It seems like just yesterday when Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci, the screenwriters for summer smashes like Star Trek, Transformers (2007) and its 2009 sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, were in the trades every other day with new projects. A Star Trek sequel! Cowboys and Aliens! A view-master movie!
Instead, Kurtzman’s been given the go-ahead by DreamWorks and Steven Spielberg to direct his first full-length feature, Welcome to People, which is based on a script he wrote with Orci and director Jody Lambert. According to Vulture, Kurtzman decided to pitch his old script once he and Orci got hot in Hollywood, lest he be relegated to genre flicks.
Welcome to People is definitely not action or alien-friendly, according to what Vulture and other outlets like Heat Vision are describing.
Welcome to People tells the story of a struggling twentysomething man who, after flying home to L.A. for the funeral of his estranged record-producer father, discovers that the will stipulates that he must deliver $150,000 in cash to a 30-year-old alcoholic sister he never knew existed, and her troubled 12-year-old son. Determined to keep the money to solve his own problems, he’s nonetheless fascinated by his unknown kin and makes contact with the two without revealing who he really is.
Will an old script that they’re getting made by virtue of their success on other projects really fly? Although Kurtzman and Orci have proved their value on action/sci-fi fare, Welcome to People sounds melodramatic and what younger screenwriters come up with a la Zach Braff’s Garden State where everyone takes themselves very seriously and there’s a type of everything-and-the-kitchen-sink dysfunction junction. Then again, Steven Spielberg’s blessing carries a weight in Hollywood like few others, so perhaps the script itself has more dimension than what these tidbits suggest.
And in the distance, I hear the wails, “What about the view-master movie, dammit?!”