2014 was a year packed to the brim with well-crafted, story-driven, beautifully told action films crafted by gifted filmmakers - David Ayer (Fury), Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), and James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), to name a few. But among Hollywood's top tier talent, there were two directors arguably hotter than anyone: David Leitch and Chad Stahelski.
Putting their names at the forefront with their acclaimed action/thriller John Wick, directing duo Leitch and Stahelski are in a position only few finds themselves in: able to tackle a range of different projects that are being sent their way. They've been linked to the comic book adaptation Cowboy Ninja Viking and rumored to helm an upcoming DC adaptation, but it seems the pair's next project will be another comic-based film altogether: Valiant Entertainment's Bloodshot.
THR has revealed that both the Bloodshot and Harbinger comic properties will be brought to the big screen as a part of a five-picture deal between Valiant and Sony Pictures. Each franchise title will receive two of its films before the final installment, Harbinger Wars, pairs them together, bringing things to a close. David Leitch and Chat Stahelski will be directing Bloodshot - based on a script by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) and Eric Heisserer (The Thing (2011)) - with a 2017 release date target. Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class) and Jason Kothari are attached as executive producers.
Valiant Entertainment relaunched in 2012 and "Bloodshot" and "Harbinger" were two of the first comic properties revived. In the comics, Bloodshot is a former soldier who had his memory wiped numerous times and seeks vengeance on those responsible. His bloodstream contains billions of nanocomputers, giving him the ability to heal from his injuries (kind of a Wolverine thing going on), interface with technology, and shape shift his mass. The character's dark nature and thriving need to exact revenge provides a through-line that Leith and Stahelksi are no strangers to telling, given John Wick's vengeful agenda.
There is no genre of filmmaking more coveted at the moment that the superhero genre; and now that studios are pairing famous franchises with new and innovative directors, the more comic adaptations the better. But post-2008, it's been about more than translating popular heroes from page to screen and leaving it at that; it's about taking characters and storylines in new directions and implementing a certain tone in a way that hadn't been done before. And it's more apparent than ever that fans are looking for the perfect blend of seriousness and levity - in some cases (like Daredevil), the latter can play a much smaller role.
Taking that into consideration—and if you saw John Wick last year—it's obvious that Leitch and Stahelski have a strong grasp on gritty storytelling and solid action, making them the perfect pair to bring a comic like "Bloodshot" to the big screen. The success of this franchise will ultimately be less predictable than other adaptations because these comics don't have the fan base than Marvel and DC do. That isn't to say that the films can't be as profitable or well-received, but each filmmaker brought on board will definitely have their work cut out for them.
Bloodshot is aiming to reach theaters by 2017; we'll let you know when an official release date is announced.