Writer/director lines up directorial debut.

Focus Features International has announced that Academy Award nominated Irish filmmaker Ruairi Robinson (‘Fifty Percent Grey,’ ‘Blinky™’) is set to make his feature debut with the sci-fi thriller ‘The Last Days On Mars.’

Penned by acclaimed screenwriter Clive Dawson, the film will feature the design talents of the extraordinary team at WETA (‘District 9,’ ‘X-Men First Class,’ ‘Avatar’) behind the special effects. The film is currently in pre-production, and is expected to start shooting early 2012 on location in Jordan and at Shepperton Studios in the UK.

Official plot synopsis:

As their last day on Mars draws to a close, the astronaut crew is on the verge of a major breakthrough – collected rock specimens reveal microscopic evidence of life. Meanwhile, communication is underway with AURORA, the approaching spacecraft that will relieve the crew of their operations. In their last hours on the planet, two astronauts go back to SITE 9, a cavernous valley on the surface of Mars, to collect further evidence of their discovery. But a routine excavation turns deadly when one of them falls to his death and his body taken host and re-animated by the very life form they sought to discover.

Qwerty Films’ Michael Kuhn (‘The Duchess,’ ‘Being John Malkovich’) and Andrea Cornwell (‘The Scouting Book for Boys’) will produce.

As reported back in May, Robinson is also attached to direct ‘The Fallen,’ another high-concept sci-fi that the Irish writer/director is developing with Lionsgate U.K. and producer Kris Thykier.