‘Mr. Robot’ Creator Sam Esmail Shrinking ‘Metropolis’ for TV Miniseries
Fritz Lang’s 1927 opus Metropolis didn’t just provide the canonized German director with one of his finest works, it all but singlehandedly introduced sci-fi to the then-nascent cinema. The story of a future dystopia separated into a pampered bourgeoisie and threadbare underclass blew open the doors for everything from Blade Runner to Star Wars, and Lang’s grand production values — massive Expressionist sets, scads of cowering extras, the guiding aesthetic of bigness — captivated audiences. Metropolis’ bold style and primal theme of tensions between haves vs. have-nots trickled down to Madonna’s “Express Yourself” video, The Hunger Games, and more literal adaptations stretching from anime to musical theatre.
The next rework of Metropolis will come courtesy of Comet director Sam Esmail, better known to some as the creator behind another bleak vision of things to come, Mr. Robot. The Hollywood Reporter ran an item over the weekend stating that Esmail has begun work on a TV miniseries that will shrink the towering future-shock masterpiece to living-room friendly proportions. Though the extent of Esmail’s involvement has not yet been made clear — he could write and direct, as he did with the 2014 high-concept romance Comet, or he may just "develop" the series before handing off the reins to someone else — but Universal did indicate that they won’t begin production for another two or three years. As THR’s article explains, that would allow the director responsible for this to complete work on the projected fourth and fifth seasons of his current project Mr. Robot, and then move onto Metropolis, should he so please.
At first glance, making a film renowned for its massive scope small enough for TV and elongating it to six or eight or however many hours may seem like a bad idea. But let’s not forget who we’re dealing with here: this is Sam Esmail, director of Comet. See for yourself.