Sony Pictures has reportedly acquired the rights to a comedy from Steve Conrad and Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski based around the idea of people being trapped in driverless cars during a cross-country race. The writer/director duo of Conrad and Verbinski also worked on Pyonyang, which was set to star Steve Carrell and take place in North Korea but has since been cancelled due to the Sony hacking scare late last year.
The project is still without an official title, but it is being referred to as the “Driverless Car Race” picture by the parties involved. By the sounds of it, the film will be similar to Rat Race or Cannonball Run but with a modern twist. Essentially a start-up company has the idea to develop a cross-country race event that is done entirely with driverless cars. Inside those cars will be everyday people who volunteer, eventually freak out, and try and take control of the experiment. According to Conrad, who will be penning the script, the goal of the comedy will be to flip the common premise of similar road race movies. Talking to Deadline he said:
“We want to invert the whole premise of a road trip where the promise has always been, ‘anything can happen’, and say, ‘what if anything can’t happen’? What does that do to the test subject? What are the breaking points?”
As far as a cast goes, nothing has been announced yet of course as the script rights were just recently purchased by Sony Pictures, but Verbinski expects to have the “funniest comedic actors of this generation” involved.
“Essentially, we are going to take the funniest comedic actors of this generation and slowly unleash them as we examine the very notion of ‘passengers’ who fundamentally cannot remain passive”
Driverless car technology is still a ways off, but Verbinsi feels that the technology is inevitable and humans will never be able to just sit in a car and have it shuffle them around. As such, the basis of this unnamed “Driverless Car Race,” will be based around humans trying to overcome this hurdle.
The driver-less car is coming, It’s right around the bend, and it represents an immediate and relevant opportunity to explore the classic ‘Man against Machine’ genre spliced into a large scale Automotive Rally. Stating the obvious – Things are going to get out of control.”
Verbinski’s career in Hollywood has been closely tied to Johnny Depp. The two worked together on the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Rango, and The Lone Ranger. A goofy comedy about people being locked in cars sounds right up Depp’s ally, so he’ll be an actor to look out for as production continues.