The nebulous ’90s-era “mainframe” is beckoning to director Iain Softley once more. Recently speaking with Collider, the filmmaker discussed the real possibility of a sequel or reboot to his 1995 cult classic, Hackers.
“I don’t think any of us would want to do it unless we thought it was worthwhile to do. We wouldn’t do it as just a commercial exercise,” he said. “But there has been interest, from kind of mainstream producers. So it’s something that’s being actively considered for the first time ever, really.”
Starring a young Angelina Jolie and Matthew Lillard, the movie follows a group of teenage hackers who find themselves swept up in a vast corporate conspiracy. Whereas the original project was made in a time when the internet was still a novel entity, Softley thinks that a sequel could explore just how massive (and nefarious) the world wide web has become in the 21st century.
“What’s happened now, with big data, and the way that it’s actually broke through and become maybe the dominant force in the world, in terms of influencing politics and finance and elections, that I think there is a call, for the first time ever, that the Knights of the Round Table should be woken up to sort of answer the call again. And there are a couple of conversations,” he explained.
And, of course, social media is its own can of worms. However, Softley’s big concern is that any follow-up would be immediately obsolete upon release. Technology evolves much more quickly now than it did in the mid-90s. By today’s standards, Hackers is incredibly arachaic.
“It was a much more simple landscape at the time, in 1995,” he said. “It’s much more complex [now]. It’s much more dangerous that it would become outdated almost as soon as the film’s released. But there are certain cast members, certainly the guys who work with Chris Nolan, DNEG, they’re approached all the time about, ‘Why isn’t there [more Hackers]?’ And on the internet, on Twitter and social media, people are asking about that possibility.”
Also starring Johnny Lee Miller, Fisher Stevens, and Lorraine Bracco, Hackers opened in September of 1995. It received mixed reviews (currently holding a 33 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and only brought in $7.5 million domestically against a production budget of $20 million. Despite the faltering start, the film became a cult hit and a counterculture touchstone for a generation in the years that followed.