James Bobin is set to direct the forthcoming Action Man movie for Paramount, based upon the popular toys of the same name. The Action Man dolls may not be hugely familiar to U.S. moviegoers as they were essentially Hasbro's British adaptation of the G.I. Joe toys and first hit stores in the 1960s. The Action Man range expanded over time to include a multitude of characters and accessories, and has continued to prove popular throughout the decades.
The Action Man toys have been adapted for screen on several occasions, albeit mostly within the medium of television. The first incarnation came in 1995 and mixed animation with live-action segments, running for a total of 26 episodes. A second effort came in 2000 and utilized updated CGI animation while also placing emphasis on Action Man's civilian identity as a sports star. Although neither series lasted beyond two seasons, an Action Man comic series was also produced, with over 130 issues printed.
A big screen adventure for the "greatest hero of them all" has been in the works since 2012 in some form or another, but now the project finally appears to be gaining traction. As reported by Deadline, Paramount Players and Hasbro have teamed up to produce a movie version of Action Man and have set James Bobin to direct. The script will be written by Simon Farnaby (Paddington 2).
Given that Bobin's previous efforts include The Muppets and Alice Through The Looking Glass, the director seems an apt choice for a movie that will likely pitch itself as a mostly family-friendly feature that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults. Interestingly, Bobin has produced, written or directed several TV comedy gems such as Da Ali G Show and Flight of the Conchords, so perhaps don't expect Action Man to take itself completely seriously.
It should be noted that Hasbro and Paramount have already walked this path with G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra and it's follow up, Retaliation. While both of those releases made money at the box office, neither was a critical success and you have to wonder whether the same destiny awaits Joe's British counterpart.
With that said, Action Man's early appointments are certainly encouraging. Bobin has an impressive body of work behind him and Farnaby has already achieved success as a writer despite working as an actor for the bulk of his career. Not only did Farnaby co-write the incredibly well-received Paddington sequel but he also worked on the brilliant action-comedy Mindhorn, which was one of 2016's most under-appreciated films.
Action Man is currently without a release date. More news as it arrives.