To Be Continued: 18 Movie Franchises Finding New Life on TV
Recently it seems as if TV reboots of famous and iconic films has reached a fever pitch, with ‘American Psycho’ and even ‘Man on Fire’ targeted for TV treatment on the bankability of their franchise names alone. We’ve written at length about TV adaptations as the hot new way to reboot movie franchises, but what better way to see for yourself than for us to take stock of the hottest TV shows based on movies currently in development!
'Man on Fire'
Written by ‘Traveler’ creator David DiGilio, adapted from the original A.J. Quinnell novel and produced by 20th Century Fox Television and New Regency’s Arnon Milchan, Brad Weston and Andrew Plotkin, this sequel effort to the 2004 film would see former CIA operative/Marine John Creasy reconnect with Pinta 18 years after her kidnapping to dismantle the cartel responsible for ruining their lives.
Would We Watch It?: The 2004 version of ‘Man on Fire’ proved to be a surprising breakout hit given the performances of Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning, with visuals by director Tony Scott, but we can’t imagine a FOX version to have much if any of the same ingredients that made the most famous incarnation of the franchise so watchable.
Featuring ‘Fringe‘ star Ari Graynor in the lead role of Meredith Davis, alongside a cast that includes comedian David Alan Grier as the principal, ‘Sex and the City’ vet Kristin Davis as Meredith’s rival, in addition to ‘The Big Bang Theory‘'s Sara Gilbert and ‘Party Down’'s Ryan Hansen. ‘Community‘ and ‘Happy Endings‘ writer Hilary Winston penned the script and will serve as executive producer alongside the original film’s writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupinsky, and Cameron Diaz herself.
Would We Watch It?: Early buzz on the pilot has been good, though we’ll only have to wait until midseason for CBS to find out for sure. It won’t live up to the same breed of raunchy humor as its filmic predecessor but might be worth a look otherwise, if only to see deserved-breakout Graynor put her own spin on the role.
Created by Allison Shearmur, writer Stefan Jaworski and Lionsgate Television, and based off the 1991 Bret Easton Ellis novel and its Christian Bale-led adaptation of 2000. Picking up with Bateman in his mid-50s, but “as outrageous and lethal as ever," the character takes on a protégé for “a sadistic social experiment who will become every bit his equal and creates a next generation American Psycho.”
Would We Watch It?: We understand that adapting the ‘American Psycho’ story to series as is might have skewed a bit too close to ‘Dexter,’ but we’re on board to see what FX does with the serial killer protagonist game. It certainly couldn’t be much worse than the Mila Kunis sequel, so we’d expect this one to make it through development unscathed.
Written by Noah Hawley, executive produced by original film directors the Coen brothers, and so far starring Billy Bob Thornton in a villainous con-man role. FX’s ‘Fargo’ has yet to publicize if it will operate as a limited series or an ongoing affair, though supposedly the adaptation would pick up with all new characters, and would rotate cast each season as with ‘American Horror Story.’
Would We Watch It?: Probably, even if FX’s version only has in common with its filmic predecessor a title and a sense of “Minnesota Nice.” It wasn’t as if the ‘Fargo’ franchise had anything else to do, so why not see what FX can come up with, especially with the Coens on board?
Pitched by feature film producers Chuck Roven and Richard Suckle, with ‘Nikita‘ writers Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett attached to write, and ‘24”s Jon Cassar reportedly on board to direct. Syfy’s ’12 Monkeys’ has officially been ordered to pilot for a potential series, and would follow the same basic premise of an apocalyptic future where Earth’s surviving population dwells underground in fear of a deadly virus released years earlier by the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. The as-yet-uncast James Cole is sent back to the past to prevent the outbreak of the virus, hoping to earn himself a pardon if successful.
Would We Watch It?: Again, with a recognizable name so otherwise dormant as ’12 Monkeys,’ we see no harm in allowing Syfy to try its hand at an ongoing series. It would lack the magic touch of Terry Gilliam, Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, of course, but should at least make for an exciting pilot.
Picking up 25 years after the events of the 2010 film, directed by the feature’s director and co-writer Scott Stewart, with ‘Sons of Anarchy‘ writer Vaun Wilmott penning the script, ‘Dominion’ follows the journey of rebellious young soldier Alex Lannen (‘Kings’ star Christopher Egan), who discovers himself to be the unlikely savior of humanity. Also present is ‘LOST’ veteran Alan Dale as a villainous human general, and ‘300’ star Tom Wisdom assuming Paul Bettany‘s film role of Michael, the greatest warrior archangel, who helped humanity defeat the angels during the war.
Would We Watch It?: The pilot at least, but probably not on an ongoing basis. Much of the original’s appeal lay in its slick visuals and surprisingly strong cast, though it doesn’t seem as if Syfy’s sequel series will have enough DNA with the original for success, but we’re welcome to be proven wrong.
Perhaps dashing our dreams of a Jean-Claude Van Damme-led ‘Outbreak 2: The Virus Takes Manhattan,’ former ‘E.R.’ executive producers John Wells and Jack Orman will both produce the NBC adaptation and co-write the script for a pilot production commitment, with original ‘Outbreak’ producer Gail Katz likely involved in some capacity. Forget about the 1995 ‘Outbreak’’s lineup of Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, Rene Russo, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Donald Sutherland, however, as for now NBC’s adaptation is identified as “a medical thriller that follows an ensemble of characters as they race to contain a lethal virus before it becomes a global pandemic.”
Would We Watch It?: NBC may not have the best reputation for medical dramas anymore, with a number having come and gone since the days of ‘E.R.,’ but the good will of the original (three weeks atop the box office to the tune of $190 million gross) definitely merits a pilot watch.
'The Wizard of Oz'
Sheesh, which one? There’s CBS' effort to turn ‘Dorothy’ into a medical drama, ‘Heroes‘ and ‘Touch‘ creator Tim Kring’s revisionist sequel take 'Dorothy Must Die,’ Timur Bekmambetov’s ‘Warriors of Oz’ about a present day hero sent to the post-apocalyptic future version of Oz , and even NBC’s ‘Game of Thrones’-inspired spin on the material ‘Emerald City.’
Would We Watch It?: Even with the imminent 75th anniversary of the film driving every network into a ‘Wizard of Oz’ development frenzy, we’d count ourselves a bit surprised if any of the above projects actually made it through the development process. ‘Wizard of Oz’ reboots haven’t historically lit the world on fire. (R.I.P. ‘Tin Man.’)
Produced by cinematic ‘Rambo’ producer Avi Lerner with Entertainment One and Nu Image, a ‘Rambo’ TV series would feature Sylvester Stallone in a creative capacity only, either placing a new actor in the iconic role or focusing on a descendant of the original John Rambo.
Would We Watch It?: This one hasn’t gotten very far off the ground, with no network attached and precious few details of a potential adaptation available. But let’s be honest: would the ultra-violent ‘Rambo’ franchise have anything to its name if not for Sylvester Stallone? We’ve seen similar reboots like ‘Conan’ fail with lower-profile action stars, so we wouldn’t expect much of anything from ‘Rambo.'
‘Revenge‘ and ‘Criminal Minds’ writers Jay Beattie and Dan Dworkin will pen the pilot script, with Wes Craven in negotiations to direct, while original writer Kevin Williamson maintains duties on FOX’s ‘The Following.’ No word if MTV’s adaptation, eyed for 2014, would follow the four films or reboot the franchise, but we’d expect the latter as a similar approach to MTV’s ‘Teen Wolf.’
Would We Watch It?: Once again, the stalled movie franchise has too little life left in it to reemerge as a pop-culture phenomenon, so we’re fine to let MTV have a turn with the franchise, which seems to fit in among their pantheon of programming. The pilot could be worth a look, particularly if Wes Craven signs on to direct, though we expect a convoluted mythology would grow increasingly ridiculous over several seasons of TV.
Developed by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot with ‘Person of Interest‘ creator, its script written by ‘The Dark Knight’ co-writer Jonathan Nolan with ‘Burn Notice‘ scribe Lisa Joy, and Nolan directing the pilot, HBO’s ‘Westworld’ adaptation of the 1973 Yul Brynner-James Brolin film will vaguely tell the tale of “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.”
Would We Watch It?: It’s an interesting enough choice, with plenty of bankable names attached behind the scenes, but it’s a bit early to imagine what a potential ‘Westworld’ adaptation could look like on HBO. For now the series only maintains a pilot commitment, but it at least has our attention.
While technically derived from Alan Moore’s graphic novel series rather than the abysmal 2003 Sean Connery ensemble film, 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' series has writer-producer Michael Green (‘Green Lantern,’ ‘Kings,’ ‘Heroes‘) serving as showrunner, with Erwin Stoff (‘Kings,’ ‘The Matrix’) executive producing. So far, we know the drama will chronicle the team of Victorian-age literary characters, including Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, who “team up to fight a common enemy.”
Would We Watch It?: Something so high-profile seems a bit too over FOX’s general audience, leading us to wonder if an ‘LXG’ series would ever really move past its put-pilot commitment, but the comic-book fans in us definitely want to at least see what FOX could do with such rich source material.
Last we heard, a version by ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ writer and director Sean Durkin, said to chronicle the before and after-effects of a girl’s possession before finally bringing in Father Damien Karras, had been passed over, while a new version from ‘Fantastic Four‘ reboot writer Jeremy Slater has begun development backed by Morgan Creek and produced by Roy Lee, executive producer of ‘The Departed’ and ‘The Ring.’
Would We Watch It?: It doesn’t seem as if any real reboot of the series has gained traction as a TV adaptation, but we’d certainly be interested to see horror stock rise among the TV pantheon. Plenty of exorcism knockoffs have made their way through theaters in recent years, so why not see what a cable network could come up with? Ignoring ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’’s schizophrenic take on the concept, of course.
As of April 2013, New Recency and original author James Ellroy were reportedly shopping a TV sequel series version of ‘L.A. Confidential,’ independent of the Oscar-winning 1997 film starring Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, Danny DeVito and James Cromwell. The second attempt at a series since a 2003 pilot starring Kiefer Sutherland, the sequel series would continue the themes and stories of the original work, a murder-mystery drama that spanned organized crime, police corruption, celebrity and tabloid journalism in 1950s Los Angeles.
Would We Watch It?: There hasn’t been any news of the development since its initial announcement, and TNT’s repeatedly retitled Frank Darabont series ‘Mob City’ may fill the same market, but we’d imagine the Oscar acclaim of ‘L.A. Confidential’ could attract some worthy talent to the idea of a sequel series.
Sans Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz and Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Scorsese was announced to develop his 2002 epic as a TV series with Miramax following the same turn-of-the-century events and characters, albeit with expanded scope to feature cities like Chicago as the show explores the birth of organized crime in America.
Would We Watch It?: We haven’t heard much of anything since the original March 2013 announcement, though we’d imagine the touch of Scorsese would bring a great deal of interest to the project, provided it struck a different enough chord from HBO’s ‘Boardwalk Empire.’ So whoever ends up providing a home to the TV ‘Gangs of New York,’ we’re definitely on board.
Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino‘s vampire classic ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ will birth a TV adaptation titled ‘Dusk Till Dawn,’ featured on Rodriguez’s new Latino-oriented network without Salma Hayek, George Clooney or Danny Trejo, of course. Rodriguez will write, produce and direct, as the new series explores the characters and story from the original film, providing a wider scope and richer Aztec mythology.
Would We Watch It?: A look at the pilot perhaps, but with no recognizable names that we can see attached to the project, and little sense of where and when to find the soon-to-shoot drama on El Rey, we’ll probably wait to see what develops of the adaptation.
No Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, or even Robert Rodriguez for this one, which already has a 70-episode commitment. The new ‘El Mariachi’ will follow the adventures of Martin Aguirre, the “musician at war with the drug cartels over honor, love and revenge.” Actor Iván Arana will take the role of Aguirre, with Marta Higareda as Celeste Sandoval and Julio Bracho as Fernando Sandoval.
Would We Watch It?: Nope. Great movies, but nooope.
Produced by Universal Television along with film star and director Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Television and Double Feature Films, run by original film producers Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher, and with a script by original film writer Helen Childress, the new ‘Reality Bites’ would keep to the original 1994 movie’s plot, in which recent college graduate Lelaina Pierce (Winona Ryder in the film) struggles romantically and professionally while living in Houston, and hanging out with her video camera, and “slacker” friends and roommates. It’s doubtful we’d see any involvement from Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo or Steve Zahn, but Stiller could certainly pop up now and again.
Would We Watch It?: Sure, why not? The original remains a Generation X classic, which may seem a bit out of place in today’s marketplace but could well serve up some fond nostalgia for the adult crowd.