Ryan Gosling Boards Comic Book Adaptation The Underwater Welder

Momentum-riding heartthrob Ryan Gosling will produce a movie adapting Jeff Lemire’s acclaimed graphic novel The Underwater Welder.

Ryan Gosling in La La Land
Photo: Lionsgate

While ubiquitous industry adulation for La La Land wasn’t enough to yield Ryan Gosling a gold prize to match co-star Emma Stone at this year’s flub-overshadowed Oscars, he still happens to be one of the most highly-sought actors out there. However, it seems that Gosling has proactively sought a project in a film adaptation of an inventive, arguably avant-garde, graphic novel from a comic book writer and artist who’s also well-respected in the spandex hero book circles.

It is being reported (via Deadline) that Ryan Gosling will help develop a film adaptation of writer/artist Jeff Lemire’s 2012 Top Shelf/IDW-published graphic novel The Underwater Welder. Gosling joins the project as a producer, joining Kean Kao of Waypoint and Anonymous Content. Chris Staros of Top Shelf and Ted Adams of IDW are attached as executive producers. Yet, the obvious question asking if Gosling will star in the film is currently unanswered, since the project has yet to nab a director or screenwriter, much less confirmed cast members. In the afterglow of the La La Land awards season wins, Gosling will next appear in this month’s romcom Song to Song and this fall’s belated sci-fi follow-up Blade Runner 2049 before reuniting with director Damien Chazelle to star in the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man.

A New York Times bestseller, The Underwater Welder centers on a Nova Scotia diver named Jack Joseph. While Jack’s occupation regularly acquaints him with literal pressure, it appears that the figurative variety proves to be overwhelming when he learns he’s going to be a father. However, while Jack works beneath the sea repairing an oil rig, the story becomes an intriguing hybrid, dealing Jack’s alienation from his wife and unborn child (exemplified in the time-tested movie metaphor of SCUBA diving) and an apparent supernatural encounter he experiences that has a mind-blowing, life-altering effect. The story’s tone has been compared to The Twilight Zone.

The report of Jeff Lemire’s passion project getting a movie coming on a day in which Hugh Jack’s final X-Men outing Logan hits theaters is coincidental, since Lemire was involved in the Marvel Comics movie-inspiring series Wolverine: Old Man Logan. Lemire’s work was also read in DC’s Justice League: Trinity War, Justice League Dark, Constantine, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The New Guard, Extraordinary X-Men, Moon Knight and Valiant’s Bloodshot Reborn.

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The Underwater Welder certainly sounds like it could become one of the more interesting comic book adaptations to manifest in a long time.