The interesting thing isn’t Keanu Reeves being cast as “Klaatu,” a sophisticated, well-spoken alien who brings a dire warning to everyone on earth in a “re-imagining” of the 1951 sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. The interesting thing is Variety‘s Michael Fleming reporting that producer Erwin Stoff and 20th Century Fox are envisioning a series of Reeves /Klaatu films — i.e., a “tentpole” opportunity.

Keanu Reeves, Michael Rennie

From Michael Rennie to Keanu Reeves — a clear-cut example of cultural devolution. Klaatu barada whoa.

Reeves “committed over the weekend to play Klaatu, a humanoid alien who arrives on Earth accompanied by an indestructible, heavily armed robot,” Fleming reported, “[along with a] warning to world leaders that their continued aggression will lead to annihilation by species watching from afar. The 1951 film’s premise, a response to the rise of the Cold War after WWII, is being updated, and the film will use advances in visual effects.”

So how do you keep this going as a tentpoler? Reeves/Klaatu delivering warning after warning and getting more and more pissed when humans ignore him? Reeves/Klaatu falling in love and deciding to stay on earth and taking up permanent residence in suburban Virginia? Klaatu running for President, starting a business…? Every continuing scenario idea sounds ridiculous. It’s a single, stand-alone film — Klaatu warns earth to shape up or else…that’s it.

Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) directing from a script by David Scarpa. Pic will either start shooting in the late fall or early 2008.