Wolfgang Petersen on Old Man’s War

In an interview otherwise about Das Boot, Wolfgang Peterson is asked about Old Man’s War, which as you probably know by this point he’s slated to direct in movie form. Here’s what he had to say:

CraveOnline: I know you were going to do World’s Finest at one point, and you were attached to Ender’s Game. Is Old Man’s War finally the sci-fi movie you’ve been trying to make?

Wolfgang Petersen: Well, a long time ago I did Enemy Mine and I’ve always wanted to come back at some point. Now with Old Man’s War, I think it’s a great opportunity. That is one unusual story, let me tell you. With sci-fi, I always try to do some kind of a very emotional core to the story. In Enemy Mine it was the strange relationship between these two guys. One was a hermaphrodite and one was a human being, so that’s wild. Here now it’s a love story, it’s two humans but also there is a big twist. It’s a beautiful, beautiful series of books actually.

Oh, I agree completely.

The rest of the interview is here.

And before you ask: Everything is going fine with the movie. We just passed another option window and I’ve been told they’re in the “tweaking the script” stage. Obviously I’ll let you all know when something else happens that I can tell you about.

32 Comments on “Wolfgang Petersen on Old Man’s War”

  1. VERY nice comment from Petersen. Good luck – I hope this one comes through for you.

  2. It’s funny, not being a film aficionado, I didn’t realize Enemy Mine was also Petersen. I am now even more excited for the film version of Old Man’s War.

  3. I read that as Wolfgang Puck & thought, “Well, that could be very interesting, but since he does make a tasty bacon meatloaf, it all ties in quite nicely.”

    Afternoon Diet Mountain Dew is overdue…

  4. I hope the movie does the book justice. I have been thinking about reading the books again. Reading HBP’s Fuzzy series again so I can read FUZZY NATION.


  5. Holy cow, that is fantastic news of which I was somehow unaware. Petersen is a smart director. Hope all goes well and that we will see the movie in theaters in the next couple of years or so.

  6. Enemy Mine is a very underrated picture, or at least, I remember really liking it. I haven’t seen the film since the 80s and I was still battling it out in grade school back then. I do remember it having a sentimentality and multi layers that are lacking in a lot of sci-fi. It explored discrimination and racism in a responsible manner and caused the reader to ask deeper questions while still being entertained. I think that same approach will make OMW a rather successful film. Or at least, keep the film aligned with the novel (a story with deeper meaning but still damn entertaining and exciting).

    Now, pardon my ignorance but does the passing of an option window mean you got paid a sum again? If I’m correct, then that is a nice piece of income that you didn’t need to do much work for (opposed to all the income you work your ass for — which is appreciated since you’re a word magician).

  7. Das Boot was an awesome movie. I hadn’t realized the same guy did Enemy Mine which, though it had issues, I agree was underrated. I had visions of “Old Mans War” being directed by Michael Bay or somesuch. They weren’t good visions.

  8. Gods, I hope they don’t screw this up. You seem like a really nice guy, and I’m rooting for you to become crazy-rich off Hollywood. Unfortunately, I have little faith in Hollywood to not muck up your fantastic IP.

  9. Can I recommend you add “Life’s Been Good” to your ukelele repertoire? Because damn, you get all the breaks.

  10. I am very happy to hear Petersen is doing Old Man’s War. I’m happy Old Man’s War is getting a film treatment period! It feels like when I learned Game of Thrones was going to be a series on HBO. I think Petersen will do a good job with it. Congratulations! (albeit late ones since you knew about this a while back) I will go see it in theaters and buy the BluRay and make all my friends go see it and by the BluRay. :D Thanks for providing the world with such a great sci-fi book! I swear, though, you and Richard K> Morgan make my head hurt thinking about the nature of consciousness and what it means to be immortal by way of transferring your “self” to another body. I am an atheist and materialist so when I think of the process of changing bodies it is knowing there is no “soul” or “you” to be transferred. All there is is a copy of you sitting on the other side of the room and you look at it and then you die knowing it goes on in your place. However, you knew this to be the case also, at least from the subjective, and went with the gradual awareness of being in two bodies at once and slowly reducing the feeling of being in the old one, so from a subjective point of view you feel like you are being moved. When really it’s just an illusion. I figure in a way we “die” when we sleep or enter anaesthesia. The “us” before the loss of consciousness, the loss of continuity, dies and we only have a sense of continuity from memory, but each “us” at every instant doesn’t “move on”. Reading the transfer sequence let me know you had to have laid awake nights thinking about that… :) If the movie can make even a few people think about the nature of consciousness and come to those conclusions then I think it succeeds on a the level of science fiction. Sorry for the fanboy ramble. Glad your work has brought you good things! You earned it!

  11. I am really excited about this. Not that it matters except to me and my spouse but finding your work was really an accident and I haven’t been the same since. I have read everything of yours I can find and I have become one of your fans. Well, at least of your writing. I haven’t met you. In any case, the idea of seeing this in film is exciting and knowing that a decent, knowledgeable director is working on it assures me that the heart of the work will be sustained.
    Thanks for writing what is in your brain.

  12. Awesome news. I enjoyed the “short version” of Das Boot when I saw it some years back, and recently picked up the “long version” and look forward to digging into it.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the movie will turn out. I hope (and expect) he’ll do justice to a great story. Haven’t seen Enemy Mine, I must admit, but I’m going to have to look for it, too.

  13. I hope your contract specifies that the intro of Sgt. Ruiz be filmed as written…

  14. A ways back, there was a fannish Science Fiction Book of Lists, each one by a different person. Barry B. Longyear did the 10 Worst SF Movies Ever so he could give places 1-9 to Enemy Mine.

  15. Somebody please tell me that “one was a hermaphrodite and one was a human being” would sound less awful if I’d seen Enemy Mine.

  16. MBL@23: If it’s any help, Louis Gossett Jr. played the hermaphrodite. (grin) S/he was an alien.

  17. I have read both “Enemy Mine” and seen the movie. The only thing I can actually say is noticeable about the movie is that some parts from the story are cut out. However that is relatively common and is in order to avoid a movie that’s extremely long.

    Sometimes that is resolved by creating a TV series where the spectators are served the story piece by piece. But the feeling is different after having seen a long thorough movie and having seen an episode that contains a piece of the story. You forget pieces of the story when it goes a week between each episode and that makes the experience weaker.

    But Wolfgang Petersen must have evolved a lot since Enemy Mine – he’s also guilty of CSI, which is a decent TV show. (I know it’s not perfect, but it’s bearable)

  18. Barry Longyear was one of my favorite SF authors — if not THE favorite — in the late seventies. I loved “The Circus World” books. I just Googled him and found this fact from Wikipedia: “He is the only writer to win the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Campbell in the same year.” So I’m thinking others also found his work compelling.

    I watched the move version of “Enemy Mine” because it was based on Longyear’s words. I will watch the movie version of “OMW” because it will be based on Scalzi’s words.

  19. #27… not to be that guy, but Wolfgang Petersen is a director making such films as Enemy Mine and Das Boot. William Petersen is an actor and producer who made CSI.

    Although to be fair, I almost added “…and Starship Troopers” to the list of films for which Wolfgang Petersen is famous. I think there’s an Internet Law about mistakes like that.

  20. This news makes me feel much better about the OMW movie. I was afraid that it would be given to someone like Michael Bay, and would end up as two hours of huge explody loud space battles with 8 or 10 minutes of story to sort of tie them together.

    I hope the script tweaking is done lightly.

  21. @MBL: “One was a hermaphrodite and one was a human being” wouldn’t sound less awful. And with all the gay rights and religious groups there still was no protest from H.A.W (Hermaphrodites against Wolfgang)? :-)

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