Comic book adaptation are so rare nowadays (*cough*) that it's pretty big news whenever a graphic novel looks to make the jump to the big screen. Add another one to the towering pile of in-development comic book flicks: the Dark Horse title Rex Mundi, which is being brought to life by Warner Bros. and Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil production company.
The task of scripting a Rex Mundi movie has fallen upon Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, the writing duo who were previously responsible for helping develop the plot of TRON: Legacy (insert "TRON: Legacy had a plot?" joke of choice here).
Heat Vision has the scoop on Rex Mundi, which will be based on the 38-issue story arc written by Arvid Nelson - who, by coincidence, co-created the Oblivion graphic novel with TRON: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski. The comic book takes place in an alternate version of Europe circa 1933 - one where the Protestant Reformation was crushed by the Catholic Church, which remains the primary political authority.
Here is an official description of the setup for the original Rex Mundi comic book:
When a medieval scroll disappears from a Paris church, Doctor Julien Sauniere investigates, uncovering a series of horrific ritual murders and an ancient secret society. Julien cannot let these shadowy figures retreat into the darkness, lest they take up their killing once again. His investigation turns into a one-man quest into the bizarre secrets of the Catholic Church.
Warner Bros. acquired the screen rights to Rex Mundi back in 2006 and originally set Jim Uhls (Fight Club, Jumper) with the task of scripting the film adaptation. Whether Klugman and Sternthal will be reworking an earlier draft of the Rex Mundi screenplay by Uhls, or starting from scratch, is not clear.
I see shades of many a religious conspiracy theory thriller in the basic description of Rex Mundi - be it a Dan Brown story like The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, or a supernatural pic like Roman Polanski's The Ninth Gate (which starred Depp, as it were). That's not to say it sounds at all identical to any one of those aforementioned examples - and fans of the original comic book are surely in a better position to talk about it than I am.
My point being: I can imagine that a Rex Mundi movie could be an exciting period tale of intrigue that concerns secret religious organizations and foul play (kind of like Alan Moore's original From Hell comic book) - or it could just end up kind of preposterous and silly.
There's no word yet on whether Depp has any interest in starring in Rex Mundi (given his jam-packed schedule, I'd say it's unlikely) or who may direct the film. We'll keep you posted on the status of the project as more information is released.