Comics being made into films
Comics are the new spec-scripts, and Hollywood is very amenable to a script with big pictures...
22nd December 2008
Originator Shannon Eric Denton may have come up with the most un-Googleable new movie title ever (let me help), and to boot it will get confused with both the Blake Edwards 1979 comedy and its 2011 remake. The Boom! Studios comic proposes some Saw/Battle Royale-like shenanigans as ten unwilling contestants must hunt each other or die. Ice Cube is slated for this.
Leonardo DiCaprio disappointed many fans of Katsuhiro Otomo's 80s manga strip by declaring that he won't be in this, though his Appian Way production company has set SFX wizard Ruairi Robinson to direct. The title character is a child of God-like powers who may have started the third world war that decimated the 'Neo-Tokyo' that biker gangs skirt round. Blade Runner-tastic. Appian Way are also developing...
The personal split between McGowan and Rodriguez doesn't seem to have stopped Sonja, but Rodriguez's adaptation of the 1960s French space-kitten comic by Jean-Claude Forest has had other problems over the last two years, and it's looking bloody unlikely this side of 2010 whoever does it.
Batman 3 (a.k.a. Dark Knight 3, Untitled Batman project, 2010)
With not so much as a listing on any projects database, the rumour-mill has been going into white heat for five months as I write. Christopher Nolan's search for the right story seems to be getting somewhere. Eddie Murphy's tenure as the Riddler seems to have little credibility to it, whilst Rachel Weicz's casting as Catwoman has been lent more credibility, but only because it seems less outlandish casting. Until Mr. Nolan speaks, we know nothing.
Battle Angel (aka 'Battle Angel Alita', 2011)
Yukito Kishiro's 1990 manga about an amnesiac cyborg trying to recover her life and survive in the margins of the 'scrapyard' remains slated for a James Cameron 2011 adaptation despite Avatar having dominated the headlines, though there's some confusion about the project's status. Like Avatar, the project is intended for dual 3D and straight release.
Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam (aka Captain Marvel, 2010)
The Captain Marvel character is awfully close to Superman in capabilities, and the scrambling for 'dark' properties for superhero movies could have moved this project even further down the roster. Get Smart director Peter Segal is attached, and in his defence was talking about a 'darker' character well before The Dark Knight's release and box-office supremacy.
Buck Rogers (2011)
Philip Francis Nowlan's swashbuckling, future-dwelling astronaut is set to fly again with a new production from Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete's Odd Lot Entertainment and Avi Lerner at NuImage/Millennium. Frank Miller seems to have made a good enough impression with The Spirit to bag the helm, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
John Woo's retelling of the Arthur legend is based on Sam Sarkar's Radical GN, and finds Excalibur the sword replaced by Caliber the six-shooter as the medieval tale is reimagined in the old west.
Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future (2009)
Frank Hampson's jut-jawed man of the (retro) future is a very Brit proposition, and thus may face the same endless adaptation problems that The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy did for 25 years. Having relaunched the Eagle Comic's hero a second time (the first being courtesy of 2000AD in 1977) under Virgin comics, Richard Branson is backing the Dan Dare movie, which has been on the slate at various times for the last 30 years.
Contrary to earlier reports, Variety says that the hyper-acid mercenary played by Ryan Reynolds in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (see above) will have to await that film's box-office fate to know his own. Deadpool is about as post-modern and ironic a superhero as Marvel has to offer, arguably their most Tarantino-resque hero, but he's a strong flavour that might not attract the requisite investment for a full-budget superhero flick. According to MTV, the Deadpool movie has been in the works for 5 years, with Ryan Reynolds 'obsessed' to play the role.
Doctor Strange (2012)
Already the subject of two low-budget adaptations (in 1978 and 2007), there have been many contenders to helm and star in the tale of the New York superhero/mystic; Christian Bale - perhaps unimaginatively - is the latest to be offered the cape, while Guillermo del Toro has flirted endlessly with the project, which remains without a confirmed director.
Wendy and Richard Pini's 1978 cult comic - published at various times by both Marvel and DC - is finally set for the big screen after a number of false starts. DC hold sway as the film is being produced by Warners with Rawson Marshall Thurber at the helm.
Ex Machina (2010)
Wildstorm's post 9/11 tale of a more-than-usually empowered mayor of New York is once again resting with the indefatiguable Benderspink partnership. The tale concerns civil engineer Mitchell Hundred, who is blasted by an alien device at the base of the Brooklyn bridge and decides to use his resultant superpowers in more orthodox channels than most heroes. The film is at the scripting stage.
Flash Gordon (2010)
Sahara director Breck Eisner - currently prepping The Creature From The Black Lagoon - is heading up the new version of Alex Raymond's 1930s space opera, already adapted to huge success at the time and by Mike Hodges in 1980 (the TV version having enjoyed less success). The film is said to be in active development but without a start date, and could be one of the many safer bets Sony will need if 'straight' superhero movies start tanking.
Freedom Formula (2010)
Radical comics GN depicts a Robocop-style future where corporations rule and purpose-bred racers compete in tournaments with 'Vicious Cycles', exo-skeletal armour shells giving the wearer Iron Man-style powers, and depicts the story of 'Zee', the 'Neo' of this piece determined to bring down the whole corrupt system. Bryan Singer is producing the movie.