Paul Haggis Discusses $100 Million Sci-Fi Feature 'Ship Breaker'

Paul Haggis Show Me Hero Premiere - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Paul Haggis Show Me Hero Premiere - H 2015

The Oscar-winner will write and direct a film adaptation of Paolo Bacigalupi's novel set after the melting of the polar ice caps.

Paul Haggis has revealed details of his $100 million adaptation of post-apocalyptic young adult novel Ship Breaker.

The book, the first of three in a series by American science fiction author Paolo Bacigalupi, is set in a future after the polar ice caps have melted and major cities have disappeared beneath rising sea waters.

Haggis, who has won Oscars for both directing (Crash) and writing (Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby), explained to The Hollywood Reporter he had been attracted by the project — which he confirmed would have a budget of around $100 million — because it involved environmental and ecological topics.

"The books are set hundreds of years in the future, after civil wars, after the ice caps have retreated and the world is populated by people who know nothing of our times," he said.

"I liked the idea that you could take that idea [of a post-apocalyptic world ignorant of the 21st century] and explore hopes and fears through that."

Haggis, who was talking in Morocco at the Marrakech Film Festival, where he gave a master class, said that being able to obliquely explore themes that touched on global warming and environmental destruction was one reason the project caught his eye.

"Climate change is a concern of mine, and taking on a film that is not just a narrative about that is attractive," he said, adding that tackling weighty subjects directly does not always work.

"I made that mistake in [2007 crime thriller] In the Valley of Elah — although I think it is one of my best films — but at that time, no one wanted to see it. They did not want to talk about issues that were too powerful at the time."

Ship Breaker, the first of three films, will be produced by a new production shingle Far East, set up by producer Philip Lee (The Revenant, Assassin's Creed, Cloud Atlas) and his partner, Hollywood financier Markus Barmettler.