Mark Hamill directing own comic adaptation...again
Mark Hamill, yes that's Luke Skywalker, wrote co-wrote a five issue, limited edition comic for Dark Horse Comics in 1996 called The Black Pearl, and now there's a strong possibility that he's going to direct a film version of it.
What's more is that the writers from the upcoming David O. Russell film The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg, may have written the screenplay. Now that's an interesting prospect.
The Black Pearl tells the story of an average man who is in the right place at the right time and saves a woman from abduction. Through heightened media attention he becomes a costumed vigilante rather reluctantly. While it's described as a crime thriller, Mark Hamill says that it looks more at sensationalism and tabloid journalism than superheroes.
Originally the story was written as a screenplay, Hamill has been promoting the idea of the film since the first issue was released in September 1996, according to Wikipedia, and according to Filmstalker. For back in April 2006 I wrote about the possibility of him directing and how he had reportedly visited George Lucas to discuss CGI for the film.
Back then he talked of the story and said:
"explores the moral uncertainty of our current times, with several new substantial characters and a new surprise ending sure to shock audiences -- it's like Fargo meets Batman."
”My two co-writers wrote a David O. Russell film for Paramount...and now they’ve [they're?] very hot. So now there are people who are willing to give us $30 million to make the movie. But if we took that deal, I wouldn’t get to direct.
If you go over about $8 million, you have to start getting foreign sales before you start shooting. But if you stay in the $5-to-$7 million range, you don’t have to do presales and you can maintain much more creative control.”
Okay, realistically it sounds as though he's still fishing for the project, but he has some clear ideas of how to build it, and in this current superhero and post Watchmen (Filmstalker review) era you have to admit that this kind of film would work well, especially if it exploits the media angle well.
However what caught my eye is that first paragraph. Looking at the David O. Russell films there's only one that caught my eye with two credited screenwriters, Paul Attanasio and Lewis Colick, and that's The Fighter. Could Hamill be talking about them? Did they write it prior to it becoming a comic book adaptation or was it adapted by them from the comic and perhaps the original screenplay? It's not clear, although it does suggest they wrote it prior to The Fighter being written.
What does that mean? Well if it was them then there's a good chance the script will get noticed as they are now being noticed. Perhaps the script will get a look and move forward, but the sticking block might be letting Hamill direct.
He did direct one film, Comic Book: The Movie back in 2004. Although it went straight to video it did have a rather large cast of very famous people. Hamill portrayed a comic book fan and director who went to a convention to try and save his favourite character from the clutches of the Hollywood film-makers. Was he ahead of his time with that idea?
What's clear is that he's been talking about this project for years, and it seems to have taken one step forward with a new screenplay, however that's the only step it's taken and it needs a lot more to make it to the big screen. That said though, the closing statement of the story is that we should expect an announcement at Cannes. Is the project really going to happen?