodded, and electrocuted, like how would you try to survive?”

Gyllenhaal’s character – a long-time ISS resident who is not eager to go back to Earth – eventually forms the most lasting bond with Calvin as the film hurdles towards its terrifying final moments.

“That’s what Daniel and I talked about early on, maybe I wasn’t as frightened as was really curious,” Gyllenhaal said. “Perhaps my sense of observation would lead me to where I eventually end up, which is sort of strangely connected to it as opposed to against it or fighting it.”

READ MORE: Jake Gyllenhaal Has Some Thoughts About the Latest Movie Musical Resurgence: ‘You Can’t Fake It’

But could that fight extend past a single film? Unlike the ever-expanding “Alien” franchise (which will debut its latest installment on May 19, theprequel “Alien: Covenant”), “Life” might be a standalone feature. Although Wernick and Reese have said they’re open to spending more time in the “Life” universe, there’s no plans yet.

“It’s never been an interest of mine, necessarily,” Gyllenhaal said when asked about franchises. “I’m not one to be like, ‘Well, if they did something interesting I wouldn’t want to be involved,’ but no.”

As for internet rumors that Sony intends the film to be a backdoor “Spider-Man” sequel, one organized around alien monster Venom? Gyllenhaal laughed. “So much weird shit, people,” the actor said. “That would be smarter than any of us are.”

Espinosa is more pointed.

“I would not make a sequel,” the filmmaker said. “For the rest of my career. Every time you do something good, people want to do sequels. That’s just the nature of the business. It’s like I’ve walked down the path once, and then why do it again?”

And wouldn’t that be original?

“Life” lands in theaters on Friday, March 24.

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SXSW Film Review: ‘Life’

Why is it that practically every time sci-fi characters discover evidence of extraterrestrial life, they are just as swiftly confronted with creative new ways to die? As “we are not alone” scenarios go, “Life” is no exception, although it’s unusually intelligent for so much of its running time — picture white-knuckle “Alien” hijinks grounded by… Read more »

Why is it that practically every time sci-fi characters discover evidence of extraterrestrial life, they are just as swiftly confronted with creative new ways to die? As “we are not alone” scenarios go, “Life” is no exception, although it’s unusually intelligent for so much of its running time — picture white-knuckle “Alien” hijinks grounded by... Read more »

‘Life’ Director Daniel Espinosa, Treading On Ridley Scott Terrain, Waterboarding Denzel, Ryan Reynolds’ Growth – Q&A

Daniel Espinosa, the Chilean-born Sweden-based director who broke in with Easy Money and followed with Safe House, takes his first outer space movie, Life, to SXSW. The thriller, which gets its premiere tomorrow in Austin, is set in a space station filled with scientists assigned to receive soil samples from Mars to see if there are any signs of intelligent life. We are so far from movies like E.T. and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind that it isn’t spoiling the film to…

Daniel Espinosa, the Chilean-born Sweden-based director who broke in with Easy Money and followed with Safe House, takes his first outer space movie, Life, to SXSW. The thriller, which gets its premiere tomorrow in Austin, is set in a space station filled with scientists assigned to receive soil samples from Mars to see if there are any signs of intelligent life. We are so far from movies like E.T. and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind that it isn’t spoiling the film to…

Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal Alien Thriller ‘Life’ to Close SXSW Film Festival

“Life,” an alien thriller starring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, will close out this year’s SXSW Film Festival.

The Columbia-Skydance film from director Daniel Espinosa will have its world premiere on the Austin, Texas festival campus on Sat. March 18.

“Our audiences will love this taut space thriller’s twists and turns as well as its amazing cast,”  festival director Janet Peirson said in a statement.

Also Read: James Franco’s ‘The Disaster Artist’ Heads to SXSW, Midnight Lineup Announced

“Life” follows a team of scientists on the International Space Station whose mission of discovery uncovers a rapidly evolving alien life form — one that caused extinction on Mars — and now threatens the crew and everyone back on earth.

“The people that flock to Austin each year are some of the most engaged and passionate fans of film out there and are the perfect audience to introduce our visceral sci-fi thriller. I hope that, with Life, we find new ways to entertain them, terrify them, and thrill them,” Espinosa said.

Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare and Olga Dihovichnay costar. “Deadpool” screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick wrote the script, produced by David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Bonnie Curtis, and Julie Lynn.

Also Read: Fox Film Chief Stacey Snider Says Current Theatrical Windows Are ‘Anachronistic’

Columbia parent Sony Pictures has had luck in Texas before, last year alone debuting Fede Alvaerz’s “Don’t Breathe” and Seth Rogen’s “Sausage Party” at SXSW. “Life” opens wide on March 24, 2017.

Check out the full film headliner and narrative spotlight here — and SXSW’s annual midnight section here.

Related stories from TheWrap:

James Franco’s ‘The Disaster Artist’ Heads to SXSW, Midnight Lineup Announced

SXSW Film Lineup: Brie Larson, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Kravitz Projects Head to Texas

Terrence Malick’s ‘Song to Song’ to Open 2017 SXSW Film Festival

“Life,” an alien thriller starring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, will close out this year’s SXSW Film Festival.

The Columbia-Skydance film from director Daniel Espinosa will have its world premiere on the Austin, Texas festival campus on Sat. March 18.

“Our audiences will love this taut space thriller’s twists and turns as well as its amazing cast,”  festival director Janet Peirson said in a statement.

“Life” follows a team of scientists on the International Space Station whose mission of discovery uncovers a rapidly evolving alien life form — one that caused extinction on Mars — and now threatens the crew and everyone back on earth.

“The people that flock to Austin each year are some of the most engaged and passionate fans of film out there and are the perfect audience to introduce our visceral sci-fi thriller. I hope that, with Life, we find new ways to entertain them, terrify them, and thrill them,” Espinosa said.

Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare and Olga Dihovichnay costar. “Deadpool” screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick wrote the script, produced by David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Bonnie Curtis, and Julie Lynn.

Columbia parent Sony Pictures has had luck in Texas before, last year alone debuting Fede Alvaerz’s “Don’t Breathe” and Seth Rogen’s “Sausage Party” at SXSW. “Life” opens wide on March 24, 2017.

Check out the full film headliner and narrative spotlight here — and SXSW’s annual midnight section here.

Related stories from TheWrap:

James Franco's 'The Disaster Artist' Heads to SXSW, Midnight Lineup Announced

SXSW Film Lineup: Brie Larson, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Kravitz Projects Head to Texas

Terrence Malick's 'Song to Song' to Open 2017 SXSW Film Festival

Watch Aliens Shut Ryan Reynolds’ Mouth in ‘Life’ Trailer (Video)

Columbia Pictures and Skydance’s “Life” follows a group of astronauts on the International Space Station whose optimism in finding a form of life on Mars is decidedly not rewarded.

In the full-length trailer released today — one day after the studio unveiled its 30-second Super Bowl spot — the happy spacefaring crew retrieves a craft from Mars and discovers a rapidly multiplying cellular organism on board. The crew reacts with wonder and even humor — until the alien literally grabs hold and sends the group scrambling to save themselves. As it turns out, the rapidly evolving lifeform caused Mars to go extinct and now, having breached their spacecraft, threatens the crew and the entirety of life on earth.

“Life” stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare and Olga Dihovichnaya. Daniel Espinosa directed the movie, which was written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and produced by David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn. Don Granger and Vicki Dee Rock are executive producers.

Also Read: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Attacked by an Alien in ‘Life’ Super Bowl Teaser (Video)

The film comes out March 24.

Reynolds picked up a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy this year for his work in “Deadpool,” which was one of 2016’s biggest surprise hits. He last appeared in “Nocturnal Animals.” Ferguson’s most recent role was in “The Girl on the Train.”

Watch the trailer above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Attacked by an Alien in ‘Life’ Super Bowl Teaser (Video)

Tom Cruise, Jake Gyllenhaal on DC’s ‘Green Lantern Corps’ Shortlist (Exclusive)

Jake Gyllenhaal to Sing on Broadway in ‘Sunday in the Park With George’

Columbia Pictures and Skydance’s “Life” follows a group of astronauts on the International Space Station whose optimism in finding a form of life on Mars is decidedly not rewarded.

In the full-length trailer released today — one day after the studio unveiled its 30-second Super Bowl spot — the happy spacefaring crew retrieves a craft from Mars and discovers a rapidly multiplying cellular organism on board. The crew reacts with wonder and even humor — until the alien literally grabs hold and sends the group scrambling to save themselves. As it turns out, the rapidly evolving lifeform caused Mars to go extinct and now, having breached their spacecraft, threatens the crew and the entirety of life on earth.

“Life” stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare and Olga Dihovichnaya. Daniel Espinosa directed the movie, which was written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and produced by David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn. Don Granger and Vicki Dee Rock are executive producers.

The film comes out March 24.

Reynolds picked up a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy this year for his work in “Deadpool,” which was one of 2016’s biggest surprise hits. He last appeared in “Nocturnal Animals.” Ferguson’s most recent role was in “The Girl on the Train.”

Watch the trailer above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Attacked by an Alien in 'Life' Super Bowl Teaser (Video)

Tom Cruise, Jake Gyllenhaal on DC's 'Green Lantern Corps' Shortlist (Exclusive)

Jake Gyllenhaal to Sing on Broadway in 'Sunday in the Park With George'