Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tinsletown Pulp

A couple of interesting announcements in the last few days from Hollyweird.

Sam (Spider-Man, Evil Dead) Raimi is going to be producing a new Shadow movie.

While I thought the early 90's Shadow film had some nice visuals, the tone was all over the place, shifting from blood & thunder pulp to broad slapstick comedy – sometimes in the same scene! I'm hopeful that Raimi and his collaborators will come up with something closer to the character's pulp roots and Walter Gibson's concept. Here's an excerpt from the official announcement:

(Culver City, Ca – December 8, 2006) – The Shadow, the legendary Conde Nast comic book character, will come to the big screen from Columbia Pictures and producers Sam Raimi and Josh Donen of Buckaroo Entertainment and Michael Uslan of Comic Book Movies, LLC/Branded Entertainment, it was announced today by Matt Tolmach and Doug Belgrad, Presidents of Production for Columbia Pictures.

The screenplay is being written by Siavash Farahani. CBM/Branded’s FJ DeSanto will co-produce the film. Sam Dickerman is overseeing development of the movie for Columbia Pictures.

Raimi says, “I’ve been a passionate Shadow fan ever since I was a kid and have long dreamed of bringing this character to the screen.”

Tolmach adds, “We’re thrilled to be re-teaming with Sam as he brings another legendary comic-book character to a new generation of fans. This property is in the perfect hands.”

Uslan says, “My first comic-book writing gig in the 70s was writing for DC’s ‘Shadow’ comics. I had the chance to spend time with Walter Gibson and derive my understanding of the character directly from the original source himself. Working with Sam, Josh, and the entire team at Columbia, I know I am working with the Shadow Dream Team.”

Donen says, “We envision building a strong, character-driven, plot-intensive story filled with mystery and action that establishes a Shadow true to its roots and unlike any way he’s been presented in the past.”

Jerry Birenz, Counsel to Conde Nast, says, “Conde Nast has had a number of important filmmakers and companies approach us over the past few years, but only this team, as proven by the fact they have so successfully brought characters to the screen who are the crown jewels -- the life-blood -- of their respective comic book companies, has the incredible passion and experience to reignite and re-imagine The Shadow for a new generation. It doesn’t get better than knowing our film is in the talented hands of producer Sam Raimi.”

Also announced today was a new television series in development based on Raymond Chandler's classic P.I. character, Philip Marlowe. Rather than be set in period like the 80's HBO series with Powers Boothe, this one will be updated to the double-oughts and be called Marlowe (like the James Garner film, which was also updated to the then-present).

Here's part of the Variety article on the project:

Philip Marlowe could soon be back on the case.

ABC is teaming with producer Sean Bailey for a fresh take on Raymond Chandler's hard-boiled detective. Greg Pruss and Carol Wolper will write and exec produce the potential series along with Daniel H. Blatt, Phil Clymer and Bailey.

Hourlong drama "Marlowe" -- one of three scripts Bailey has set up at the Alphabet this season via the LivePlanet banner -- would be a present-day procedural crime drama with noir aspects and set in Los Angeles. Touchstone Television, which has an overall deal with Bailey, will produce if the project goes to pilot.

Bailey said "Marlowe" will be "a detective show, but very much a character-based one. "He's a guy who can travel in the highest echelons of power and the darkest and dirtiest corners of the city," he added, noting the new Marlowe will still "get his ass kicked every once in a while."

As of now, there are no plans to use any of Chandler's Marlowe books ("The Big Sleep," et al.) as source material for storylines. Still, "You can expect to see your femme fatales and very wealthy individuals," Bailey said.

Producer said the project came together when Endeavor, along with the rights holders to the Marlowe character, contacted him "with the idea of updating the DNA of Marlowe and taking him into 21st century LA."


Anonymous said...

Any thoughts on who you'd like to see play the Shadow in this new movie? That's the game I've been playing since the announcement. I've been thinking Viggo Mortenson (or however his name is spelled) but I feel like I'm missing someone. Probably lots of someones.
(Last minute thought: Christopher Eccleston?)

Anonymous said...


A modern Marlowe in modern LA with no Raymond Chandler adaptations.

Let's do a modern Sherlock Holmes in modern London with no Sir Arthur Conan Doyle adaptations.

Or a modern Tarzan in modern Kenya with no ERB adaptations.

When is the iconc genre character not himself anymore?
When he loses his roots.

This really seems like a bad idea foredoomed to a bad execution.

Christopher Mills said...

John – I agree.

That's why I have such a negative reaction to the announced Spirit movie to be directed & written by Frank Miller... and set in the modern day.