After decades of false starts and drawn out development, a “Doctor Who” movie may finally be headed to the big screen. The BBC has brought in “Harry Potter” series helmer David Yates to develop a new incarnation of the character for a stand alone feature film.
Yates told Variety that he and Janet Tranter, head of BBC Worldwide Productions, are on the lookout for writers for the new project and will spend two to three years properly developing the material. Yates was quoted as saying, “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into a bigger arena.”
Currently airing on BBC America, the “Doctor Who” TV series has become a profitable franchise since rebooting in 2005 under showrunner Russell T. Davies and current overseer Stephen Moffat. The series has focused on a time-traveling Time Lord (the good Doctor), an alien whose form continually changes over time. This originally allowed the series to run from 1963 to 1989 and for eleven different actors to play the character (including the current run).
While praising the efforts of Davies and Moffat, Yates says its important for the series to start from “scratch” in a movie incarnation.
Yates noted, “We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly so we are looking at American writers too.”
A new version of the series likely means the current Doctor, Matt Smith, won’t make the transition, but who will carry the mantle forward is still a question mark. Also unclear is whether the BBC will fund the picture entirely or partner with either a Hollywood studio or financing company for an appropriate event level budget.
With the film a number of years away from production, it also means the “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” helmer could direct another project before “Doctor Who.”
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