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Gore Verbinski to direct Driverless Car Race film for Sony

Driverless Car Race Gore Verbinski Steve Conrad

New Regency may have cancelled Gore Verbinski's North Korea-set thriller starring Steve Carell, but THE LONE RANGER director has several other projects in the works, and Sony has just picked one of them up. Deadline is reporting that the studio has acquired an untitled pitch from screenwriter Steve Conrad (THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, THE WEATHER MAN), with Verbinski set to direct.

While the film doesn't have a title yet, it's being referred to as the DRIVERLESS CAR RACE pic, and it appears it was previously announced as a New Regency movie called PASSENGERS. The planned film has been described as "a large scale action adventure comedy" featuring "a transcontinental car race with autonomous vehicles." Sony must have really liked Steve Conrad's pitch because the studio is reportedly fast-tracking the project.

More details on the film from Deadline:

The race originates as a beta test to vet competing software companies that would take the lead on futuristic driver-less vehicles, but it all takes an It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World-like comedic turn when the trial run devolves into major road race after the competitive nature of the start-ups trumps their altruistic intentions. The subjects, normal people who are passengers in these cars, eventually try to take control of the experiment.

Gore Verbinski says he's "going to take the funniest comedic actors of this generation and slowly unleash them as we examine the very notion of ‘passengers’ who fundamentally cannot remain passive." Steve Conrad adds:

We want to invert the whole premise of a road trip where the promise has always been, ‘anything can happen’, and say, what if anything can’t happen’? What does that do to the test subject? What are the breaking points?

Verbinski also talked a little about driverless car technology:

At a time when we give more and more liberty away for the benefits of technology, there is nothing more primal and direct as this specific physical abdication of control: Removing a steering wheel from the grasp of human being. The driver-less car is coming, It’s right around the bend, and it represents an immediate and relevant opportunity to explore the classic ‘Man against Machine’ genre spliced into a large scale Automotive Rally. Stating the obvious – Things are going to get out of control.

Doesn't this project sound kind of...lame? It does on paper anyway, in my opinion, but I'm hoping Gore Verbinski's directing will make up for the slightly weak premise. I'm curious to know which "funniest comedic actors of this generation" the director has in mind for the film. Who would you like to see star in Verbinski's DRIVERLESS CAR RACE flick?

Source: Deadline

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