Lionsgate is a weird company. They produce lots and lots of junk – War, Midnight Meat Train, Saw IV - but they also distribute movies like Francis Ford Coppola’s Youth Without Youth and they brought Paul Haggis’ Crash to an Oscar win. They’re a schizophrenic company, making their rent by making awful genre pictures, but maybe hoping to one day be something a little bit more respectable and occasionally spitting out a Frida or a Hotel Rwanda. One step lately has been to move to respectable genre pictures, like William Friedkin’s Bug. Now they look to be taking a bigger step, by optioning the rights to the life of Albert Einstein.
Lionsgate has acquired not just Einstein’s life rights but also the rights to an Einstein bio, Einstein: His Life and Universe. The plan is to make a movie about the genius’ formative years, from ages 20 to 40, which is when he won the Nobel Prize in Physics. "That is when he was at his most prolific, a rebellious character who challenged every theory and was ostracized by the scientific community, but who redefined how we look at the world and how energy plays into everything we do," said producer Alan Polsky.
Einstein’s life was marked by some indiscretion, including some sleeping around, so there’s your hook. And done right a movie like this, about the triumphant rise of one of the great minds of all time, could bring Lionsgate back to the Oscar party with a movie they made. And if not, they could always cross him into the Saw franchise… imagine the death traps a young Einstein could come up with!
Unless it all turns out that Lionsgate production president Mike Paseornek thought he was being pitched the remake right to Yahoo Serious’ Young Einstein…