Cohen's action Isaac Newton film
Seriously that title is what I meant to say. Rob Cohen is indeed developing an action film, and indeed a film franchise, that will bring the scientist Isaac Newton into the fore as an action star. One can only assume that this is following the hoped success of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Not only that but there's talk of the franchise not just being in film but spilling over into multiple delivery channels, and for me this is the future of films, not just developing a film for the big screen and later for Blu-ray and streaming but also mini-series, narrative videogames and more.
Unfortunately there's no detail of how Sir Isaac Newton, the famous scientist who is most known for his laws on gravity, will become an action hero in film but there are many avenues open to whoever writes the script. Of course they could follow the same route as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and just deliver him an evil race of creatures to battle, or they could build on an area of his work or an aspect of his life, and there is a little hint given as to the direction.
According to The Hollywood Reporter story Rob Cohen has partnered with producer Gene Kirkwood, who you might know executive produced films such as Rocky and Gorky Park, to develop the franchise which Kirkwood says will be cross-platform.
"We see this as a real opportunity to redefine the concept from day one, using multiple channels and outlets to more creatively develop and extend the characters and storyline while generating huge excitement in advance of the theatrical release."
The initial plan is for a film and a graphic novel, so not a huge franchise just yet, but they are planning it and the first steps are the script. Here's perhaps where the bad news comes for some.
Rob Cohen is going to write the script for the film. Now hold up, I know you might be thinking of films like The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and Stealth but do note that he didn't write the scripts, he just directed, and this is only the first draft of them, perhaps there will be other writers down the line so don't write it off at the mere mention of his name, and do remember that Cohen has directed some good films too.
There is that little hint of the direction of the story which I need to get to, and it doesn't suggest that Newton is battling monsters, in fact it's going to feature Newton as the chief detective and the head of the British Mint. Now this would suggest a heist film more than anything, something more Sherlock Holmes and less Abraham Lincoln.
Looking at Sir Isaac Newton's history in 1696 he became the Warden of the Royal Mint taking charge of the recoining of the realm and then the Master of the Royal Mint in 1699 which Newton held for some thirty years and took very seriously, unlike previous occupants of the role. He reformed the currency, including moving silver currency to gold, and punished counterfeiters which, during the period of the recoinage he estimated to be responsible for some twenty percent of the currency in circulation.
Now this is where you start to see a story for Newton wasn't merely sitting around presiding over his role from a desk, he actually went out to bars and taverns in disguise and gathered evidence against counterfeiters himself. He also had himself made a Justice of the Peace and using his authority questioned, investigated and prosecuted a number of counterfeiters of the time.
Far from being a made up story it seems that Newton could well have been more of the hands on character that would fit nicely into a more action orientated story about him.
It's at this point I found out about the book. Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) by Thomas Levenson, and here's the blurb:
When renowned scientist Isaac Newton took up the post of Warden of His Majesty’s Mint in London, another kind of genius—a preternaturally gifted counterfeiter named William Chaloner—had already taken up residence in the city, rising quickly in an unruly, competitive underworld. In the courts and streets of London, and amid the tremors of a world being transformed by ideas Newton himself had set in motion, Chaloner crosses paths with the formidable new warden. An epic game of cat and mouse ensues in Newton and the Counterfeiter, revealing for the first time that Newton was not only one of the greatest minds of his age, but also a remarkably intrepid investigator.
Could the film be adapting the book or is it drawing on the same history and developing its own story?
Is this just the tip of the iceberg? Are we going to see historical figures becoming the latest action heroes merging their real lives with fantastical film plots or are there more stories like Newton's that could logically lead to a surprising film or two?