Sony Pictures has had to navigate rough seas since last autumn, when the company was hacked, confidential documents were posted online, and The Interview was canceled. But the company is trying to bounce back with a comedy about cars equipped to navigate by themselves.
According to Deadline, Sony has bought an idea from the team of director Gore Verbinski and writer Steve Conrad that is tentatively named the Driverless Car Race. Deadline describes the film as “a large scale action adventure comedy that’s best described as a transcontinental car race with autonomous vehicles.”
The race in the film is intended to allow competing software companies to test their driverless cars, but the trial run becomes a battle for supremacy and a major road race as the start-up companies producing the cars vie for the lead. The subjects that ride in the cars try to seize control from the cars themselves, prompting chaos.
Verbinski commented, “Essentially, we are 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.” Conrad added, “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 pointed out that although the technology for driverless cars is imminent, humans will likely have a difficult time relinquishing control:
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.
Conrad and Verbinski joined for Pyongyang, the ill-fated film canceled after the hacking incident. Conrad has written The Pursuit of Happyness and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty remake.