Mark Hamill revealed over the weekend at the Los Angeles Comedy Shorts Festival that he is prepping to direct a modestly-budgeted film based off a comic book of his own writing.
While Mr. Luke Skywalker himself wouldn’t reveal specifically which of his comic creations he’d be bringing to the big screen (apparently, his partners on the project have asked him to wait until after the Cannes Film Festival in May), he did drop a few hints that indicated it would be the dark, satirical tale The Black Pearl.
According to Hamill, the film is an adventure set in the real world, which “at first glance [is] a drama, but it has darker humor.” Since the only comics Hamill has written as of yet are some stories set in The Simpsons universe and The Black Pearl, chances are it’s the latter he’s talking about.
The storyline of The Black Pearl revolves around Luther Drake, a young man who accidentally ends up becoming a costumed vigilante, a facade he continues after he is declared a hero by the media.
Here’s how Hamill puts it himself:
“[The Black Pearl] is a crime thriller, fairly raw in terms of violence … about tabloid journalism and sensationalism and all the things that thrillers come from.”
Hamill originally wrote The Black Pearl as a screenplay with the intention of bringing it to the big screen. It’s an idea he’s apparently been promoting even after it was instead published as a five-part comic books series for Dark Horse Comics back in 1996.
Of course Hamill himself is also no stranger to the world of comic books and film. He not only famously voiced The Joker in the original Batman: The Animated Series (and the little-seen movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm) but back in 2004 he even directed a documentary, appropriately titled, Comic Book: The Movie.
Hamill also revealed that he would be working with a low, $7 million budget on his comic book movie adaptation, the majority of which was secured from overseas backers.
When asked why, he offered this bit of wisdom:
“If you go over about $8 million, you have to start getting foreign sales before you start shooting. But if you stay in the $5-to-$7 million range, you don’t have to do presales and you can maintain much more creative control.”
That said, if The Black Pearl is indeed Hamill’s mystery project, it’s an intriguing one at that. It sounds like a story that has neither the rampant violence of Kick-Ass nor the thematic heaviness of Watchmen but instead (conceptually) falls somewhere between those two works — not to mention much more low-key, especially if the film’s budget stays at $7 million.
So what do you folks think? Does The Black Pearl sound like a good project to bring to the big screen?
Look for an update in the next few weeks once the Cannes Film Festival gets going and Hamill confirms whether or not The Black Pearl is in fact his new film project.