One of my favorite historical figures is legendary inventor Nikola Tesla, who was royally screwed over by Thomas Edison. His life work, ideas, and inventions inspired future scientists and storytellers over the years.
The film will be called Tesla, and it’s set to be directed by Michael Almereyda who teamed up with producer Uri Singer to bring this great man’s story to the big screen. These two talents have worked together on a few films already, including Experimenter with Peter Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder and the upcoming Marjorie Prime with Geena Davis, Tim Robbins and Jon Hamm.
According to Deadline, the film will “focus on the inventor’s life in America, telling of his struggles working for Edison as well as his encounters with other historical giants of the era such as George Westinghouse and J.P. Morgan. Following his often strange ideas and uncompromising vision — often to the point of severe financial setbacks — the story will attempt an authentic and honest look into Tesla’s life as an outsider and the legacy he left behind.”
Tesla led one of the most fascinating lives, and it’s a tragic story. Unfortunately, he was the subject of several smear campaigns led by Edison. Time and time again Tesla proved he was the better man and inventor, but in the end, things didn’t turn out well for him.
Born in Serbia in 1856, Tesla immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1880s and began working for Thomas Edison. What began as a warm professional relationship would turn into a fierce, hostile rivalry when Tesla quit Edison after feeling he had been unfairly compensated for designing improvements to the company’s inefficient motor and generators designs. Their rivalry would form the basis for the so-called “War of Currents” of the 1880s and ’90s, as Edison was a proponent of direct current, while Tesla advocated for alternating current transmission of electricity.
Tesla conceived of numerous innovations that eventually would be realized by other inventors including wireless communications, remote-control devices and even X-ray imaging. He also famously attempted to build what he called a “directed energy weapon,” popularly referred to as a death ray, though he was never able to make such a device work. He died poor and in relative obscurity in 1944 and since has become a huge influence on subsequent scientists as well as the popular culture embodiment of the “mad scientist” archetype.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how this movie turns out. I’ve been waiting for good a biopic to be made about Tesla for years, and I hope the filmmakers bring together a great cast and give us a film worthy of Tesla’s awesomeness.