Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence is set to direct a science fiction movie based on Philip K. Dick’s 1960 book Vulcan’s Hammer. Dick’s novels and short stories have been adapted into many movies and TV series, mostly within the sci-fi genre. 1982’s Blade Runner is adapted from the short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and 1990’s Total Recall is based on the short story We Remember it for You Wholesale. Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report is also based on a Dick novella.
The Amazon TV show The Man in the High Castle is also based on Dick’s work, as well as Richard Linklater’s 2006 interpolated rotoscope film A Scanner Darkly, starring Keanu Reeves. 2011’s The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt is based on Dick’s short story The Adjustment Team.
Francis Lawrence is a prolific music video director. He also directed the horror movies Constantine starring Keanu Reeves, I Am Legend starring Will Smith – both based on graphic novels. Lawrence directed all three Hunger Games sequels (Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2), as well as spy movie Red Sparrow – all starring Jennifer Lawrence.
Vulcan’s Hammer is set after a devastating world war, when the 70 nations of Earth form the Unity Party. They then cede global governance to the Vulcan AI system, which algorithmically dictates policies for Unity to carry out. But after Vulcan is attacked and a special agent is murdered, Unity director William Barris is called to unravel the mystery to figure out who wants to destroy the system that he has dedicated his life to.
Artificial intelligence is a common theme in Dick’s work, as is outsourcing human functions such as making dreams and memories, and making decisions about laws and crimes to computers. Much of Dick’s work seems to be a warning about over-reliance on technology and much of it is eerily prescient.
Vulcan’s Hammer will be produced by Philip K. Dick’s daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, who also produced The Adjustment Bureau and The Man in the High Castle. She is quoted in Deadline as saying: “We’re very pleased to partner with the passionate team at New Republic and thrilled by Francis’s ambitious vision for bringing Vulcan’s Hammer to the big screen.”