Hollywood’s fascination with movies based on comic books is alive and well as witnessed by two big new announcements today. Hope you like stories about guys in spandex, because there are a lot of them in your future…
The Punisher, Marvel’s black clad vigilante, has had several big screen adaptations over the years – but his latest outing is set to take place in an entirely new venue: television.
Deadline is reporting that Fox has bought the rights to produce a new hour-long weekly series chronicling the adventures of Frank Castle. The new show is based on the Ed Benero comic and will revolve around Castle’s work as The Punisher – a hero who doesn’t have any superpowers, but still works diligently to help those who the justice system has failed, usually using guns.
The sale marks the first time a Marvel property (the company is owned by Disney) has been sold to someone other than ABC (also owned by Disney), and it’s the third of the comic giant’s titles to move into development. It joins a television version of The Hulk and AKA Jessica Jones on the arduous path from pitch to screen.
No word yet on who might play The Punisher or if we might see some of Marvel’s other heroes turn up on the show (Spider-Man seems like a no-brainer, but if this series is looking to stay more grounded in reality, it seems unlikely that the wall-crawler will ever turn up), but we’ll let you know if any new news emerges.
Meanwhile, in other comic news, director Matthew Vaughn is still basking in the afterglow of this summer’s successful X-Men: First Class – but the filmmaker is also working hard to line up his next project. In a move that’s not particularly surprising, both titles in the running are based on comics.
If all goes according to plan, THR says Vaughn will next helm one of two features based on works by comic writer Mark Millar.
Vaughn and Millar announced a new comic entitled Secret Service this week, and while they were very coy about the details of the new book’s plot and character line-up, Vaughn is not only a co-creator, but the owner of the movie rights – making this project a potential slam dunk for the director.
However, Vaughn also owns the film rights to Superior, another Millar book that “revolves around a superhero and comic book-idolizing boy afflicted with multiple sclerosis who is given the chance to become a superhero named Superior. The chance, of course, comes with a heavy cost.”
THR says both projects are in the early stages of development and neither has hired screenwriters yet. The assumption is that Vaughn will write the screenplay for Secret Service personally, potentially with regular collaborator Jane Goldman.
Of course, none of this is etched in stone – Vaughn has talked about “returning to his roots” with his next feature, meaning he may do something smaller and more indie. While First Class was a success, the film took a heavy toll on the filmmaker – who had to not only relinquish a certain level of control but also handle the stress of shooting to the wire on a studio feature.