2012 is well on the way to cementing its status as a turning point for superhero cinema. By year’s end, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises will likely emerge as the two highest-grossing films of the year, and virtually every other superhero franchise has a sequel or reboot in various states of development. However, while everyone is familiar with the costumed heroes of The Amazing Spider-man and the upcoming Man of Steel, some heroes may be brand-new to most moviegoers.

Case in point, The Vancouver Sun reports that a film based on Canadian hero, Captain Canuck, is officially in the works. The character, created in 1975 by illustrator Richard Comely, is a Canadian security officer who develops super-strength and speed after being exposed to extraterrestrial Zeta rays.

Screenwriter Arne Olsen beat out hundreds of writers to win the job of scripting Captain Canuck, after submitting a 15-page sample to Mind’s Eye Entertainment, the production company behind the film. Of Olsen’s writing credits to date, only the 1995 adaptation Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie could be considered part of the superhero genre.

Although Captain Canuck is a blatant symbol of patriotic pride in the Great White North, he has developed a cult following over the years. His costume – which features a mask in the shape of a maple leaf and bears Canadian colors – might strike some comic book fans as too hokey to be translated to film, but let’s not forget, though, that we’ve already seen a patriotic superhero done right on the big screen.

Yes, Captain Canuck – much like Captain America – may be a bit tricky to translate to film effectively. Still, it is possible. Before the success of Captain America: The First Avenger, the U.S.-based hero was also deemed too silly for his own film franchise, having been the focus of a universally panned 1990 film. The character’s most recent adventure, however, managed to stay relatively true to the comic books while giving the film a more serious, grounded tone, one which Olsen intends to emulate with his approach to Captain Canuck.

“I’m much more interested in the grittier [films] – where there’s a much more realistic approach. The way we’re going to approach this is – more of a visceral action thriller in the [style] of the Bourne trilogy. We’re trying to take him to more of a 21st century sensibility. Hipper, with a bit more of an interest in contemporary issues and characters, and the technology and information we have access to.”

Olsen suggests someone like Ryan Gosling – the Canadian-born star who led last year’s gritty crime drama Drive – could nab the lead role when the time comes. Whether Olsen’s previous work – which is relatively unknown to U.S. audiences – has prepared him to translate Captain Canuck’s tales to the big screen is open for debate, as is if the film – which Olsen estimates to hit production in about a year and a half – will manage to find an audience in Canada or the United States.

Seemingly, the public’s appetite for superhero films remains insatiable, especially given the fervor currently centered on The Dark Knight Rises, but will American audiences embrace a character so clearly tied to their neighbor to the north? If Olsen’s fantasy casting comes true, that just may happen. Until then, we’ll keep an eye on Captain Canuck as it develops.

Source: The Vancouver Sun