The filmmaker was in negotiations to write and direct back in May, but 20th Century Fox didn't want to wait for his scehdule to clear, now that he is committed to directing Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 spin-off The Sinister Six, along with Netflix's Daredevil TV series.
The project is based on a 2012 e-book by Andy Weir, which chronicles an astronaut who becomes stranded on Mars and tries to find a way back to Earth. While it may sound similar to last year's blockbuster Gravity, the story is said to be much different, described as a cross between Apollo 13 and Cast Away.
Matt Damon is not officially attached at this time, and his involvement is said to hinge upon who the studio selects as the new director. Simon Kinberg, who worked with the actor on Elysium, is producing through his Genre Films company, alongside Aditya Sood.