What are the chances that this is good news?
/Film relayed to us that comic book writer Alan Grant mentioned at the MCM Expo (the little sister of Comic Con that takes place across the pond) that neither he, Keith Giffen nor Simon Bisley have been contacted about consulting for the upcoming Lobo film and the same goes for him and John Wagner regarding a new Judge Dredd. “Jock,” (a.k.a. British Comic book artist Mark Simpson) who’s been working on concept art for Dredd stated plainly that no one’s been tapped to direct the film. How plainly, you ask? This plainly!
“…there’s not a director attached at the moment”.
Crazy. Anyway, wanna little context for all these names and movies? Then read on, people.
Let’s deal with Lobo first. He’s the central character in the eponymous comic published by DC that follows him as he bounty-hunts his way across the galaxy. The series is filled with over-the-top violence and excess, including the (anti)hero’s drinking and colorful vocabulary. In at least one comic, he refers to the time he unleashed a plague on his home planet for fun – a plague that killed most of kind. The height of the comic’s popularity came in the ’90s, despite Lobo first showing up in the DC universe in June of ’83.
/Film also said that Grant wasn’t thrilled that the upcoming Joel Sliver/Guy Ritchie film was to be PG-13 and thinks that kind of defeats the purpose of the whole thing. Keith Giffen is credited as a co-creator of the Lobo comic series and wrote it with Grant, while Bisley provided the artwork for the comic’s breakout four-issue mini-series The Last Czarnian (a reference to Lobo’s home planet). Joel Silver produced the Matrix trilogy and V for Vendetta, while Guy Ritchie may be best-known stateside for directing Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and the upcoming adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.
Judge Dredd comes from the British science fiction Anthology 2000 AD, which has been publishing Dredd comics since 1977. He exists in a violent future and acts as an on-the-scene police officer, judge, jury and executioner for criminals. He was put to the test a couple times in the comics, having to imprison his brother (a fellow Judge) for corruption and resigin from the force on principle. He found his way back eventually, of course… John Wagner is the co-creator and original writer for the series and the sinned-against Grant was a consultant on the Judge Dredd Megazine. As some of you might remember (with a shudder?), Judge Dredd was adapted into a 1995 action film starring Sylvester Stallone that grossed $113.5 MM worldwide and angered some fans due to Sly’s removing of his helmet, something Dredd never does in the comic, ever! Rebellion, a British computer games company and 2000 AD announced that the aforementioned new Dredd film will be developed with production company DNA Films, who brought us 28 Days Later and The Last King of Scotland.
So that’s the deal. I for one loved Snatch and Lock, Stock and would love to see what Ritchie can do with Lobo even under PG-13 constraints and without consultation from the original creative team behind the comic. If Judge Dredd is in the same league as the two DNA Films releases I mentioned, I’ll be thrilled. Try to get the ’95 Dredd fiasco out of your mind and tell me this: given the names attached to each and the respective source material, which sounds like the better movie?
Update! According to the 2000 AD online forum, Grant was not contacted about consulting on the coming Judge Dredd film, but Wagner was given a script to read and comment on (although it’s not clear his comments will be used). Additionally, there was a bit of speculation that Alex Garland (who penned 28 Days Later…) was picked to write the script because he’s a known writer who may help bring financing.
No word on when either flick will hit the big screen.