HBO has had some moderate success with its modern series adaptation of the Michael Crichton film Westworld as the series moves into the fourth season (expected to have six seasons).
Variety has learned that HBO will develop a series based on Crichton’s novel Sphere with Westworld’s Denise Thé set to write, showrun, and produce the new sci-fi show.
The novel was adapted into a feature film directed by Barry Levinson (Wag The Dog, Toys, Rain Man, Sleepers) film that was released in 1998 starring Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharon Stone, Liev Schriber, Queen Latifah, and Peter Coyote.
SPHERE – When psychologist Norman Goodman (Dustin Hoffman) wrote a report for the government on how to deal with extraterrestrial life forces, he didn’t expect his recommendations to be used. Now that a secret government agency is investigating what may be an alien spaceship that has been discovered partially buried on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, Norman finds that the plan he outlined is being put into effect and that the team he named in his report has been assembled.
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the most impactful sci-fi film as movies like The Abyss and Event Horizon had previously tread similar ground. It was pretty much one of those films from the 1990s you would just forget was made. I revisited the film recently and the CGI effects didn’t age well, weren’t great for the era either.
Dustin Hoffman had led the studio’s box office hit Outbreak in 1995, which is likely behind the thinking of Warner Bros. to cast him as the film’s lead. A huge miscasting.
Sphere would end up becoming a big flop for Warner Bros. as it barely earned it’s budget back and wasn’t able to turn a profit. It doesn’t hurt that the twist and ending were more than just a little anticlimactic when it’s revealed the ship isn’t alien, but actually from the future and built by humans.
Certainly, a property that could be improved upon with a new series exploration.