Story of Your Life Might be Getting a Blander Title: Arrival

Illustration for article titled Story of Your Life Might be Getting a Blander Title: Arrival

We’ve been eagerly waiting to see the upcoming adaptation of Ted Chaing’s short story, The Story of Your Life, ever since we first heard about it. A preview screening for the film appears to point to a name change for the film.


According to a listing for a preview screening of the movie, it’s looking like the name for the film will be changed from Story of Your Life to the much blander Arrival. The film, which stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, follows a linguist who is tasked with trying to understand the aliens who have landed on Earth.

The name change strikes us as something similar to another film: Edge of Tomorrow (or is it Live. Die. Repeat.?), which was originally titled All You Need Is Kill. The original title certainly doesn’t scream ‘alien invasion’, but Arrival is just... bland. (And, might lead people to believe that it’s starring Charlie Sheen.)

There’s no word on when this movie will be hitting theaters, but it sounds like there’s an early cut that’s being tested out. Hopefully, it’ll be less bland than the new title.


Andrew Liptak is the former Weekend editor of io9/Gizmodo. He is the co-editor of War Stories: New Military Science Fiction and hails from Vermont.


Brian Burns

I am very curious to see what comes with this film. I am a long time fan of Chiang’s work, and as far as I know, this is the first and so far only attempt at a film adaptation for one of his stories. The success or failure of this film could really affect the possibility of further adaptations.

It is interesting to me that they picked this particular story to adapt. None of Chiang’s stories I have read (and I am pretty sure I have read them all) really fit into the usual sci-fi action genre you see in most Hollywood sci-fi. One of his earlier works, “Understand,” is probably the closest in that it features some cat and mouse espionage and some level of lethal conflict, but if made into a film would look too much like a blend of Scanners and Limitless. In “Story of your Life” there is no real external conflict, no villians or heroes, no threat to humanity or individual characters. It really is just an exploration of some connections between language, cognition, and ultimately perception of reality (common themes in Chiang’s work). I think the story will be ill-served if they tack on some generic evil bad guy who has to be stopped, even if the evil bad guy is one of the humans rather than the aliens. So I am curious to see what they do with this story and how much they change to make it more Hollywood sci-fi.

Chiang has other works that I think would work better for a film adaptation. I’d love to see “Exhalation” but to see a visual representation of his intricately described clockwork, pneumatic robots, but I’d say “Seventy-Two Letters” would make for better cinema, especially if we crank up the combat golem action.