Monday, November 17, 2008

Zoinks!

75 comics being made into films

Martin Anderson


Comics are the new spec-scripts, and Hollywood is very amenable to a script with big pictures...

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.

Runaways (2011)
This Marvel comics original finds teenagers fleeing to make up the sins of their parents, who they have discovered to be covert super-villains. A finished script is expected by early 2009 and Runaways is said to spearhead Marvel's post-Avengers strategy.

Ramayan 3392 A.D. (2011)
Mandalay pictures are producing this adaptation of the 2006 GN, which tells the story of legendary Indian warrior Prince Rama, a reincarnation of Vishnu. The original Indian epic has been moved to the kind of post-apocalypse setting currently so bankable in Hollywood.

The Leading Man (2011)
Effectively a combination of The Saint, Jason King and The Persuaders, Nick Walker is a globe-trotting superstar actor who - Elvis-like - does some serious spying on the side. Wanted producer Mark Platt is hoping for more comic book gold.

War Heroes (2011)
We discussed the absurd speed at which his comics are made into films with Mark Millar in our recent interview, and his latest work is no exception, with his tale of enhanced supersoldiers sitting currently with Ghost Rider producer Michael De Luca.

Sleeper (2011)
Holden Carver - known as 'The Conductor' - has absorbed the ability to transfer pain inflicted on him back to the source, making him a useful intelligence operative. Presumably, then, the torture scenes will be refreshingly short. This project - produced by Sam Raimi - is currently beguiling Tom Cruise.

Kick Ass (2009)
Another Mark Millar project that's highly anticipated and pretty much finished, though no release date has yet been set for the story of the self-styled teen superhero whose first successful tussle with bad guys gets YouTubed to world acclaim.

The Goon (2010)
Eric Powell's 1999 GN about a musclebound mob-flunkie and sidekick Franky is being produced as an animated movie by David Fincher. It's set to continue Watchmen's rather 1930s vibe, as you can probably tell from this poster.

Caliber (2010)
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.

The Leaves (2010)
Originator Kevin J. Walsh is adapting his own recent graphic novel for the screen. Here a New York doctor visiting India to attend a friend's funeral is told by a fortune-teller that he is the bringer of the apocalypse. Summit entertainment are producing the movie.

Last Blood (2010)
This graphic novel about a post-apocalyptic world where vampires must protect a core of humanity from zombies in order to have a reliable food supply, is available online. A History of Violence producers Chris Bender and J.C. Spink - who have 49 other titles in development including Zombies Of Mass Destruction - is working with Family Guy supremo David A. Goodman on the adaptation.

Buck Rogers (2011)
John Flint Dille's swashbuckling, future-dwelling astronaut is set to fly again with a new production from Avi Lerner at NuImage/Millennium. The project still needs a studio and a script.

Hard Boiled (2011)
Frank Miller is set to helm the movie version of his own graphically violent 1990 graphic novel, where a tax collector called Carl Seitz discovers himself to be a Terminator-style cybernetic assassin. Spirit producer Deborah Del Prete is also on board.

ZMDs: Zombies of Mass Destruction (2011)
Underworld creator Kevin Grevioux is set to launch a new supernatural franchise with the intriguing story of military-bred zombies who are dropped into enemy territory at night but have been designed to dissolve at daybreak, but - wouldn't you know it -one of the crusty critters fails to oblige.

Thulsa Doom (2010)
Gladiator/Push actor Djimon Hounsou is set to spin off from the mainstream world of Conan as the Cimmerian's arch-enemy, a sorcerer of great power (played in the 1981 Schwarzeneggar movie by James Earl Jones).

Sherlock Holmes (2009)
The film that definitively proves graphic novels are the new spec script, as writer Lionel Wigram's source comic remains unpublished and was produced in lieu of a speculative script. Robert Downey Jr. has an unlikely Doctor Watson in Jude Law, and this is, it seems, the begin of a career departure for hard-knuckled Guy Ritchie.

Red (2010)
Warren Ellis's 2003 thriller - about a retired CIA assassin that a new administration feel is a threat - is the first DC property to leave the fold for other producers, and will be produced by Transformers/2's Lorenzo di Bonaventura, amongst others.

Ocean (2010)
Described as "an alien thriller with a fresh take on the origin of man.", Ocean is another Warren Ellis original heading screenward, this time under Gianni Nunnari and Nick Wechsler (already involved in comic-book films from Frank Miller's Ronin and 300). Angel-like bodies are discovered in coffins in the frozen oceans of Europa, and a UN weapons inspector must fight off a powerful company looking to exploit the discovery.

Hiding In Time (2010)
Christopher Long's now hard to find GN - about a witness relocation program that uses time-travel to hide witnesses - is being brought to life by Max Payne adaptor Beau Thorne and Terminator Salvation producer Dan Lin, and this tale of assassins who discover the chronological locations of their targets and go in pursuit of them certainly seems close to the Terminator world.

Elfquest (2011)
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.

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.

Illegal Aliens (2010)
Further reinforcing the vanishing division between comics and films, Vanguard comics are proposing simultaneous film/comic launches, of which this tale of a reporter in search of the 'chupacabra monster' is one. Jeremiah exec producer Scott Mitchell Rosenberg is on board.

Resurrection (2010)
Marc Guggenheim's new GN depicts a world recovering from alien invasion (by a race called 'the bugs'). As the aliens depart, society must reform and retrench, so it's basically Mad Max meets Survivors. Universal have picked the project up and it may be the first 'post-post apocalypse' movie to be released.

Ghost In The Shell (2010)
Earlier this year, Spielberg was angling to make the first non-CGI version of the post-cyberpunk anime series that features Motoko Kusanagi, a female cyborg fighting technological crimes in a future Japan (what are the odds the locale will change?). The project is being developed by Dreamworks and Marvel supremo Ari Arad.

North Wind (2011)
Boom! Studios tale of antarctic apocalypse is being brought to the screen by Eureka producer Andrew Cosby. North Wind centres on those who have survived a new ice-age and are determined to rid themselves of the tyrant who has risen from the chaos to rule them.

Wonder Woman (2011)
Possibly the most controversial piece of casting of the decade, there are a million forums alive with speculation as to who will play DC comics' Amazonian warrior, though Jessica Biel is looking hot right now. Errr. Anyway Joss Whedon's wasted two years on the project are further indication that no-one really knows what to do with such a cheerful character post-Dark Knight.

Harbinger (2010)
Brett Ratner is heading up this very X-Men-like project, which deals with a group of outcast teenagers - the difference is that their powers must be activated by the 'Omega Harbinger'. After the poor critical reception of X3, this adaptation of Jim Shooter's comic could be Ratner's chance to get the concept nailed.

The Megas (2010)
T3 director Jonathan Mostow created this graphic novel for Virgin comics, presumably as a spec-GN for a movie. Megas postulates an alternate America where the founding fathers created an aristocracy instead of a democracy, and centres on a detective investigating the seedy underbelly of the American royal family. Mostow himself is heading up...

Namor: The Submariner (aka Submariner, 2010)
Originally with Chris Columbus, this Marvel Studios tale of the Atlantean wing-heeled hero has had Angel's David Boreanaz attached for some time. Central character Prince Namor will be caught up in an ecological war between the land-dwellers and the sea-denizens whose habitat they have polluted. Jonathan Mostow is still said to be attached to the project.

Starkweather (2010)
Like a cross between Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Doctor Strange, this entry from Archaia Studios Press tells of a young boy descended from sorcerers but ignorant of the fact until a coven seek him out in his twenties. Another one that'll be hard to Google, thanks to the 1950s murderer that inspired Badlands. Chris Bender and J.C. Spink (see Final Blood above) are attached.

The Avengers (2011)
Slated for a prime summer slot on July 15th 2011, this is set to be one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the next few years, directed by Jon Favreau with Robert Downey Jr. firmly signed to it as Tony Stark/Iron Man and new 'Rhodey' Don Cheadle attached too. Marvel Studios are financing and Paramount distrubuting, as usual. Rumours are obviously rife regarding casting.

Iron Man 2 (2010)
7th May 2010 and the wait will be over for Downey Jr. to rocket upwards for a sequel to the smash hit 2008 Marvel Studios' debut. Terence Howard's replacement by Don Cheadle (see The Avengers above) has caused a stir, but we're all pleased that Downey Jr. has signed on the dotted line up to Iron Man 3.

Nick Fury (2010)
Jack Kirby's streetwise S.H.I.E.L.D supremo was a huge hit in a guest spot with Samuel L. Jackson at the end of the credits for Iron Man, and many are hoping that Jackson will return and make the film that Shaft should have been.

Red Sonja (2009)
The Robert Rodriguez-produced adaptation of the adventures of the Marvel comics heroine (a Conan spin-off derived very loosely from a Robert E. Howard short story) generated much interest at comicon when Rodriguez and Sonja star Rose McGowan showed off some sexy new posters, but there's some speculation the film may go straight to disc.

Barbarella (2009)
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.

Whiteout (2009)
Long completed, this Kate Beckinsale horror adaptation (of the 1998 graphic novel by Greg Rucka) keeps getting bumped, and is currently slated for a release in September of 2009. Whiteout concerns a US marshall (Beckinsale) investigating Antarctica's first murder.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
The movie they perhaps should have made to begin with, given how he hogged the three X-Men movies, this will show us the genesis of self-healing mutant Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) in the early 20th century as he makes an enemy of Sabretooth and gets kitted up with the lethal blades. Zack Snyder conceded the film to Rendition director Gavin Hood.

X-Men Origins: Magneto (2009)
Further details on the plot of the other X-prequel came to light recently, and producer Lauren Shuler Donner spoke further on the matter , describing the film as centred around Erik Lensher and Charles Xavier "in their early, early years." Despite a 2009 release date the latest project note states "A script exists, but there is no green light for the project at the moment.", and this refutes earlier intelligence on the matter.

Thor (2010)
Kenneth Branagh was entranced by the classical tale of Marvel comics' Norse god with a big hammer, which remains without a leading man (Daniel Craig turned it down). The film is slated for release 16th July 2010. Check out our interview with Thor comic writer Marko Djurdjevic here.

The First Avenger: Captain America (2011)
Jurassic Park III director and effects guru Joe Johnston is slated to direct the tale of the New York fine arts student who takes a super-serum that soups him up for action against the Nazis in WWII America.

Akira (2011)
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...

Ninja Scroll (2011)
Another anime outing that DiCaprio is producing but not acting in, Ninja Scroll is set in feudal Japan where a ninja must fight eight demonic entities. Watchmen writer Alex Tse will be helming when he's done with the new script for Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man.

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.

10 (2011)
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.

Silver Surfer (2009)
2009 is looking a bit unlikely for the (rumoured) return of Doug Jones as the shiny semi-hero of Fantastic Four: Rise Of The SIlver Surfer. J. Michael Straczynski revealed that the character's association with the unappreciated FF2 doesn't help. Galactus is rumoured to return, hopefully not just as a VGER-type cloud. Dark City's Alex Proyas refused the helm, and Fox is rumoured to be awaiting the reception of the Wolverine movie before committing.

Tintin (2010)
The trilogy based around Hergé's 1930s gee-whiz reporter is having trouble getting started considering that Spielberg and Peter Jackson are involved. Steven Moffat decided to abandon his three-film commitment in order to helm Doctor Who, and the film - a 3D CGI-fest using motion capture - received unfavourable funding terms from Paramount after Universal refused a 50% investment in the trilogy. Spielberg is slated for Tintin1 and Jackson for 2.

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (2009)
Boldly titling itself to hopes of an instant franchise, the character - known Britside as 'Action Man' - was a toy a long time before he was in comics, and Paramount is modestly positioning the film aside from big summer hitters like Star Trek and Wolverine with an August 2007 release. Ray Parks, Sienna Miller and Rachel Nichols are headlining the movie, where special US operatives pursue Asian arms dealers.

Sin City 2 (2010)
Frank Miller returns to helm the sequel to the stylistic 2005 hit. Based on the GN story "A Dame to Kill For", Clive Owen reprises his role as Dwight McCarthy to take revenge on (a rumoured) Rose McGowan, an ex-lover who makes an unwelcome return to his life.

Sin City 3 (2010)
Miller is slating the second Sin City sequel to cover the 'Hell and Back' story featuring ex-navy SEAL Wallace, a vigilante character that Miller says was based on Johnny Depp, though the actor is not officially attached to the role.

Proximity Effect (2009)
An inversion of the powers-scenario in Hancock, the heroes in Proximity Effect only have their special abilities within thirty feet of each other, and the story suggests other historical couples besides the heroes who were 'source' and 'siphon', such as Hitler and Eva Braun. Creator Roger Mincheff is set to produce, but the project hasn't been heard of for quite a while. You can read two issues of the source comic online here.

Sgt. Rock (2012)
The film of DC comics' NCO looks to be on the back burner for the time being according to producer Joel Silver. Guy Ritchie, currently directing Robert Downey Jr as Sherlock Holmes (see above) wrote a 'great' script but the project's thunder has been stolen by Inglorious Basterds.

Spider-Man 4 (2011)
Shrek 3 and Robots writer David Lindsay-Abaire is the latest esteemed scribe to get involved in Spidey 4 after the early draft of Zodiac writer James Vanderbilt. The usual speculation about potential villains is rife, with Carnage and Lizard rumoured. Sam Raimi confirmed his involvement this year.

Superman: Man of Steel (2011)
Despite profitability, Bryan Singer's 2006 Donner-loving reboot/sequel Superman Returns inspired little studio confidence for a franchise run, and many - including Mark Millar (see link in War Heroes above) have been seeking to completely reboot the franchise. Brandon Routh is not as out of the picture as many think, it seems, and neither is Bryan Singer. But how far will they have to reboot the franchise to get Superman off the ground again?

Virulents (2010)
An ancient Indian evil emerges in war-torn Afghanistan to menace the troops; they're not zombies and they're not quite vampires but they're rather nasty - and terrorists to boot! Virgin comics Indian push proceeded apace in 2007 with this GN. Max Payne's John Moore is attached to the project.

War in Heaven (2009)
Touted as 'the next 300', WiH was snapped up as a spec-GN in a 2007 bidding war, and tells the 'Braveheart-like' tale of the battle between angels Gabriel and Michael and soon-to-be-fallen Lucifer. Not much has been heard since.

Y: The Last Man (2010)
Yet another apocalypse setting, this time for Vertigo/DC Comics' tale of the last man on Earth. But this ain't I Am Legend, because the plague that decimates humanity only affects 'Y' chromosome possessors, leaving central character Yorick Brown amongst 3 billion women, who (perhaps not surprisingly) begin to create an ultrafeminist society. Disturbia's D.J. Caruso and Carl Ellsworth are on board.

The Witchblade (2009)
Battlestar Galactica's Michael Rymer is set to helm the movie adaptation of the Top Cow productions GN, in the wake of the TV version. The eponymous weapon is (of course) supernatural, a 'one-ring'-style sentient artifact that has afforded great powers to women such as Cleopatra and Joan Of Arc and now falls into the hands of NYPD detective Sara Pezzini. She doesn't look like any cop I've ever seen.

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.

Night and Fog (2010)
2008's Studio 407 GN Night and Fog tells the Hammer-inspired story of a military experiment that goes awry on a remote island, leaving a group of survivors to fend for themselves against the majority of the small population that have turned into monsters. Studio 407 have specifically launched a slate of titles aimed at getting made into movies, and Death Defying Acts producer Kirk D'Amico is on board for this adaptation.You can check out some of the pages of the original artwork here.

Luke Cage (2009)
Marvel's titanium-hard man - a streetwise, Shaft-style Harlem bruiser given body-enhancing drugs whilst in prison for a crime he did not commit - is being backed by John Singleton (said to have abandoned The A-Team for the project) with Tyrese Gibson favoured for the lead.

Justice League: Mortal (aka Justice League Of America, 2011)
An early 2009 start date was cited in August 2008 for the film depicting a super-assembly of DC heroes including The Flash (Adam Brody). Green Lantern, Batman and Wonder Woman, with George Miller directing. Evidence of active pre-production has set tongues wagging further. Australian model Megan Gale is strongly hyped as Wonder Woman, though there's no casting association with the beleagured Wonder Woman movie (see above).

Iron Fist (2012)
Popularly thought to only have a chance if Luke Cage (above) does well (the character developed out of that series), Iron Fist is resting in development hell with Ray Park thought to have left behind his association with the role.

Green Lantern (2010)
Ryan Gosling has been hotly tipped to wear the green ring of power in the movie of the DC comics verdant hero. The script is said to be good at the moment, and producer Donald De Line confirmed his enthusiasm for it. The fact that Green Lantern is more a suit than a person (worn by a series of fictional characters) takes the pressure out of casting a franchise in a Doctor Who/James Bond -style.

The Green Hornet (2010)
Hong Kong martial arts cinema God Stephen Chow is set to direct (post-Kevin Smith) and play sidekick Kato to Seth Rogen's Hornet in an adaptation written by the pair in association with Pineapple Express co-writer Evan Goldberg. Since the production is set to be pretty 'straight', the casting of corpulent Rogen has caused some curiosity.

The Flash (2010)
The film of DC's lightning-fast sprinter seems to be tying its shoelaces at the moment. Likelihood seems to be that the JLA movie is confusing the issue in a way Batman never needs to worry about, so it could be quite a wait for Wally West to get moving. Dark Knight producer Charles Roven concedes that there has been no progress on the project.

R.I.P.D. (2010)
This tale of holy cops patrolling the afterlife in the 'Rest In Peace Department' is outlined as part of a seven picture deal between Dark Horse comics and Universal. Associated Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin will probably get round to this before getting anywhere near The Flash (see above) as it would be trading in a less crowded market and for less cash than Flash.

The Hands of Shang-Chi (2009)
This kung-fu crazy character emerged from Marvel comics at the height of the early 70s martial-arts boom and the stories incorporated Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu and Nayland Smith characters. Ang Lee is in the producer's chair with Forbidden Kingdom stunt arranger Woo-ping Yuen set to direct, but most of the news on the project is pretty old.

Hack/Slash (2009)
Devil's Due Publishing output this GN - about a typical female horror-film victim who strikes back - in 2004 to great acclaim, and screenwriter Justin Marks told CBR in October of 2008 that the project is going ahead just fine, profiled as "comedy with the gore in place"; so it all sounds very Buffy-esque so far.

Maintenance (2009)
Terminator: Salvation's McG has long been set to direct Jim Massey's tale of Terrormax Inc., who supply 'doomsday devices' and weapons to supervillains. You can check out 32 pages online gratis at the Onipress website; the movie may not be coming as quickly, but it still seems to be on.

Maybe...Maybe Not (2010)
Stepping away from the superhero realm, Ralf König's tale of a love-cheat forced to shack up with a gay friend has already been made as the German film Der Bewegte Mann (1994), and this English-language version is being prepped by Quarantine producer Clint Culpepper for Screen Gems.

Gamekeeper (2010)
Former 2000AD editor Andy Diggle (also a force on Judge Dredd and Swamp Thing) wrote this tale of a caretaker at a Scottish estate who uses his knowledge of the land to hunt he killer of his son, and Guy Ritchie sponsored it Tarantino-style. Though Ritchie is set to direct and Joel Silver produce, not much has been heard of the project since last year.

Jonah Hex (2010)
DC's scarred confederate officer of the old west was firmly based on Clint Eastwood's 'Man with no name'. It's therefore a daunting mantle to assume, and obvious candidate Josh Brolin is hesitant to take it on. Thomas Jane would take the role in a heartbeat. Crank franchise director Mark Neveldine is at the helm, and with a 'two-face'-style hero and a very dark ambience to transfer to film, it's an attractive proposition right now, listed as being in pre-production.

The Expendable One (2009)
This action comedy - about a guy who drinks a friend's enhancement potion and develops Wolverine-like powers of self-healing - was given the go-ahead in 2007, but has made little impact since. The central character decides to fight crime with his new powers but finds that it's a lot harder than it looks. Originators Shane Kuhn and Brendan Cowles are writing the screenplay.

The Ark (2010)
Described by creator Mark Verheiden in 2007 as "a big science fiction story", the original tale received a very limited run at Dark Horse comics, and notions of it having been written as a spec-GN for a movie have been bandied about. Columbia don't seem to have moved much on the property since the 2007 announcements.

Super Max (2010)
More green goodness, with a Green Arrow sent to a super-Prison and bent on escape. Another superhero project abandoned by Kevin Smith (see Green Hornet above), this currently rests with Dark Knight writer David S. Goyer (Hack/Slash's Justin Marks also produced a draft screenplay).

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