After making his feature directing debut on I Am Mother Grant Sputore has no qualms about making the significant leap to directing the science-fiction thriller Augmented for Warner Bros.
“I feel excited and ready to tackle it,” Sputore tells IF as he collaborates with his I Am Mother screenwriter Michael Lloyd Green, who is reworking a spec script by Mark Townend.
WB optioned Townend’s script in 2017 and announced it would be produced by Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment. But the project stalled until Robbie hired Sputore and Green, who pitched their vision to studio executives.
Townend’s script was set in a future where people are enhancing their lives with smart technology implants. The plot followed a female criminal defence attorney whose body is hijacked and forced to commit proxy murders.
“We are doing a drastic retooling which is very different, although the technology and how it affects people is still the same,” he says.
Yet to be determined is where the film will shoot. As it’s an American story and a lot of the action takes place in Washington DC, the director is leaning towards making it in the US.
But he can also see advantages in an Australian shoot, likely to be next year. Di Novi Pictures’ Denise Di Novi will produce with LuckyChap’s Tom Ackerley.
Sputore first met with Robbie, Ackerley and Josey McNamara when they visited Perth a year ago, arranged by his agent WME.
They asked about projects he was developing via his company The Penguin Empire and responded to a romantic thriller which Stephen McCallum is writing and will direct. That project is still in development.
After I Am Mother premiered at Sundance he was offered a lot of sci-fi scripts but only one, a TV series from a “pinch yourself producer” appealed to him.
Studiocanal intended to release his futuristic thriller starring Clara Rugaard, Rose Byrne and Hilary Swank theatrically in Australia.
But after Netflix collared the rights in Australia as well as the US and some other markets, it was mutually agreed that the best option was to release the film on Netflix here, day-and-date with the US.