Weekly Ketchup

Weekly Ketchup: The Crow and The Phantom get rebooted

Plus, Frank Miller to take on Buck Rogers

by | December 19, 2008 | Comments

As if we need further reminders of how the world’s current situation resembles the Great Depression, this week, four of of the ten top headlines have their origins in the era between 1900 and World War II, and the remake trend moves forward a bit to now focus on two superhero-ish movies from the mid 1990s.


Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a brilliant, deconstructionist reinvention of some of literature’s greatest characters, and so the idea of it becoming a movie was almost as exciting at one point as anticipation for say, Watchmen. And then fans started seeing posters calling it LXG, and from there, that movie was a downward-spiralling rolercoaster ride of disappointment and shattered dreams. So too, apparently for Sean Connery and the movie’s director, Stephen Norrington (Blade), neither of whom have made a movie in the five years since. After a failed deal to direct the Clash of the Titans remake, Norrington hopes to return with a different remake, The Crow, which was based upon a goth-friendly comic series about a man who comes back from the dead to avenge the death of his girlfriend. The original 1994 version of The Crow, beautifully directed with gothic style by Alex Proyas (Dark City) inspired three sequels, the last two of which went direct-to-video. Norrington, who will write and direct, says his version will “realistic, hard-edged and mysterious, almost documentary-style.”


Although initially incorrectly implicated to be a sequel, The Phantom: Legacy was announced this week, as a $87 million project that will relaunch the classic newspaper comic strip character The Phantom on the big screen, separate from the 1996 movie starring Billy Zane. The Phantom is a globetrotting crime fighter who sports a purple outfit since 1936, with a possible claim to being the first superhero depicted wearing a body tight suit, ala Superman. Hearing that the movie was being described as a sequel, screenwriter Tim Boyle was quick this week to get online and clarify that The Phantom: Legacy is a serious reimagining of the character, ala Iron Man or The Dark Knight, and will focus on the father/son dynamic of a generational superhero legacy (which dates back to the 1500s). Production is expected to start sometime in Australia.


The advance reviews for The Spirit are far from glowing, but Frank Miller has secured what might be his next solo directing project, in the form of Buck Rogers. Buck Rogers is, of course, a futuristic adventurer from the 20th century who ends up in the 25th century, in stories dating back to the 1920s, and probably best remembered for the 1970s TV series starring Gil Gerard, an annoying robot named Twiki and Erin Gray in what was arguably one of the sexiest TV roles ever. Earlier this year, this new Buck Rogers project was first announced, and there were rumors that Frank Miller would be involved, but this new deal confirms that he will both write and direct, and that it will be a “priority project.” There has been a lot of expectation that Miller’s next movie would be Sin City 2 (teaming up again with Robert Rodriguez), so that raises the question of which movie will be Miller’s next, although I would think that Sin City 2 is probably a lot farther along in development. Like his sci-fi serials-era rival Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers is usually associated with colorful, fantastic settings, but as one might expect from Frank Miller, he is going to give the movie a “darker take,” which suggests a movie almost entirely black and white, with only brief flashes of color.


This Christmas sees the release of the kid-friendly, fantasy scene-thick Bedtime Stories, which sort of feels like this year’s A Night at the Museum. That movie’s director, Adam Shankman (Hairspray) has signed on for two movies this week, hot on the buzz of Bedtime Stories: Sony’s long-in-development Sinbad project and a Disney musical called Bob: The Musical, about a man who starts hearing the songs of other people’s hearts, which sounds a bit like a musical version of What Women Want (but covering both genders). Sinbad is the Arabian sailor who has been the star of several movies over the decades, often featuring encounters with fantastic monsters, evil sorcerers and beautiful women. This Sinbad tale will find the sailor and his crew marooned off the coast of China, as they seek to find Aladdin’s magical lamp. With Disney betting a lot of money on 2010’s Prince of Persia, Sony’s Sinbad project no doubt can be seen as a possible competitor.


Talking to MTV this week, Keanu Reeves revealed that he is developing, with 20th Century Fox and producer Erwin Stoff (The Matrix, I Am Legend), a live action movie version of the 26 episode anime TV series, Cowboy Bebop, which culminated with Cowboy Bebop: The Movie in 2002. Set in the 2070s, Cowboy Bebop imagines a future set fifty years after the Moon has been exploded, devastating the Earth, resulting in a society that combines futuristic high-tech with elements of the American Wild West. Keanu Reeves hopes to star as Spike Spiegel, a former member of a crime syndicate who is haunted by his past. Reeves says that the movie would focus on the Bebop drug that is developed by the military, and then take the story from there, focusing on the “Red Eye” storyline. Since I’ve never seen Cowboy Bebop, I can only presume all that makes sense, and I didn’t make any huge errors trying to recap a show I’ve no personal knowledge of.


Although his highly hyped World War II epic Australia has proven to be a box office bomb, director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge) is persevering, setting his sights on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the classic novel of love during the Jazz Age of the 1920s. Given today’s economic situation, The Great Gatsby can be definitely be seen as very timely, as the wild parties and decadence of the 1920s are an obvious ironic precursor to the coming Great Depression of the 1930s, which is exactly what Luhrmann says as well, and is why he’s chosen it as his next project. I’d expect that Luhrmann’s take on The Great Gatsby will probably feel and look a lot more like his Moulin Rouge, another period piece about decadence, but probably without as many musical dance numbers.


Lionsgate has acquired the rights to Loving Frank, a historical romance novel based upon the true story of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney, a Chicago woman who left her family for Wright. John Burnham Schwartz, who wrote the novel and cowrote the screenplay for the upcoming Reservation Road, will adapt the novel by first time novelist Nancy Horan. Set between 1909 and 1914, the New York Times compares the novel favorably to E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime. Being from Wright’s home state of Wisconsin, I’m quite familiar with the story of Frank and Mamah and contest that it has the makings of a fantastic love story, ala The Notebook or Somewhere in Time, although I probably shouldn’t divulge what exactly makes it so great (though one can’t really call historical facts spoilers, can you?).


Another week, another Tom Cruise story! With Valkyrie garnering positive advance reviews, that movie’s cowriter, Christopher McQuarrie is at work on three different scripts which are all expected to be starring projects for Tom Cruise. First, there is The Champions, which Guillermo del Toro is also cowriting and producing, which is an adaptation of a 1960s British TV serires about a trio of secret agents who crash in the Himalayas and receive amazing abilities like telepathy and clairvoyance. So, with Cruise aboard, The Champions can be seen as Mission: Impossible… with super powers! McQuarrie is also working on the long-in-development Flying Tigers, the true story of American volunteer pilots who helped China fight the Japanese before the U.S. had entered World War II. Finally, there is The Tourist, an espionage drama (and a remake of a 2005 French film) that already has Charlize Theron attached, with Cruise to play an American overseas enlisted by an Interpol agent (Theron) to help catch a bad guy who also happens to be her former lover.


Universal Pictures and director Gore Verbinski (The Ring, Pirates of the Carribean) have teamed up to acquire the rights to a 2007 Wall Street Journal article about Ric Hoogestraat, a heavy-set 53-year-old man in Phoenix who lived a Second Life as a musclebound businessman in the virtual reality world “game” of the same title. The relationship that Hoogestraat formed with a woman within the game, and the amount of time he spent playing, threatened his real life marriage. Verbinski will direct the apparently untitled drama, which will be written by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Dirty Pretty Things). What’s curious about the Variety article is that it doesn’t specifically name Second Life as the game, so it looks like they might fictionalize the online game in question.


British screenwriter Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon) is developing The Special Relationship, which will be the third in a trilogy of movies he’s written about former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, played each time by Michael Sheen, following the 2003 TV movie The Deal and The Queen. The Special Relationship will focus on the years 1997 to 2000, and the friendship formed between Tony Blair and U.S. President Bill Clinton. Morgan had originally considered extending the story to include George W. Bush, but is now focusing on Bill Clinton. The casting of Clinton should be interesting, and one can only imagine how awesome it would be if Morgan enlisted SNL‘s Darrell Hammond, who is so great as Clinton, but it’s probably more likely that he will cast a more serious actor for the role.

For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS through his MySpace page or via a RT forum message and Greg also blogs about the TV show Lost, at TwoLosties.Blogspot.com.

Tag Cloud

biography Image Comics Native award winner aliens romantic comedy X-Men christmas movies OneApp docudrama feel good Netflix NBA video on demand Dark Horse Comics Calendar 93rd Oscars jamie lee curtis VICE Comedy miniseries monster movies Emmy Nominations Superheroes PlayStation blockbuster 24 frames obi wan blaxploitation El Rey cats Starz werewolf dark 90s See It Skip It Bravo comics concert strong female leads summer TV preview Winners Rom-Com sopranos spain Discovery Channel franchise Logo Trophy Talk mob golden globe awards Women's History Month marvel cinematic universe Infographic venice royal family comiccon Awards Vudu 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Sundance Food Network Sci-Fi based on movie japan RT History Freeform RT21 quibi women basketball indiana jones Pirates summer preview mockumentary TCM superman Pacific Islander kids Syfy new york Nat Geo vampires DC Comics Comics on TV Walt Disney Pictures DC streaming service Horror Amazon Prime Video rt archives Marathons Hulu black Television Academy 72 Emmy Awards Classic Film Pop witnail justice league Academy Awards Podcast Creative Arts Emmys dexter comic books Extras mission: impossible slashers Apple Spike Apple TV Plus deadpool Emmys criterion Star Wars Celebration USA Network Cartoon Network Mary Tyler Moore Nickelodeon TV true crime HFPA gangster documentary festivals composers leaderboard Disney Plus MGM target scene in color theme song ABC Signature universal monsters MCU LGBTQ Hallmark Christmas movies chucky posters suspense SXSW children's TV name the review cartoon Neflix critics AMC Plus biopic king kong festival blockbusters fast and furious war TCA know your critic Trailer facebook Crunchyroll sag awards interviews History prank FX Masterpiece Hallmark rt labs critics edition TV movies DirecTV Ghostbusters james bond streaming YA Pop TV movie Tomatazos Britbox free movies classics Polls and Games Cannes The Arrangement high school Paramount Plus 2016 Peacock telelvision streamig king arthur HBO Go 007 Funimation CBS All Access crime crime thriller Ovation Prime Video Oscars TCA Winter 2020 Epix Valentine's Day WGN Best Actress book GoT Adult Swim Black Mirror Stephen King 71st Emmy Awards dramedy scene in color independent YouTube Premium SXSW 2022 art house Film Festival Certified Fresh joker HBO breaking bad GLAAD halloween American Society of Cinematographers Set visit Countdown nature Fox Searchlight Amazon NYCC singing competition Spectrum Originals Shudder Paramount Network Lucasfilm twilight cinemax rom-coms MSNBC comic book movies spanish Kids & Family renewed TV shows TV Land dragons young adult Thanksgiving Mary Poppins Returns genre Pixar romance Comedy Central 2021 TV renewals Music Tubi Mystery Sony parents natural history reviews Binge Guide Acorn TV Oscar sequel cults Best and Worst spy thriller 45 Lifetime Christmas movies LGBT Year in Review President french IMDb TV 2018 Best Director Holiday 1990s latino football psychological thriller Chernobyl screen actors guild The Walking Dead The Witch richard e. Grant 99% hist Netflix Christmas movies Turner FOX boxoffice Baby Yoda Reality remakes WarnerMedia Lifetime animated movies doctor who Best Picture TV One Comic Book archives hispanic BBC stop motion zombies Photos dc green book Star Wars 2017 SundanceTV Fall TV Teen rotten movies we love Alien nbcuniversal jurassic park VH1 historical drama transformers Universal Pictures cops Universal Reality Competition Paramount Pictures Chilling Adventures of Sabrina A&E CNN adaptation action-comedy Fargo CMT Instagram Live Sony Pictures Biopics Grammys National Geographic lord of the rings New York Comic Con Sundance TV Paramount olympics ESPN streaming movies marvel comics Apple TV+ TLC TruTV Song of Ice and Fire Animation toy story TCA 2017 debate stand-up comedy FX on Hulu Mudbound BET die hard robots VOD summer TV space Marvel Television Holidays Marvel Studios Character Guide political drama documentaries critic resources TCA Awards Spring TV Schedule Martial Arts comic IFC Western casting Rock new zealand Country Quiz canceled TV shows Hollywood Foreign Press Association Wes Anderson Action live event south america crime drama elevated horror 4/20 foreign game of thrones Disney Channel Watching Series adenture book adaptation Star Trek MTV batman 2019 Rocketman new star wars movies AMC cancelled television pirates of the caribbean japanese sports Tags: Comedy dogs PaleyFest adventure Heroines Cosplay 2015 medical drama CBS First Reviews discovery Video Games Awards Tour canceled series finale serial killer Mary poppins what to watch Writers Guild of America broadcast supernatural Premiere Dates ABC rotten Interview 73rd Emmy Awards Election Travel Channel Fox News Ellie Kemper superhero comic book movie 94th Oscars Avengers toronto spider-man Comic-Con@Home 2021 PBS A24 Tumblr BAFTA Musicals BET Awards directors Amazon Studios Columbia Pictures DGA FXX 2020 period drama BBC One game show live action South by Southwest Film Festival anthology Endgame worst Film TIFF BBC America Lionsgate black comedy Black History Month zombie Family mcc scary zero dark thirty Shondaland Trivia indie stoner heist movie Best Actor halloween tv golden globes kong YouTube Red 20th Century Fox Amazon Prime ITV Turner Classic Movies cancelled Showtime Musical ABC Family NBC obituary dceu Christmas HBO Max Captain marvel Sundance Now science fiction Brie Larson ratings Television Critics Association docuseries teaser emmy awards diversity target best trailers Disney streaming service Mindy Kaling Esquire spinoff Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt slasher television Red Carpet Marvel spanish language wonder woman Hear Us Out Pride Month anime First Look saw hidden camera trophy video 21st Century Fox The Walt Disney Company Legendary ghosts Fantasy Pet Sematary films Warner Bros. Elton John tv talk Box Office italian CW Seed USA boxing international Arrowverse Crackle politics reboot scene in color film series Opinion spider-verse hispanic heritage month nfl TBS Anna Paquin a nightmare on elm street godzilla Disney all-time harry potter DC Universe Exclusive Video fresh thriller E3 worst movies australia crossover unscripted travel The Purge legend scary movies OWN cars The CW cooking Tokyo Olympics Toys IFC Films cancelled TV shows satire scene in color series Winter TV laika versus comedies 79th Golden Globes Awards Superheroe Super Bowl sitcom TNT talk show Focus Features revenge news kaiju sequels GIFs vs. dreamworks Indigenous ID psycho Broadway scorecard binge San Diego Comic-Con mutant razzies Disney+ Disney Plus technology Rocky hollywood Summer rt labs Tarantino The Academy popular Sneak Peek YouTube APB asian-american aapi child's play E! cancelled TV series police drama disaster SDCC ViacomCBS Geeked Week social media Drama screenings Nominations