EXCLUSIVE: ‘Dead Space’ Adaptation A ‘Prequel,’ DJ Caruso Expects A Screenplay ‘In A Few Months’

In “Dead Space,” video game publisher Electronic Arts delivered a sci-fi horror experience that stands proudly alongside some of the best in any medium. The atmospheric presentation and densely layered story served up a rewarding experience for those players who took the time to soak it all in. Those who did know well that a story set in that universe would make a fine, fine film.

Director DJ Caruso, who is presently helming an adaptation of the sci-fi novel “I Am Number Four” — in stores today, and I can’t recommend it highly enough! — happens to be one of those players, a fortunate thing considering that he’s also attached to direct a “Dead Space” film. “Playing that game was one of the scariest gaming experiences I’ve had in my entire life,” he said in a recent interview with MTV from the “Number Four” set. “So I think the nuances of that and trying to capture that in the movie [are intriguing].”

The process of getting things moving on “Dead Space” had actually progressed to a point, until other obligations drove the assembled team in different directions. “The cool thing about ’Dead Space’ is we’ve had a few offers to set it up. Once I started [’I Am Number Four’] and [producer] Wyck Godfrey and all those other guys got really busy on the ’Twilight’ movies because they’re kicking butt over there, so we’re gonna get back and talk about it [once everyone’s time frees up].”

Caruso did admit that they’d gotten as far as brainstorming ideas on how to treat a movie set in the game’s universe. “We’ve got a really good sort of storyline,” he revealed. “It’s almost a prequel, sort of, to where the game picks up.”

Despite the progress, there are obstacles. “It’s one of those things where the storytelling of it and trying to get into the prequel [is a challenge],” he said. “You have have the whole sort of brainwash-y/Scientology thing and ultimately the Necromorphs. It’s interesting to try to get the major studios to understand that this [isn’t ’Event Horizon.’] So you’ve got to sort of steer their brain out of that. So we’re fighting some of those elements. … I’m still looking forward to getting going.”

There’s also still work left to be done in pulling together the right people to make the movie work. “We don’t have a writer for it yet, but… right before I left we were listening to different writers and taking different pitches. We have to decide on a couple once we get back what we’re going to do,” he explained. “We’ve tried to crack the story a few different ways, so I know when we get back we’re going to get into it and I feel like we’ll have a screenplay in a few months. It’ll hopefully be ready to go.”