‘The Saint’, Patrick back to ‘Blood’; Fox sets ‘Fantastic’ reboot; ‘Wonderland’ getting a sequel
While no network is attached to the project yet, Buffy alumni Eliza Dushku and Adam Rayner have signed on to a reboot of the classic British series, The Saint. Simon West is directing the pilot from a script by Jesse Alexander –who is also set as showrunner of the project- for a new take on Leslie Charteris’ 70-book franchise. The series will follow the adventures of Simon Templar (Rayner), a brilliant criminal who uses his considerable illicit skills as a modern-day Robin Hood as he infuriates local law enforcement and woos Patricia Holm (Dushku), his on-again, off-again romance. The Saint, in many ways, was the precursor to Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Launched in 1930 (though the character was introduced two-years earlier) the books were straight-forward spy thrillers. That was maintained through a few film adaptations of his books in the 1940s –though some where never actually based on them. In 1962, the British network ITC began a 7 year run of The Saint, starring future James Bond actor Roger Moore. The show was successful in the United States as well, when NBC aired it during the summer (long before the BBC switched to color in 1970, The Saint began to air in color half-way through its run). Also, early stories were thrillers, but eventually –and probably based on the success of the Bond films and The Avengers– The Saint became more fantasy based. The series was resurrected in 1978 with Ian Olgivy as Templar in Return of the Saint, but lasted only one season. In 1997, Paramount Pictures brought a rebooted version of The Saint to the screen starring Val Kilmer. While not a critical hit, it was considered a successful film. Also joining on the producer side for this re-launch will be Roger Moore himself, along with his son Geoffrey Moore.
With ABC cancelling Robert Patrick’s Last Resort, the veteran actor is returning as a series regular for the sixth season of HBO’s True Blood. He played Alcide on three of the last four episodes of last season, and was signed on as a recurring in June. Now with the alphabet network pulling the plug on Resort, the actor was quickly signed to Blood.
Winners for the 12th annual Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic have been announced: Paradise Tales by Geoff Ryman took the top honors in the adult category, while All Good Children by Catherine Austen did the same in the Young Adult category. Locus has the rest here
As 2015 ramps up for big, explosive sequels –The Avengers 2, Star Wars: Episode VII, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 along with some anticipated new ones, Justice League and Ant-Man– 20th Century Fox is adding another big film to the list, the reboot of The Fantastic Four for March 6 of that year. With Chronicle director Josh Trank at the helm and Jeremy Slater penning the screenplay, there is some hope on my part they can make the franchise less of a cheese fest that became Tim Story’s first two attempts.
The Bravo Channel, like all channels run by the ubiquitous NBC/Universal, has rebranded itself over the years, going from network of high profile intellectual programming, to a more broader cable net –think USA Network except less highbrow, and thus it found success in the reality business, becoming the home of the plastic surgery, youth obsessed catty women that appeal to other women and –for reasons that boggle me- gay men on the Real Housewives franchise. But, it seems, they’re still interested in scripted fare. Back in September they announced a sequel TV series to the 1988 dark comedy Heathers. Now they’re rebooting a small screen version of Robert Zemeckis’ 1992 dark comedy, Death Becomes Her. In some ways, I can see why they’re doing this, the question is will they cannibalize the fake storylines Real Housewives for their scripts?
While I realize that Tim Burton’s live action Alice In Wonderland did a billion dollars in box-office receipts, and it jumped started the current trend in the fairy tale reimaging that has overtaken studios and TV, but I was hoping, rather stupidly it seems, that Disney would leave well enough alone. But of course, on the heels of their upcoming Maleficent –its dark reimaging of Sleeping Beauty– the Mouse House has begun work on a sequel to Alice from original writer Linda Woolverton. While neither Burton nor Johnny Depp is attached to the project, I’m guessing that their involvement is only a matter of time.