Hey, Ever Wondered If There Would Ever Be an Old Man’s War Movie?

Well, then, you might want to read this.

Also, yes, I’ll talk about it more in just a minute. Give me a second to update.

Update: And here we go:

1. Yes, and obviously, I knew this was coming. For those of you who wonder whether or not I always blog about everything that happens to me the second it happens, the answer to this is I’ve been sitting on this for quite a while now, since quite obviously I can’t burble about this stuff before the studio puts it out there. Yes, I keep secrets from you! And I still am, although not about this. Bwa ha ha ha hah ha!

2. Yes, I’m very happy with the team putting it together. I’ve been an admirer of Wolfgang Petersen’s for a long time now, both as a director and as someone whose films do great business here and abroad, and I think he’s a very good fit for Old Man’s War. Scott Stuber is likewise a very smart and savvy producer, and someone who knows how to shepherd a film through the process right to the big screen. Screenwriter David Self has done some great work adapting material (see: The Road to Perdition), so I was very happy to hear he was operating on my work. I’m also very pleased to be at Paramount, who knows their way around making, marketing and distributing very large science fiction and adventure films. Basically, a good fit all the way around.

3. Beyond this there’s nothing I can share with you at the moment about the status of the production, except to say it’s moving along. As with any potential film project, there’s a lot that can happen between an announcement of a project and the first time it ever gets shown to an audience. We’re in very early days, and my philosophy is: let’s see what happens next. I’m optimistic and realistic.

4. One thing I do want all y’all to be aware of, though, so we have it out front from the beginning: The movie that is eventually made of Old Man’s War will be an adaptation of the book — not the book itself. The filmmakers are going to have to make changes and alterations and cuts and additions and so on and so forth, because that’s what they do when they make movies. I know this, and this is part of the reason why I chose to be picky about who I optioned the work to: Because I wanted filmmakers I felt could best adapt what I wrote so that it would work on the big screen. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do.

Other questions? Put them in the thread, but be aware that at this point, the answer to many of your questions will be “I don’t know.”

292 Comments on “Hey, Ever Wondered If There Would Ever Be an Old Man’s War Movie?”

  1. Well, that’s great if it happens – and if it doesn’t happen, the money for the option will grow nicely in the bank account. Good for you!

  2. That’s great news! Prepare for legions of uninformed people to claim it’s just “ripping off” Avatar, though.


    Ahem. I mean… congrats, John. Nice work on that. Hope it all works out well and that you made a tidy pile of cash from the deal.

    OMG GUYS!!!

  4. What do you know, I have in fact, wondered if there would ever be such a movie!


  5. Wow, congratulations! I realize that this is just the rights, and that it could very well go nowhere, but here’s hoping! I’ve always thought that it could fit well for the big screen.

  6. DUDE. Keeping my fingers crossed on this – the OMW books would make great movies. Congrats, John.

  7. @ #5 – I was thinking the exact same thing. Get ready to have detractors claim this is just cashing in on Avatar, but with green “Smurfs” instead of blue. Argggh!

    Still, this is awesome news for us fans. Congrats, Scalzi!!!

  8. This
    “but he’s so convinced he has another chance with her that he abandons his unit and risks everything to be with her.”
    worries me…

  9. Out of curiosity, when you found out the deal got greenlighted, did you smile and nod, or scream like a little girl, or kiss your wife like that sailor kissed that nurse in the iconic WWII victory poster, or dance the funky chicken in the snowbanks of Ohio, or do the worm on acropolis, or slamdance the cosmopolice?

    Could you enlighten the populace?

  10. Congratulations, sir.

    I was involved in the initial efforts to turn “Halo” into a movie; I’m pretty sure the exhiliration, and the headaches, may just be beginning. Your SGU expereince may be able to help cut through the … Hollywood stuff.

    Best wishes on the project.

  11. Congrats and well done, sir. You could do worse than Wolfgang — a lot worse. Here’s hoping that this goes into production soonest!

  12. Congratulations, John. It’s wonderful to see hard work and ethical behavior get rewarded for a change.

  13. wygit: me too. If the trailer keeps trending that way, I may end up not seeing the film, but rather re-reading the books and cheering on the folks who are giving Mr. Scalzi money he can use to live on while he writes MOAR BOOKZ!!!!11!

  14. Congratulations, sir. Nice that they want to hand the reins to a 70-year-old director. Most appropriate.

  15. Congrats, John. This is really cool.

    @29: I believe “has acquired screen rights” means that they optioned the novel rather than buying it outright. We use “buy” and “sell” all the time in situations when other words may be more accurate. (e.g., I talk about “buying” short stories when what I really mean is, for example, “licensing the first print rights.”)

  16. I’m getting my tent and my Thermos and going out now to camp in line for the tickets.

    Congratulations, John. If they give you a cameo in the movie, I may just squee myself to death.

  17. The giddy 12 year old in me just knows that Hollywood, being what it is and what people in the US love, will play on the whole “Hey look, I have this awesome stud body with a much improved tool to go with it!” angle!

  18. I have to say, my first response…is cautious optimism. I love this book, and the sequels/sidequels, and books have been, ah, savaged by others in the industry. But it’s certainly good news for you, John, and that’s a good thing no matter how the movie turns out in the end.

  19. Congrats, good luck, and try not to think about Ender’s Game being optioned by Wolfgang Petersen for like a decade without being made.

  20. Eeep, that’s really exciting! I personally don’t hate movies that deviate from the books they were based on on principle, I just don’t like when it’s done badly. :P But it sounds like you’re happy with what they’re planning, so I’ll trust that it will turn out just fine. And congrats, of course! Pretty cool to make it to this point!

  21. What do you think the chances are of this actually getting made into an actual movie that we’d get to actually see at some point? Or, what are the chances of any book that’s gotten to this point getting actually made? You always hear that optioned != movie, but what are the chances, on average?

  22. Griffin Barber:

    I once let a friend option “Agent” to pitch around, but nothing came of it at the time.


    It’s hard to say, and none of it is up to me. My job was to pick the people I thought had the best chance of moving the book along; their job is to do it.

  23. @Scalzi

    Now that Paramount has the movie rights, and it sounded like you had at least some say in who got the rights, what is your part of the process? Warren Ellis said he wasn’t too involved in the production of Red but he was over-all happy with it.

  24. Petersen dropped out of an Ender’s Game adaptation a few years back. I wonder if his interest in that unresolved project led indirectly to this – as in, he was enthused about that project, but it didn’t come together, but this will allow him to scratch the same itch.

  25. This is outstanding news. OMW could be an epic movie. I’m highly concerned about the “in battle, he’s rescued by a special-forces officer who seems to be a younger version of his wife. She doesn’t recognize him, but he’s so convinced he has another chance with her that he abandons his unit and risks everything to be with her.”

    That’s not OMW. That’s a derivative story that, while interesting, doesn’t approach the complexity of OMW. Of course, it’s also a blurb… which doesn’t approach the complexity of a movie based on OMW. But they’re not really going to do that, right John? Right?

  26. Well done, sir. I look forward to seeing your work onscreen. Good luck.

    Maybe they’ll adapt in that alien species that look like sharks with frikkin’ lasers on their heads!!

  27. MattMarovich:

    The movie makers know I’m available to them if they want to talk to me, and they’ve been good at keeping in the loop on things. But I’m also a big believer in letting people do their jobs.


    The Volcano Laser will now have the optional leather seats!

  28. Congratulations and fervent best wishes to you, sir! This certainly beats being slapped in the belly with a fish, and it won’t hurt the college fund one bit. And just possibly, a fine movie of an awesome book may result.


    Commence Snoopy-dancing in streets!

  29. Just curious John: how much input would you have in the adaptation process? Since you worked on Stargate, that would seem to indicate you’ve got more knowledge about the filmmaking process than most other authors. Would that play into how the producers, etc, view your input?


    This is seriously some of the best news I’ve heard in ages. Good for you!!! I remember you telling me a way back and it was hard to keep it a secret but now I’m glad it’s a reality!

    Please tell me that you have negotiated a cameo in the film?

    Again, congratulations!!!

    Who will play Krissy?

  31. I’m happy and sad at the same time. I’m happy for you but I’m not even sure I’d want to see it (I promise to buy a ticket at least lol, even if I don’t go into the theater). I have such a picture in my head of the characters, and I think there are at least a couple of scenes I would be pissed if they weren’t included. (Happened in HP and I refused to watch the movie due to one line being skipped in the script) its going to really be dependent on who they cast and how happy you are with the adaptation :)

  32. Congrats. I really hope this pans out. But, hey, even if it doesn’t, it’s nice to know that movie people think your work would make an awesome movie.

  33. John Scalzi: I once let a friend option “Agent” to pitch around, but nothing came of it at the time.

    This sounds like the script to Inception 2.

  34. I have to agree with Rob H @65 here, there have been a lot of announcements about movies based on Thomas Covenant and even The Gap Cycle, but none have materialized. OMW has more action and thus a better chance of making it as a movie, but it’s still far from guaranteed that this will go anywhere.

  35. Hugh57:

    Too early for casting (even joke casting).


    Have not negotiated a cameo. I’m too old (and too young) for the film, anyway.

    A different phil:

    Again, the film makers know I’m happy to advise them, but I also did what I could to option the book to film makers who I think know how to do this kind of thing.

  36. Chang has a good point. What this movie needs is an internet petition to have you play Perry’s son.

  37. Congratulations John. You should interview the cast and write an article for the Bee to publish.

  38. We can all say we were here at the beginning of the end. As more Old Man’s movies are released and the money starts pouring in, Scalzi will only go mad with the wealth. Oh, it’ll be small things, first: setting up a workshop for young Ohio writers, buying a new car, a nice vacation to Aruba. But as the Old Man’s juggernaut crushes the competition at the cinema and the rest of Scalzi’s works are bought up in a mad bidding war, thing will just get crazy. He’ll buy up the acreage surrounding his current acreage to build a theme park, complete with the Mallet of Correction Parade down Agent To The Stars Street. Then it’ll be the exotic purchases: an overclocked gaming computer cooled with orphan’s tears, a mansion built entirely out of Double-Doubles. And then, yes, politics. As Scalzi creates the You’re Too Stupid To Vote Party to challenge John Boehner, it’ll all come crashing down as he wrestles his opponents to the ground during the debates, wiping the Speaker’s face with a wet handkerchief and screaming about Oompa-Loompas and spray-on tans. It’ll be a shambles, and we can only stand by as his great estate sinks into a quagmire of unsold Hickory and Dickory action dolls and rancid grilled onions. I weep for the future.

  39. Congratulations! And, just to put it out there, I know it will still be fairly early in the process but if there’s anything to show by February of next year, and if you have any say/control, would be great to see(premiere?!) it at Boskone since you’ll be GoH ;)

  40. @27 by wygit
    Yeah, I saw that too. But that’s representative of the person who wrote the article, blurb, not the actual folks writing and producing the movie. So, lets hope they get a better feel for the thing.

    And there are so many VERY cool possibilities for adapting in the movie.

  41. Huge congrats, again, John (I saw it on the tweetstream first)!

    If it gets shot and released, then you’ll have to adopt a pseudonym to write a snarky review of it…;-)

  42. Interesting that it’s Wolfgang Peterson — he tried for a while to get Ender’s Game made, which is, MilSF with a non-standard class of combatants, as compared to OMW, which is MilSF with a non-standard class of combatants.

    I don’t know that Ender can ever get made in Hollywood without angering the readers — OMW looks to be a little more filmable — no violent 8-year-olds.

    Best of luck!

  43. Does this mean we have a chance in the future of seeing John Scalzi review a movie based on a book written by John Scalzi?

  44. Congratulations. I hope that they make something your readers accept as “good enough”, as some of the Tolkien fans felt about Peter Jackson’s adaptations. OMW, or the series, or conditional on the OMW project’s success?

  45. Congratulations! I am very much looking forward to this making it to the “silver” screen. Now can you please help Orson Scott Card get Ender’s Game out of the horrible purgatory it has been in since he optioned it for film?

  46. So when you say “adapt” do you mean they’ll leave out the sex or is this gonna be the porn version? (heehee)

    Also, congrats. I just re-read the series (or, wait, bought the audible.com versions and re-read, er,,,re-heard…oh, crap. Nevermind.) Anyway, I hope they don’t fu it up. I will be standing in line.

  47. Hollywood meet Bradford, Bradford meet Hollywood. Fun stuff. Huge Congrats!!

    @Adam Rakunas Best comment of the day award to you, sir. Especially love: “an overclocked gaming computer cooled with orphan’s tears”

  48. Well…if there was ever a sci-fi series about adaptation, it’s yours, sir. This is great! Bring on the adaptation! Will it be available on BlueRay and BrainPal?

  49. I think the role of Leon (who has a heart attack because of eating too much… bacon) would be a custom-made cameo opportunity.

  50. Congratulations, Mr. Scalzi. I hope this helps heal some of the scars from the unfortunate cancellation of SGU. I also hope that the adaptation that eventually makes it to our screens will be something you can be proud of.

    Unfortunately, as John Le Carre said, “Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes.”

    But, on the other hand… mmm, bouillon cubes…

  51. Michael Tedesco:

    Actually, Ender’s Game has recently been taken under the wing of Kurtzman & Orci (writers of the most recent Star Trek).

    Mr. K.:

    I don’t expect I’ll me able to make an objective review of the movie.

  52. WRT Cameo: Could be done like Chuck Yeager did in the Right Stuff: Bartender, or some other random dude… digital makeup or no. You should totally go for it.

    And I want to see Zoe’s Tale in IMAX. Just because we need more *girls* to save the world. (And Athena should totally get a cameo in that. :)

  53. Mr. Scalzi, sir. You know what this means now? You’re going to have to write ANOTHER sequel to the series.

  54. The filmmakers are going to have to make changes and alterations and cuts and additions and so on and so forth, because that’s what they do when they make movies. I know this, and this is part of the reason why I chose to be picky about who I optioned the work to: Because I wanted filmmakers I felt could best adapt what I wrote so that it would work on the big screen.

    Quite – IMNSHO one of the best literary adaptations I’ve ever seen was LA Confidential, which ruthlessly pruned away most of James Ellroy’s trademark tangled-ball-of-yarn-plotting, literally dozens of secondary characters and sub-plots spread over years and much violence and sexuality that would have earned any film a rock hard R-rating. Ellroy himself was more than satisfied, so who am I to quibble?

    Unfortunately, as John Le Carre said, “Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes.”

    Ulysses@102: Which is ever so slightly ironic, because while I think Le Carre is epically over-rated he’s actually gotten off better than most when it comes to film/TV adaptations that don’t make your brain bleed with existential despair.

  55. I think this is going to be one of the very few films I actually go to watch at the cinema, if all goes well between now than filming finishing :D

    Great news, Congratulations :)

  56. Stoic@107: NOOOOOO! That way lies Hannibal Rising, which I wouldn’t wish on my worse enemy unless I was beating him to death with that pile of crap.

  57. Well, now we can say we knew Scalzi back when he was just a GoH at a small Pittsburgh con ;-)

    Congratulations, and may the movie not only be made, but be a blockbuster!

  58. Much congratulations. I’m pretty sure you’ve written about what it takes to go from a book to a movie, so I look forward to seeing how the assembled team interprets and depicts the story, and crossing my fingers that it crosses the finish line.

  59. Hey John, the article says “John Scalzi novel SERIES Old Man’s War,…”

    So….just the one, or all of them?

  60. Questions? Of course I have. How much do you get and what will you do with this dough? (who cares about the movie anyway ^^ )

  61. John – you should totally be the guy who pisses John off during the testing scene. You fit the bill in so many ways :)

  62. Chicxulub:

    I have no money complaints at the moment, and that’s all the detail I’m going to reveal on that subject for now.

    Mike Kranjcevich:

    As a practical matter, the rest of the books in the series should be understood to be off the table.

  63. Congrats. Is this the first time someone has approached you about adapting Old Man’s War, or was this just the first offer you accepted?

    2nd Question: The 1st person perspective is so critical to the tone of the book. Do you think that a movie will try to capture this tone, or will it be less cynical and introspective?

  64. Craig (#113): John Scalzi is better than that (by a lot). BTW, I wish someone would do a graphic novel of the series.

  65. I’ve always wanted to see a movie of Old Mans War, so this sounds awesome. Of course it will be from the producer of “Battleship: The Movie”, but hopefully they won’t insist on as insipid a script as that.

  66. D’oh! I’ve got a small notebook full of notes about ways I would adapt OMW into a feature-length. I guess the maxim is true about snoozing and losing.

    BTW John, I was using OMW as a little self-exercise in adaptation to keep my screenplay chops in hand while I work on my original novel. It’s one of my favorites, and it was fun putting it together. But given the competition on options in this town and the cost of getting production going, I never realistically believed I had a shot at doing anything with it.

    In any case, congratulations! Looking forward to it.

  67. One scene from the book that I REALLY REALLY hope makes it into the movie is the conversation between John and Master Sergeant Ruiz:

    “Then I looked over and saw an advertisement with Willie Wheelie in it. And do you know what it said?”

    “‘Sometimes You Just Gotta Hit the Road'”

  68. Congratulations. I know that if anything I wrote was at least likely (with all of the Hollywood caveats applying) to be made into a movie, I’m pretty sure I’d spend the next month wetting myself. What I respect most is that you’ve actually be scrupulously getting writing done for the last month with this in the pipeline. It’s not the money, or even the possibility of future money. It’s the idea that your dream might be seen by a much wider audience than will ever (sadly) read any book.

  69. @Scalzi I know you didn’t want to adapt your own novels as your first screenplay, and that you are (or were) interested in writing an original screenplay. Obviously, you are NOT adapting OMW. If it takes off and is a box office hit and the company orders the sequels into production, I have two questions:
    1) Would you consider adapting the sequels if you got the hang of the format and if you were asked to (basically, if every possible thing fell into place)?
    2) If you had your choice, would the TLC/ZT movie be based more on TLC or ZT?

  70. Tag @126 —

    With apologies in advance for comparing apples and oranges, or at least apples and pears…

    The narrator’s perspective is awfully important to To Kill A Mockingbird as well, but that doesn’t stop the cinema adaptation from being fantastic in its own right. I suspect that bigger film nerds than me could come up with other examples in the same vein.

    Meanwhile, the Bourne franchise pretty well got me over the hump of film adaptation accuracy. As long as they actually make it and don’t turn it into a romance, I’m cool… but I don’t worry, because it’s got Wolfgang Petersen attached as opposed to, say, Sofia Coppola.

    (You know some marketroid somewhere wants to work John Perry’s grief into a catalyst for focusing on that part of the story, by way of getting a bigger slice of atypical demos. You’ll recall that Firefly’s genius didn’ stop it from getting mangled by the marketroids, just sayin’.)

    Congratulations, JS.

  71. Two questions:
    1. Are you the first sitting SFWA president to have a movie optioned on one of his/her novels?
    2. Who else expressed an interest in optioning OMW?

  72. John- Congrats!

    89 by joelfinkle – have you read “Ghost Brigades” – they have some serious badass 10 yr olds (and younger)

  73. A few people have mentioned Petersen’s dropping of Ender’s Game but to me the two novels (EG and OMW) are very different. So much of EG is Ender’s internal story. Sure, there are good action scenes, but they’re there to make the point about who and what Ender is. At heart, though, he’s a 6 year old who’s been put in a tough, almost impossible position and the book does a great job of looking at that from his interior point of view. I think that would be very hard to adapt to the screen, esp if you wanted to keep Ender as a six year old kid.

    OMW certainly has internal moments, but many of them get expressed through Perry’s actions (when he freaks out at one point about what he’s doing, for example) and I can see the essential story being told well as a film. There are some books where I have to work to visualize what’s happening… OMW isn’t one – the images come easily and fluidly. Certainly there’s a lot between that and having a great adaptation on screen, but I think the source material bodes well.

  74. Fabulous news, congratulations!

    I need to step up my campaign to get my husband to read this series, so he can read it before the movie. And my father and my brother.

    My not-so-nosy-you-won’t-answer-it question is (I’m keeping my nosy ones to myself where they belong), how long did the negotiations for the deal take place, from when you first started talking with Paramount to today when it went public?

  75. I always thought this book would make a terrific movie. SO HAPPY NOW!!! And yes, it will have to be adapted for the big screen.

  76. BDiamond:

    1. I don’t know, but would doubt it;
    2. I don’t keep track of who we said “no” to.


    1. Since I’m still very much a novice to screenwriting, I couldn’t answer that question any other way than “uh, maybe?”
    2. No idea.

    Cheryl Pangolin:

    I can’t discuss specifics right now, but it’s been a while.

  77. Nate @129 —

    If what I read is anywhere near the truth, and if the creative side of my own professional experience is anywhere near relevant, then I’m not off-base to wager that the team with the short straw produced Battleship: The Movie.

    Maybe one of these days JS will brief us on the domain of unclassified, Totally Uncool Projects he’s worked on, just to keep money coming in instead of sitting on his tuchis. That would make for an illuminating entry, fersure.

  78. Well, the bones of the story are solid, so there’s hope that the movie itself will be a cut above the scifi that Hollywood seems to think will pass muster with the masses. Petersen’s a great director, and that also gives me hope. I’ll be in line when it opens!

  79. Good for you! Hollywood could stand to make a movie I’d be interested in seeing, OMW could definitely be movie, if Hollywood doesn’t mess it up. Imagine Justin Bieber in the title role.

  80. Despite growing up there, I’ve always been very fuzzy on the whole optioning thing.

    Is this a limited-time thing? That is, they have the rights for some number of years, and then they revert back to you? Or do they have the exclusive rights to make a movie out of the book forevermore?

    Is it a regional right? That is, can someone in India make a Bollywood version of the novel? (And, man, my mind just boggled picturing that.) Does it cover only a theatrical movie, or could they do a TV movie? Or a tv series?

    Not asking about specifics, but do you get more money if it actually is made into a movie? Is that something that happens on start of production, end of production, general release, whatever?

    Also, of course, congratulations.

  81. Sean Eric Fagan:

    I can’t discuss the specifics of the contract at this time, but yes, I get an additional payment when/if the film goes into production and at various other points along the production line.

  82. Question:

    If the movie does get made and does well, whatever well means for you and the studio, will you feel a need or pressure to write another book in the series?

  83. Wheee! Congratulations, John. I hope this is a great experience for you and also results in a movie adaptation I like.

    (Rather than one I avoid until morbid curiosity gets the better of me and I check it out from my local public library against the advice of friends and my own common sense and then aaaagh! oh noes! can not un-see! must have brain bleach! woes ensue. After which the original book must be re-read to satisfactorily cleanse the palate. Not one of those movies, pretty please, oh Hollywood team?)

    It’s nice when I’m able to share the books I like with non-readers via a good movie adaptation. Sometimes they even get seduced into reading the actual book(s)! o_O

  84. Re: Cameo

    Lots (well enough) humans are turned into bacon that Le Scalzi could be one of the cadavers.

  85. Is this one of the things you told us you weren’t telling us about or is this one of the things you didn’t even tell us you weren’t telling us about?

    Wow, after reading that sentence I think I need a hobby.

  86. AlanM:

    This was one of the things I wasn’t telling you about. I currently have other things I’m not telling you about, about which I can’t say any more.

    I can obviously neither confirm nor deny that I currently have things I’m not even thinking about telling you about.

    I hope that clarifies things.


    At this point no one can really pressure me to do anything I don’t want to do, except my wife, and all she wants me to do that I don’t want to is take out the trash. That said, if I want to write a new OMW book, and I have never said I wouldn’t, I would be silly not to think about timing it for release with the film.

  87. Congratulations!

    Like Rudolf and Hermie, on to Fame and Fortune.

    I can’t wait to call the inevitable legion of fanboys “bandwagon jumpers” who are not like the “real fans” who read you before you got famous.

    Also, if someone claims fame has turned you into a dick, I promise to have your back by assuring them that, no, you could be a dick well before you hit the big time.

    Well done.

  88. OK, I hope this is a good question, but feel free to ignore it if it’s nosy – Outside of the film not getting made, or it being a flop, what’s your biggest current worry about the film if it comes out?

  89. Cool beans.

    Here’s hoping we don’t end up with another Starship Troopers. Maybe this director has actually read the book?

  90. So very happy for you. Kind of makes me feel special to “know” a celebrity out there. I know a lot of hard work and talent went into making this happen. I hope you get a chance to enjoy this moment. You deserve it.

  91. Major congratuations!!! Outstanding news.

    You aren’t kidding about delays and various insanity in the movie business. Janet Evanovich sold the movie rights to the Plum series 17 years ago.

    Not an option, it was an outright sale for BIG $$$$$$ with a third upfront on signing. I think she still has the ATM receipt for the deposit of that check :) The first book, One For the Money, finally got made last year and the release date is sometime this summer.

  92. Oh, Verhoeven read the book. He’s just an asshole who thought he was reading a fascist manifesto.

  93. John Scalzi

    That is excellent news regarding Enders Game. To be honest, I started reading you as a result of my having read Ender’s Game years ago. Basically I was looking for a good young Sci Fi writer and chose to seek out recent Hugo Award winners because of my experience with that series. Your having been published by TOR certainly had something to do with it as well.

    Anyway, if I haven’t said so in these comments previously I say it now… I greatly enjoy your writing and have passed on the entire Old Man’s War series as well as Android’s Dream to two other friends who ripped through them as quickly as me.

    Keep up the great work.

  94. Sean Eric Fagan @#151: While the mind boggles at a Bollywood version of OMW, I’m personally looking forward to the Broadway production of Old Man’s War: The Musical.

  95. Does the deal include action figures?

    Actually, that’s really only about 35% in jest. In a hypothetical world with OMW as a successful multi-movie run, there would presumably be a market for merchandise tie ins. I realize that the cart is now in an entirely different county from the horse, but I’m curious as to how these things get done (assuming you are free and willing to comment).

  96. Grats. It looks like a good team is in place.

    I would caution everyone that Hollywood doesn’t work by rules that the rest of us do. I recall Asimov writing once that he had made more money off of options on some works (that were bought and expired multiple times) than he had from print rights. Heck, “I, Robot” was in development for many, many years before they essentially punted by taking an existing screenplay and changing the title and a few names and filming that.

    (I would have liked another director to do OMW, but that because I have a brother that works quite a bit on sets for that director and would have likely been involved.)

  97. I’m kind of late saying this, but massive congratulations to you!! All I can think is: “OMG! HOW EXCITING!” (in all caps, obviously)

    Seriously, it must be so exciting – you sound so sensible about everything. I expect you’re freaking/geeking out on the inside… ;)

  98. As the author, how much control did you have over the decision of when, whether, and to whom the film rights were optioned? And for that matter, is your experience typical of what any given reasonably popular author might encounter?

    I’ve always been curious as to how much say an author has in the production process–not necessarily in the realm of casting or scripting or screenwriting, but being able to say, “No, I don’t want this studio to make the film,” for instance. I can easily conjure up a scenario where the input of the author is ignored or at best a polite fiction, and the publisher is the one who ultimately says yea or nay. I think you’re right to let the filmmakers do their jobs, since they’re filmmakers and you’re not, but imagine if someone at your publisher had a seizure and optioned the rights to Uwe Boll. Would you have any veto?

  99. Hurrah! And well done on getting this deal!

    I personally understand about adaptations and how they can mess with a sacred text and I’m fine with it. However, my wife who has actually read Old Man’s war recently (hey, its on my list of things to read…) has already spotted a difference in the description given in the article… :)

  100. Matt B:

    In my case, I owned the rights to any potential movie adaptation, so I had quite a lot of control as to whom I optioned the rights. Whether other authors have those rights is a function of their publishing contracts, which is why I always suggest getting an agent before negotiating said contracts.

    Once the option has been signed, the rights the author has is once again a matter of contract. I won’t specify the details of my contract regarding the film rights at this time, but I will say that once again I am reminded that it is good to have a good agency team on your side (in this case Ethan Ellenberg as my fiction agent and Joel Gotler as my film/television agent).

  101. Very very happy for you, and us, and yes I completely agree with #133 JoeA, they HAVE to keep the Wheelie Willy story…

    Congrats John!!!!! I knew it would make a fantastic movie!!!!!!


  103. All I ask is that the screenplay adaptation of OMW be very well done. In my six decades I seen far to many excellent novels butchered, not by great acting, good camera work, skillful directing all of which can be present, but by a crappy screenplay thqt missed the essense of the literary source. Jackson did well with Tolkien’s masterpiece only overdoing the battle scenes at the expense of some of the far more dramatic interludes (such as Aragorn seeking out aethelas to use in the houses of healing in Gondor). Now I shall be sad a bit–it is going to be oh so very long from now to opening night. Christmas will roll around far too many times. Well done, Sir John. Lift a glass. Take a bow.

  104. Excellent news, John!

    The absolute best part of this is that it’s at Paramount, ’cause not only are they a good studio for this sort of story, but when you inevitably get invited to the studio lot for some this that or the other thing, you can get a quick electric-cart tour around the place and see the exterior sets for “Community”.

    You never forget the first time you see “Greendale Community College” on a trashcan outside of a foyer that says “Library” on it, I tells ya what.

  105. Congratulations! I’m so excited. I recently re-read the entire series so it’s a pretty awesome coincidence that I’m hearing about this just now.

  106. Congratulations, John! Both Petersen and Self look like good choices.

    My one regret is that there’s probably no way to get one of my best friends, who’s a Latino marine, the role of the hard-ass Latino marine in the book.

  107. I’m sure looking forward to seeing OMW on screen. I hope it will wash away the raddled horror of what happened to “Starship Troopers.”

  108. I remember reading the first chapter or two of the book and saying to myself “This would make a great movie”. I was right, well, at least about the movie part. Here’s to them making a “great” movie. They have great material. Let’s see if it works. Good choice of screenwriter too. Wouldn’t it be funny if the movie is so good, there might be Oscars involved? I know, jumping the gun. I can’t wait to see who they cast. Awesome news. You really do deserve it!

  109. Congratulations, this is the first time in a LONG time I’ve actually looked forward to a movie coming out and not gone “Echh, I’ll wait for it to hit Redbox.”

    You get half a squee now, the other half when I’m actually in the audience watching the credits and thankful it wasn’t another “Starship Fluffers” or whatever that movie was that wasn’t actually Heinlein’s novel. Hope it lives up to the pictures in my mind.

  110. Awesome! Congratulations.
    This is one of the biggest things that can happen for a writer. Without getting too carried away, it really is a major life event.

  111. So will they use animatronic cats, or motion-capture a real one and add the bacon via CGI?


  112. Congratulations! I sincerely hope this makes it all the way through the Hollywood machine and gets made, if for no other reason than to bring more readers into the Scalzi fanbase. :)

  113. @Chang: I just finished reading the three Takeshi Kovacs books and, wow, were they bleak. Loved them. It would be sweet to see movies of them.

  114. Great. Now you went and made me squee all over my Facebook page. Best of luck with the whole process, John! I look forward to your take on the adaptation of book to film, if and when you’re able to disclose things.

  115. Of course, the burning question everyone wants to know (well, okay – the question CHANG wants to know): Did you include a clause for Ghlaghghee to have a cameo in the film?

  116. I won’t ask questions, I’ll just go “WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” :-)

    And I’ll look forward to seeing it on the big screen, preferably in 3-D IMAX.

  117. Just wanted to be the #200 + nth person to say: congratulations. Awesome news. I hope they find someone good enough to play MSGT Ruiz.

  118. Awesomely good stuff. Congratulations.

    Even if a less than awesome movie is made it certainly won’t hurt book sales either I guess.

  119. congrats, john!

    i hope it gets made. i hope it doesn’t suck.

    casting mojo: please not shia labouf

  120. John, I’m so delighted for you! And looking forward to the film. The goal (IMO) of a good adaptation is to get the heart/soul of the book onto the screen, as opposed to the details of the story. Film/TV are such different media to books…. and one of the things I love most about them is the way that people collaborate to bring a story to the screen. It’s fascinating to see one’s work reflected and refracted through other hearts/minds/vision. How exciting for you!

  121. Great news. Congrats.

    Now that we will most likely be seeing a big budget Old Man’s War film, all I need is for Ridley Scott to do that adaptation of The Forever War, for someone to make an MMO based on Iain Bank’s Culture books, an FPS game adaptation of Armor, and the Altered Carbon film to actually be produced then my life will be complete.

  122. Congratulations! Hope it works out well.

    But brace yourself for:
    Voice over a montage of short wacky live action sequences.
    “John and Hank had lived in the same town all their lives. They were rivals in high school. They fought over the same girls. They argued about the same teams, They bickered at work. Heck, they even fought at the police station. ”
    Shot of alien space ship approaching Earth, shots of explosions, soldiers, military stuff
    “But with the threat of an alien invasion looming over the planet, John and Hank joined the Army at the age of 75. For the first time, instead of something to fight about, they had something to fight for.”

    “Coming soon from Paramount Pictures: Robin Williams and Steve Martin in the scifi buddy movie for the ages, Old Man’s War

  123. Cool news… a great book which deserves a great movie.

    But I don’t think that Petersen is a good choice for directing it. I fear that he will not find the correct pace/timing for the movie.

    If I had a choice I would ask J.J. Abrams or Danny Boyle for this.

  124. Congratulations, awesome news, finally Hollywood starts to adapt more and more good Science Fiction Books, moving on from reboots and remakes, though not completly. I can assure you a great number of Romanians are happy about this news, the OMW series has had a good succes here.

  125. Congrats, that’s amazing news. On paper it looks like great potential, I just hope it lives up to the book so I can enjoy the movie just as much. Also this is the first movie I’ve told my wife we’ll be going to see prior to the start of filming.

  126. gottacook @139 spake thusly: Just don’t let Paramount call it Old Man’s War: The Motion Picture..

    Should it be released with that title – or worse yet, as Old Man’s War Movie – I shall shake my Cain in Paramount’s direction and/or have them chased off my lawn. Deus volent, will then attend the earliest available screening and will still enjoy the heck out of it, title choice notwithstanding.

  127. 221: Nigel – Too bad Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon are gone. We could be looking forward to…..
    “Grumpy Old Man’s War” !!!!!

  128. I am filing this under “potentially greatest news ever.”
    This is among the very few books that I desperately wanted to see on screen.

  129. This is definitly the best news I’ve heard all day.

    (although I suppose that doesn’t mean what it once did,
    considering how depressing 99.999% of the news is nowadays)

    So, two questions –

    I was wondering if you knew if the Enders Game movie that is being developed now is being looked at by the same studio? If the answer is yes, I’d imagine they would have to pick one to put on the not-so-silver(unless you happen to have directed the fourth Terminator movie, McG I’m looking at you)-screen, considering the inevitably huge budget either of these movies would require. I do hope they pick your book.

    My other question was this: Has there ever been any discussions about adapting the Old Man’s War series to HBO or one of it’s clone cable networks as a series? Just in the last year both horror (The Walking Dead) and fantasy (Game of Thrones, Camelot) genres have come to the small screen via cable networks of high repute, I think it’s about time science fiction gained the representation it deserves! (especially since the syfy channel has abdicated the job)

  130. since every book I ever enjoyed (with the possible exception of “The Godfather”) was destroyed when made into a movie I’m worried. SInce the book blurb compares you: Have you seen “Starship Troopers” RAH should be grateful he was already dead. There are plenty of other examples though.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you but I won’t buy a ticket in the first week or two.

  131. John, serious congrats and Mazel Tov! Just one more milestone in an illustrious career, i’m sure!

  132. Most excellent! Congrats!

    (From the blurb: “outer space”? Who the heck says “outer space” anymore?)

  133. After the first two movies (of course), my wish list continues:-

    TLC/ZT should be two movies, edited and intercut into a 3½ hour screening for general release, and a 4½ hour “author’s complete cut” (ACC) for special IMAX and optional holographic 3D showing. The DVD and Blu-ray should offer the two movies in a simultaneous play format, allowing viewers to switch between threads (including soundtracks) using the camera / angle feature, and come with limited edition Hickory / Dickory / Consu dolls.

    Finally, Emily Blunt must play Jane Sagan, whose diary will be made independently at Pixar, shown as a short before the general release, or interleaved in the collector’s ultimate edition (which shall also include all four hardback books).

    When can we start the joke casting? Stanley Tucci for Perry!

  134. This is undoubtedly really exciting news. Clearly an option is a step along a lengthy process, but you can’t win the lottery unless you buy a ticket, right? Plus having a name Director must really help speed things up. Earlier in the comments someone mentioned Avatar in the context that uneducated folks might think OMW is derivative of that in some way. They might, but I don’t think that’s neccesarily a bad thing. I think the comparisons will help the movie prospects commencially as there is now a familiarity with heroes adopting new bodies in a science fiction setting. Folks like what they know. Plus, if you’re gonna be compared to something, having that thing be the most successful film of all time ain’t that bad! At the end of the day however the fiction of Old Man’s War is so different from Dances With…sorry – Avatar, that it will stand on it’s own.
    Congratulations John. Looking forward to more news when you have some to share.

  135. Congratulations!

    Old Man’s War is a favorite of mine, as are the subsequent books in the story arc. Not that you’re involved in the process, but do any actors come to mind for casting specific parts?

    Frank Liu

  136. Really fabulous news! I can’t believe you are being so pragmatic – how do you really feel? Has this taken so long it’s anti-climactic for you? I sure hope not. This is HUGE!!! Where is you unrivaled glee???? Mine is right here! Congratulations!!!

    And my first thought on following the initial thread was the same as #4 – THATNEILGUY – where’s the picture of the author??? Maybe that one you mentioned from the con of you fondling something…. what was that??? ;-)

  137. I’m late to the thread, but wanted to offer my congratulations. I’m looking forward to the flick!

  138. Fun Trivia – Wolfgang Petersen directed “Never Ending Story” back in 1984. Loved that movie!

  139. Congrats John! I’m sure your beautiful daughter will talk you into making her acting debut. Can’t wait to hear it’s gone into production.

  140. And my vision of a green tinged Danny Trejo as Sargeant Ruiz is one step closer to reality.

    Congrats on the good news.


  141. Another big congrats to JS. I can’t think of any current novelist who’s likely better prepared to survive the trials and tribulations of seeing one of his books turned into (or not, as the case may be) a movie.
    Does anyone know how long options typically run? Just curious about this in general, I’m not trying to be nosy about OMW.
    As to the screenwriters of the last Star Trek being involved with Ender’s Game, I suspect OSC will get what he so richly deserves…..while lovers of the book, like me, will be hugely disappointed.

  142. What the heck! I don’t read your site for a day, and you decide it’s important for *that* day to be when you drop the bomb on folks! I think you need to have some consideration for long-time readers here!

    Seriously, though, this is cool. Of course, it’ll be a challenge, if it all does come together. Instead of being like normal peoples but having better writing skilz, you’ll suddenly move up the chain of celebrity status to — what? Milli-celeb? Centi-celeb or deci-celeb? Is there an official scale we can use for this?

    Congratulations on getting it put together. Hopefully, it can make it all the way to the final screens :-)

  143. You read it here first: my prediction is that the Hollywood suits are not going to let the protagonist be, y’know, actually green. Blue Dr. Manhattan or Avatar critters is one thing, but green would (from the mindset of a Hollywood suit) be silly-looking.

  144. I would be pleasantly surprised if it’s more than just another Bruce Willis shoot’em-out; I don’t see how they can incorporate in the timeframe movie format your underlying philosophical moral paradigms; look what they did to “Starship Troopers”!

  145. Congratulations! I admit that I’m looking forward to the next book more than the movie — I’m far more a reader than a moviegoer. But I will see the movie, for sure, and am looking forward to it. I hope it turns out wonderfully.

  146. Been a long while since I commented here, but just heard the news and felt a strong need to come and give a quick but envious congratulations to you, John!

  147. Holy Awesomeness Batman!

    Oddly enough I was just re-reading Old Man’s War and thinking about how they would do the transfer to a new body bit on the big screen. Would they use the same actor for old and young with funky digital effects? Things like that. Absolutely thrilled to think that I might actually get to see it

    Also, Congratulations! .

  148. just finished O.M.W. it was a very good book !! left me wanting more. I just logged on this site for the first time and I see that there is going to be a movie about it ? How awsom is that? I am trying to find a link to where I can find the other books in this series. Edward A

  149. Coming a little late to this party, yet I am glad to see you followed through with the critical advice I gave after our panel together at Philcon all those years ago. [“Hey! Great stuff! Keep up the good work!”]



  150. Oh please dear ghod, tell us you have some final approval on the finished script and at least a vote in the final editing…. If this turns out as mangled as so many movie “adaptations” I just might leave the theatre weeping.

  151. It was a few years back when my friend Vince turned me on to OMW. One of the discussions we had was how they would go about making the movie. My thinking was to start with elderly actors and have them voice over the digital representations of their new bodies. Vince scoffed at the idea and a couple years later Avatar came out and I had proven my point that it would be perfectly doable to have Burt Reynolds and Betty White star in this film. I was vindicated. :)

  152. Will Wolfgang Peterson reveal himself to be a Yherajk as the Oscars a couple of years out?

  153. Congratulations, sir. Old Man’s War was the first book of yours that I read, at the recommendation of an old friend who has very similar tastes to my own. I have since bought and read almost all of your books (including every one of the books in the Old Man’s War series) and I rank Old Man’s War among my all-time favorite novels. I have waited a long time to hear that this book would be made into a movie, and I am very glad to hear this news. I hope that this film comes out as soon as possible, and I will *definitely* be there when it opens!

    Incidentally, I just bought “Agent To The Stars” yesterday, and I’m only about 30 pages in, but so far it’s pretty good and very, very funny.

  154. Congratulations, Scalzi. That’s great news. Das Boot is one of the best WW2 films of all time. With any luck, some of that greatness will be imbued into the film version of OMW.

  155. Well played! I’ve always thought about a movie based on the OMW universe.

    But to be honest I didn’t think they’d do until, well….in 20 years or so the usual time it takes them to find the good stories in Sci-fi and turn them into movies.

    So this is indeed a pleasant surprise.

  156. Very glad for you! I read your 3 novels from Old man’s war galaxy, very good, I hame some questions, but overall impression is very good, very intersting. In process of reading I thought that it can be great movie, but better series. Because the story is too long for the movie, but it’s my thoughts. Anyway my concern is about director, W.Petersen is aged guy and I’m affraid he can not be good interpreter for this story. Too old, up to me. There are a lot of youg guys, with fresh eye and fresh ideas, like M. Reeves, N. Blomkamp or J.J. Abrams. They are from VFX and know how to make sci-fy movie look good.

  157. i am BEYOND excited about this – OMW is what “restored” my dad’s faith in my taste [see, my dad hates fantasy. and i adore Urban Fantasy. it’s been a decade-long battle, with him refusing even the most minor of recs, “because there might be stealth vampires or ninja faeries”. after i got him to read OMW, by having my STEP-MOM give it to him, then having her tell him, AFTER he read it, that it was REALLY from me, he’s started listening to me again. he eve read “Neverwhere” by Gaiman, and LIKED it! lol]

    we’re ALREADY planning vacation times and etc to see it in midnight release [because OF COURSE the cart goes before the horse!]

    *happy dance*

  158. I’ve just seen this news and am very pleased, I wish you well with the project.
    And if it doesn’t go ahead in the end, how about looking towards an anime version – after seeing Appleseed & Vexille in the last couple of years I keep thinking that there’s a lot of SF stories that would be better done that way than live action.

  159. congrats on the movie, just bought and finished the series. Great books thank you for the entertainment. As long as you dont have a cast, I think Nathan Fillion could do Perry justice. ;-)

  160. I look forward to the movie, but know i’ll be disappointed. When it comes to adaptations I almost always am (Gantz movie recently was a great deception… please whatever you do don’t let them film such a piece shit like that with your masterpiece).

    When turning a book into a movie they change the most interesting things of the novel leaving only the irrelevant stuff. One of the thing i liked the most on your books is that humanity isn’t better that the other races in many aspects, for example, they screw up many times in the novels (Fenix, Coral, when the soldiers die miserably…) I’m betting on the movie humans will be absolutely badass, which they are, but will win every single battle, that John will never loss his company, that he will be a loony fool in love instead of… John, and many others nonsensical changes.
    I’ll tell you one thing, if on the movie I don’t see John kick his own palate, watch Alan dying and be eaten by the forest wildlife I’ll be asking for my money back ;)

  161. John I just hope you don’t let them do to your book what they did to star ship troppers, Awesome book. The movies hmmmmm no comments.

  162. I’m so excited about this. I absolutely love the entire OMW series. I’ve told so many people about it & every one of them have loved it. I agree, Wolfgang is a good choice. He’s made a lot of epic movies with grand special effects. And if the guy adapting the book for the film did Road To Perdition, I’m good with that as well. I know they are going to change the story. I just hope they dont change John, Jane, & Zoe too much. Those characters are awesome. I hope they dont screw them up.

  163. Awesome news. I just finished “Last Colony”. The books have provided hours of entertainment and lively debate with friends. Did not see that end coming. Love it! I am a history teacher in Cincinnati and my passions include historical fiction and science fiction. I am so glad to have found your books and can’t wait to read “Redshirts”. Kudos man!

  164. time to reread the books, love all your books but old mans war and the androids dream are the best

  165. Do you have any news about the movies yet? also, are your old mans war shortstorys gonna be translated in other languages than english?

  166. I just finished the book. I just wanted to say thank for the adventure. It’s rare to have a book affect me so. I look forward to the movie as well. I have just started the rest of your series and look forward to reading all of your books. Thank you again sir. “Sometimes you just got to hit the road.”

  167. Can’t wait to see your masterpiece on the big screen! It is tied with two other of my favorite books ever! OSC Enders Game & Joe Haldeman the forever war. I love the main character and funny how he has a sense of humor, like you! It really comes out in your writing and it is so enjoyable to read this series. I could not put the books down and couldn’t wait to read the next. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your wonderful gift with the rest of us.

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