A proper Tesla movie is on the way with Ethan Hawke on board to play the famed inventor. The movie is being pitched by Millenium Media to buyers at the European Film Market, which kicks off this week in Berlin, Germany. The creative team is in place and, assuming Millenium can generate interest in the project at the event, we’re going to see a true biopic about Nikola Tesla in the not-too-distant future. Though, this is far from the first time that the Serbian-American figure has been portrayed on screen in recent years.
Most recently, Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men: Days of Future Post) played Nikola Tesla in The Current War, which was released last year but didn’t make much of an impact. The movie features Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse and documents the war that determined who’s electrical system would power the future. Not only was this movie not particularly well-liked (currently boasting a 36 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but Tesla took a back seat in the movie, as the story didn’t really revolve around him. There’s also Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, which features the late David Bowie in the role of Tesla.
The Prestige is certainly the better movie, but it’s far from a biopic, as Nikola Tesla is a relatively small character in the movie who aides Hugh Jackman’s character on his quest for a truly great magic trick that ultimately ventures into the realm of sci-fi. In this case, the movie, which is simply titled Tesla, sounds like it will be a much more straightforward and traditional biopic that documents the life of the inventor, engineer, physicist, and futurist. It’s said that Thomas Edison will play a role in this movie, which makes sense, as the two had a well-documented and rather fierce rivalry with one another.
There’s no word yet on who may play Thomas Edison in Tesla, but Ethan Hawke will reunite with director Michael Almereyda on the project. Hawke worked with him on both Hamlet and Cymbaline. Almereyda also wrote the script for the Tesla biopic, reportedly giving it a rewrite recently while working on Marjorie Prime. The movie will be produced by Passage Pictures and Campbell Grobman Films.
Nikola Tesla is an important figure in history, as his contributions to the design of alternating current and the AC motor helped deliver electricity to the world. He died at the age of 86 in New York City, with his work falling into relative obscurity. However, over the years, he’s been given much more credit for his work publically and has become something of a popular historical figure. The Hollywood Reporter doesn’t have word on when Tesla could arrive in theaters. But assuming things go well, it’s not unreasonable to assume we could see this movie sometime next year, as it sounds like the key pieces of the puzzle are firmly in place.