Sony Pictures has acquired a pitch from director Gore Verbinski and writer Steve Conrad for a project revolving around driverless cars. The comedy reunites the writer and director, who previously collaborated on The Weather Man and were set to make the North Korean-set Pyongyang, before 20th Century Fox pulled out in December. This new movie is currently untitled, but it is being called the Driverless Car Race for now.
The story is described as a large-scale action-adventure that centers on a transcontinental race with driverless cars. The race begins as a beta test between competing software companies that would spearhead a driverless car initiative, but it quickly takes an unexpected turn as these companies turn this test into a major race from Paris to Beijing. The plot centers on normal people who are passengers in these autonomous cars, who try to take control of the experiment as these vehicles go off-road and off the grid. Sony has put the movie on the fast track to production. Here's what director Gore Verbinski had to say in a statement.
"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. 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."
Screenwriter Steve Conrad also offered the following statement.
"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?"
The plot was compared to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and other star-studded road-trip comedies such as The Cannonball Run, Speed Zone!, Million Dollar Mystery and Rat Race. It's possible that Steve Carell, who was set to star in Pyongyang before it was shelved, could sign on for the project, but no cast members have been confirmed.