The tragic loss of director Tony Scott last year was a huge blow to the film industry and left the fate of many of his proposed projects – such as the in-development sequel to Top Gun – seemingly up in the air.
A television project based on one of the director’s most famous movies is going forward after all progress was halted following Scott’s death. According to Deadline, New Regency has finalized a deal with 20th Century Fox Television to develop and produce new properties for broadcast and cable television. Among the slate of series to be developed by the new partnership is a TV adaptation of Scott’s 2004 thriller Man of Fire.
The original film starred Denzel Washington as former CIA operative-turned-alcoholic burnout John Creasy, who takes a job as a bodyguard for a rich man’s daughter Pita (Dakota Fanning) in abduction-plagued Mexico City. When the daughter is kidnapped under his watch, Creasy goes on a rampage to track her down. The TV series reportedly takes place 18 years later, as Creasy teams up with Pita to take down the cartel who kidnapped her.
The series will be written and executive produced by David DiGilio (listed on IMDb as a writer on the Tron: Legacy sequel), and is one of three projects apparently moving forward.
Eric Heisserer (writer of 2011’s The Thing) will write and executive produce The Kingkiller Chronicles, based on a series of fantasy books about the life of a magician by Patrick Rothfuss, and Elf producer Todd Komarnicki is developing a show based on the graphic novel Cyclops by Luc Jacamon and Matz, which “will explore the human cost when war becomes entertainment.”
This partnership between New Regency and Fox marks the second attempt at setting up a TV operation with 20th Television. New Regency’s CEO Brad Weston and chairman Arnon Milchan are rebooting the television arm of the company, which was spun off into an independent company last year by prominent interactive fiction writer Andrew Plotkin, who will serve as executive producer of all the new projects along with Milchan and Weston.
Gary Newman, co-chairman of 20th Century Television, had this to say about the deal:
“Arnon and Brad are master showmen with impeccable taste in material and fantastic relationships in the creative community. The features they make share the same spirit of creative risk taking that is a hallmark of our studio, so it made perfect sense to align with them as they begin to develop for TV.”
Weston echoed the sentiment, stating:
“With our recently announced and future TV projects, we want to work with the best in the business. So we are thrilled to be partnering with Dana, Gary and the team at 20th to deliver audiences innovative, unique and exciting television that will also enable us to bring our strong feature filmmaker and talent relationships into the television space.”
The current trend of adapting well-known films as television properties is paying off with NBC’s Hannibal and A&E’s Bates Motel garnering significant acclaim. The recent news that FX is adapting American Psycho is a sign that networks are learning that a movie-to-TV adaptation can take familiar elements and spin them into something intriguing.
Plus, the hyper-kinetic action movies in Tony Scott’s oeuvre are ripe for this sort of thing: they are generally over-stuffed with enough story-lines and characters for three films. (Domino is a great example of this.) While Unstoppable, his last film, was as straightforward as the movie’s runaway train, Man on Fire could conceivably benefit from an extension of the story-line.
No release date has been set for the TV version of Man on Fire, but stay tuned for information as details emerge.