It’s amazing sometimes when a project refuses to die.
I’m not sure who out there is actively demanding that Hollywood cough up a “He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe” movie, but obviously Mattel is determined that they are going to make one happen no matter what.
For a while, that looked like it was going to happen at Warner Bros, where Justin Marks and Evan Daugherty both took shots at writing drafts of the script. I was interested in the hiring of John Stevenson (“Kung Fu Panda”) as director, as one of that film’s strongest visual elements is the use of the fighting. But now, it looks like that entire package, including producer Joel Silver, has been left behind at Warner Bros., and Sony is instead stepping up to bring He-Man and his various cohorts to the bigscreen.
I read “Grayskull,” which was the Warner Bros. version of the project, and I’ll confess: I don’t get it. I don’t get the appeal of telling an overly familiar fantasy story that’s based on a toyline that has a truly infantile and laughable name. “He-Man”? Really? See, I may not have been a “Transformers” fan as a kid, but I can see the inherent appeal in giant shape-shifting robots having a war on Earth and kicking the living hell out of each other. Bring it on.
But “He-Man”? “Skeletor”? Really? That’s just silly. Embarrassing.
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Unless they’re planning to make this movie a very safe, very mild PG (and the script I read assuredly was not aimed at kids), they are out of their mind here. I just can’t see any adult who isn’t forced into it by kids buying a ticket for anything called “He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe,” no matter how many special effects money shots they pack into a trailer.
Maybe Mattel knows that there is an age limit built into this one. Maybe that’s why they couldn’t see eye-to-eye on it with Warner Bros. After “Speed Racer,” I’m not sure Warner and Joel Silver will be making any kids films any time soon, so perhaps Mattel figured they needed to start over somewhere else.
Beyond that, there were real problems finding an a-list filmmaker who was willing to make the movie at Warner Bros. They were turned down by dozens of filmmakers who just couldn’t see themselves directing this particular property. I wish them well with it, but I think producers Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch face an uphill battle on this one.
Meanwhile, Mattel is still super-busy. Over at Universal, “Barbie” is set up now with Lawrence Marks producing. Lawrence Marks, I would point out, is an Academy Award-winner for “As Good As It Gets.” And now… he’s doing “Barbie.”
On that note, I’m going to go drink a big glass of sulfuric acid and bash my face against a brick wall for an hour. Hooray for Hollywood, indeed.
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