After starring in this year’s Jupiter Ascending, Channing Tatum is once again heading to space. The actor is now set to star in the adaptation of Joe Haldeman’s classic sci-fi book The Forever War.
The novel, published in 1974, chronicles the story of a young man who is drafted into a military task to fight in a war against an alien species named the Taurans. As he takes on battle after battle, he rises quickly through the ranks. But traveling through space has time-warping effects and the man stops aging, even as centuries pass by on Earth.
The planet undergoes many changes, including humanity melding into one homogenous race and the beginning of a new language. Meanwhile, the man fights to stay connected to his true love, a female soldier who also uses space-time to slow down her aging so she can be with him.
The Forever War, generally perceived as an analogy for the Vietnam War, is widely considered one of the best sci-fi stories ever written and won the Nebula, Hugo, and Lotus awards shortly after its debut. The story was followed by the 1997 thematic sequel Forever Peace and 1999’s direct sequel Forever Free.
In addition to starring in the big-screen adaptation, Tatum will reportedly also produce alongside Roy Lee (Run All Night, The Lego Movie). Jon Spaihts, the screenwriter behind Prometheus, Doctor Strange, and the upcoming Chris Pratt vehicle Passengers, penned the screenplay. As of now, the film has no set director. With such an acclaimed duo like Tatum and Spaihts already on board, though, the movie is expected to have no issues attracting a high-profile filmmaker.
The project has already seen a lot of interest. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it sparked an intense bidding war between two major studios, Warner Bros. and Sony, earlier this week. Warner Bros. eventually won the rights to the film.
The Forever War has had a rocky path to the big screen. The adaptation was previously set up at 20th Century Fox in 2008 with director Ridley Scott on board. Scott had reportedly waited 25 years for the rights to become available. The project underwent several script revisions and many different incarnations, but never panned out. The rights to the film shifted to Tatum’s Free Association production company and Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment banner over the last month.
For Tatum, the role marks a return to sci-fi following February’s Jupiter Ascending. Though Jupiter received a poor critical response and had a disappointing performance at the box office, that clearly hasn’t deterred Tatum from returning to the genre. In addition to signing on to The Forever War, the actor will reportedly also take on aliens in the upcoming 22 Jump Street and Men in Black crossover film.
The Forever War is only the latest in Tatum’s busy schedule of upcoming projects. The star will next appear on the big screen in July’s Magic Mike XXL, which he co-wrote and produced. He’ll also co-star in Quentin Tarantino’s highly anticipated upcoming western The Hateful Eight. Also on his slate is the Coen brothers-directed comedy film Hail, Caesar!, due out in 2016.
The critically acclaimed Forever War is an ambitious project to take on, but the film seems off to a strong start with a popular lead star and esteemed writer already on board. No projected premiere date has been revealed yet.