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Spielberg to take on Kubrick science-fiction project

Steven Spielberg is to make his first movie in three years, it was announced yesterday; an 18-year science-fiction project begun by the late Stanley Kubrick.

The Oscar-winning director of Schindler's List, ET and Close Encounters of the Third Kind will write and direct AI (short for "artificial intelligence") for Warner Brothers, with production beginning in July. "Stanley had a vision for this project that was evolving over 18 years," Spielberg said in a statement. "I am intent on bringing to the screen as much of that vision as possible along with elements of my own."

Kubrick bought the rights to AI, a short story by the author Brian Aldiss, in 1982. It centres on a childless woman who adopts an android that resembles a five-year-old boy. He had reportedly considered it as his follow-up to last year's Eyes Wide Shut, even going so far as to commission the Hollywood computer graphics and special effects firm Industrial Light and Magic to do tests with robots and a child actor. But the project came to a halt when the director died last March.

According to Kubrick's brother-in-law, the late director would have been pleased that Spielberg had taken on his vision.

Jan Harlan told the Hollywood Reporter: "During preparations for AI, Stanley came to realize that Steven would actually be the ideal director for the project, and I know they talked extensively about a collaboration." Harlan, who produced all of Kubrick's films since Barry Lyndon, will serve as co-executive producer on AI, which will be credited as a Stanley Kubrick production.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura, president of Warner Brothers' worldwide theatrical production division, said: "There is only one person who can direct AI, and we couldn't be more excited and honoured that he has agreed... Steven Spielberg is one of the greatest living directors and I am sure that he will bring his singular humanity and unique vision to this incredible story."