03 November 2005

Iron Man Comes Back To The Forge

Hey guys, it's Donnie...A feature adaptation of Marvel's classic character Iron Man has been sitting around New Line for the past two years, but for reasons passing understanding, they've just been totally unable to move forward on it. They had not one, but TWO different screenplays; one by Miles Millar and Alfred Gough (Smallville) and one by David Hayter (X-Men, the unproduced Watchmen script), and both drafts sat on a shelf collecting dust. Nick Cassavetes was interested in directing for a while, and they even had Tom Cruise attached to produce and star seemingly forever, and they still couldn't get the damn train out of the station.

Well, New Line's contract is now officially up, and Marvel has taken back the property rights as of this morning. So what does that mean? Well, Marvel is about to start producing their own films, but they won't be able to use any of that sweet Merrill Lynch money for Iron Man because they secured their funding for 10 specific films, and Iron Man was not on that list. So, that means that Avi Arad and company can either raise additional funds to do the movie themselves or they can shop the property out to a new studio. Exactly which fork in the road they'll take is unknown at the moment, but Marvel has decided to start the initial development themselves. That means that they're going to get some new writers to give them a script that they like, and perhaps even go so far as to bring a director onboard. At that point, they'll make the decision as to whether or not to finance the project out of their own pockets or to sign Tony Stark over to a bigger badder company.

Personally, I'm not sold on Marvel producing their own films yet. I mean, I think it's hard for anyone to jump on that train at this point because they haven't really done anything. They got the money, they laid out their slate of projects and they've got some writers furiously typing away in a closet somewhere, but that's as far as it's gotten. Iron Man has incredible potential as a dark as all hell superhero franchise, because at the end of the day Tony Stark is still an alcoholic and far from a boy scout. I'm really excited to see this go somewhere (preferably somewhere that doesn't include Tom Cruise or Justin Timberlake, who was also rumored to be wearing the red and yellow suit for a while) and I think Avi Arad made a wise decision to start the development in house rather than rush it off to a studio where it'll languish away for another two years.


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