Another day, another comic book movie adaptation: Deadline is reporting that Gerard Butler is in talks to star in an adaptation of the graphic novel series Afterburn, by Red 5 Comics co-founders Paul Ens and Scott Chitwood. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) is in negotiations to direct.

For those not familiar with Afterburn, it’s set in a world where a massive solar flare has destroyed Earth’s Eastern Hemisphere. Butler would play Jake, a man who’s the leader of a treasure-hunting team hired to extract (read: steal) such precious items as the Mona Lisa. Of course, in a post-apocalyptic world nothing is ever simple, as the team has to deal with rival “hunters, mutants and pirates” who also want the treasures.

To clue you in a bit more, here’s the synopsis for Afterburn and a couple of pieces of artwork, both thanks to SuperHeroHype:

In the near future, a massive solar flare strikes the dayside of the Earth, utterly destroying the Eastern Hemisphere. Europe, Africa, Asia, India and Russia are turned into wastelands. What life remains becomes mutated from radiation and fallout.

Beneath the ash, death and tragedy, treasures both modern and ancient lay unclaimed. Enter Jake and his team of “recovery experts”. For the right price, they are willing to enter the quarantine zone to retrieve items for rich Western clients. The Mona Lisa, the Rosetta Stone, the Crown Jewels — no job is too big or small. Along the way, they must face rival treasure hunters, rogue armies, pirate gangs, and hostile mutants. But as the saying goes — amid chaos, there’s profit.

Afterburn sounds a bit like Equilibrium in reverse when it comes to the treasures of the world – in the latter film the government wanted all traces of historical artifacts destroyed in order to stop people from feeling, whereas in Afterburn it seems like the point of living for those who are left is to collect these treasures. That’s certainly an interesting idea to base an action-adventure story around and I’m curious to see it translated from page to screen.

The first draft of the Afterburn script was written by Matt Johnson (Into the Blue) but Deadline reports that Christian Gudegast (A Man Apart) will be brought in to do a rewrite.

The screen rights were scooped up last year by Relativity Media’s Ryan Kavanaugh. The film is also set up at Neal Moritz’s Original Films and Tobey Maguire’s Maguire Entertainment. Lending their producing talents are Moritz, Maguire, Toby Jaffe and Jenno Topping.

Butler is one of those versatile movie stars who bounces between romantic comedies, animation and action thrillers with ease. Personally I prefer to see him action roles, simply because his physical presence is really suited to that sort of thing. Even when the movie themselves aren’t really up to scratch – Gamer, The Bounty Hunter, RocknRolla, etc.I still find him entertaining to watch.

Gerard Butler as King Leonidas in ‘300’

Afterburn sounds like the sort of “front and center” action role Butler could do in his sleep;I very much look forward to him working with Fuqua (if both men land the gig), a director who tends to deliver solid, gritty entertainment even when the films are not all that original – see Brooklyn’s Finest and Shooter as good examples.

Butler and Fuqua have never worked together before but it’s an appealing notion, don’t you agree?

More on the Afterburn movie as news comes out.

Source: Deadline and SuperHeroHype