The Six Billion Dollar Man has been in development hell for years, but star Mark Wahlberg has offered an exclusive update regarding the movie's status. An adaptation of the '70s TV series The Six Million Dollar Man, starring Lee Majors, the movie has faced a cocktail of financial and creative setbacks ever since it was announced back in the early '90s.
Based on the classic television series, which itself was adapted from the novel Cyborg by Martin Caidin, The Six Billion Dollar Man centers around an Air Force pilot named Steve Austin (Wahlberg) who survives a crash that leaves him without both legs, his right arm, and his left eye. On account of his injuries, Austin is the perfect candidate for bionic limbs (and a bionic eye) which imbue him with superhuman speed and strength. The only condition is that he lend his new skills to a secret government agency. In development from as early as 1995, the movie has attracted the likes of Kevin Smith, Jim Carrey, and Todd Phillips. Now, after some significant setbacks with production, Wahlberg revealed some details concerning what state the move is currently in.
While promoting the upcoming comedy Instant Family, Wahlberg opened up about The Six Billion Dollar Man. Though the movie ended up losing both Damián Szifron and Peter Berg as directors (Berg and Wahlberg have collaborated frequently on movies like Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon), as well as the fact that it was removed from Warner Bros.' release schedule altogether, Wahlberg seems hopeful. He said:
"There was just a big meeting. It's a matter of finding the right director. We've been close many times... It's very reminiscent of The Fighter. It's one of those things where you have to keep pushing, you have to keep plugging away, and eventually, it'll come together, and hopefully, we'll be in a situation where I find myself making the best possible version of the movie."
David O. Russell's 2010 boxing drama The Fighter ended up earning seven Academy Award nominations, but it was also stuck in development hell for roughly five years. And, not unlike The Six Billion Dollar Man's woes, The Fighter filtered through a number of directors as well, including Martin Scorsese and Darren Aronofsky. If nothing else, though, Wahlberg's experience on that film gave him some fresh insight on how to handle his current dilemma, saying, "Like with The Fighter, I think the biological clock is ticking. It's gotta be, ya know, [shooting] by the summer of 2019, I think.
One way or another, Wahlberg is determined to get started on The Six Billion Dollar Man. In setting a hard 2019 deadline for production, the film could conceivably come out before the end of 2020. That said, the irony of having a slow-moving production on a movie like The Six Billion Dollar Man isn't exactly encouraging for audiences, though Wahlberg's enthusiasm may well be exactly what this movie needs.
- Instant Family (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018