Twentieth Century Fox will be adapting Isaac Asimov’sclassic science-fiction murder mystery The Caves Of Steel. Henry Hobson has been assigned to direct the film while John Scott 3 is writing the screenplay. The project will be the second teaming of the two who are currently in pre-production on the zombie film Maggie.
First serialized in Galaxy magazine in 1953 and then published in book form in 1954, The Caves Of Steel is set in some three thousand years in the future where everyone on Earth lives in cities that are covered by vast steel domes resulting in a population that suffers from extreme agoraphobia. Following the murder of an ambassador from one of the off-world Earth colonies, detective Elijah Baley is assigned to track down the killer. He is given a partner, R. Daneel Olivaw, a nearly perfect humanoid robot. The problem is that Baley shares the common Earther prejudices against robots.
Asimov wrote the novel in part due to a conversation he had with editor John Campbell who stated that science-fiction and mystery were two genres that couldn’t be combined. The novel is now considered one of the classics in science-fiction and an important work for its broadening the scope of what could be written about in the genre. It is also a keystone of Asimov’s Robot series of short stories and books.
Previously, Fox had done a very loose adaption of Asimov’s short story collection I, Robot, which outside of a few names and a passing acknowledgement of Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics,” had nothing really to do with the book. The failing there was trying to find a narrative thread to link those stories, although an attempt to adapt the book into a screenplay in the late 1970s by writer Harlan Ellison managed the trick. (Ellison published his screenplay in 1994.)