Inspiring much of the cyberpunk movement and influencing countless sci-fi tales, William Gibson's seminal 1984 novel Neuromancer has long struggled to earn a full-fledged movie adaptation. It's story of a hotheaded hacker who gets burned when he messes with the wrong people seems perfect for a taut and tense thriller, yet a film version hasn't yet gotten off the ground. The latest filmmaker to lead the charge is Splice writer-director Vincenzo Natali, who has been developing a would-be adaptation since 2010. Though little news has surfaced on the project since then, a curious casting update could mean a Neuromancer movie is closer to reality than ever before.

Movie Hole reports pay-or-play deals have been offered to Mark Wahlberg and Liam Neeson for the feature's leads. Should he sign on, Wahlberg would play the novel's antihero Henry Dorsett Case, the aforementioned hacker whose had his brain damaged after double-crossing a former underworld employer, leaving him unable to access his this dystopian world's cyberspace—which jacks into one's brain directly—and desperate for a cure. Neeson is up for the role of Armitage, a shady former soldier with mysterious motives who can offers Case a cure in exchange for his indentured servitude.

Natali is a daring filmmaker who creates strange and enveloping film worlds. While the swagger Wahlberg typically brings to roles seems jarring with Natali's cool and muted emotional tone, it could prove a dynamic mix. And really, Neeson can't be beat for roles that call for mystique and intense glowering, so that seems a solid call. From here it will be intriguing to see whom the filmmakers have in mind for the third lead, a mercenary "street samurai" named Molly Millions. But with Natali in post production on his recently wrapped Haunter, it could be a while before casting is nailed down. Still, Movie Hole's source expects Neuromancer will kick into gear soon, and should hit theaters by 2014.

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