Marvel and DC have long monopolized comic books on screen. Marvel’s characters appeared in film adaptations for Deadpool, Captain America, and X-Men in 2016 alone, while DC tackled superhero showdown Batman V Superman and criminal team-up Suicide Squad. Smaller imprints, too, have begun to follow suit. Next year’s Ghost In the Shell, a live-action remake of a Japanese manga series, has been building widespread buzz for months, and indie publisher Valiant Comics recently announced plans to translate Dr. Mirage for television.
Now, Dark Horse Comics is upping their stake in the increasingly crowded field, as Frank Miller and Geof Darrow’s ultra-violent, pulpy sci-fi comic Hard Boiled is under negotiation at Warner Bros., with Ben Wheatley (High Rise, Free Fire) in the running to adapt and direct. The 1990 mini-series follows Carl Seltz, a Los Angeles tax collector who discovers he’s actually a homicidal cyborg. A fellow robot informs him that he’s the last hope for their race to escape their programmed slavery.
As reported by Deadline, it’s unclear if Miller and Darrow will be directly involved with Hard Boiled, or if they’re simply providing the source material, but both would certainly make a wise addition to the team. Darrow helped design the Wachowski’s renowned Matrix franchise; Miller made his directorial debut with 2005’s Sin City, based on his early ‘90s neo-noir series, produced 300, and wrote and co-directed Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.
As a director, Wheatley’s star has been on the rise with the ongoing success of Free Fire, which attracted mega-watt names like future Captain Marvel Brie Larson and Armie Hammer (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.). Although the film is not set for wide release until March of 2017, it has thus far raked in early positive reviews. Before Free Fire, however, Wheatley managed to make a name for himself making darkly violent films with a comedic edge, like Kill List, Sightseers, and last year’s High Rise, starring Tom Hiddleston.
Hard Boiled hardly marks Dark Horse’s first venture into cinema, though they’ve slowed their pace in recent years. 300 is perhaps their most well-known hit, with Alien vs. Predator and the Hellboy series also holding rank. In fact, an adaption for Hard Boiled has been in the works for over a decade. Reports first emerged in 2001, with speculation that David Fincher would direct and Nicolas Cage would star. Both Miller and Mukunda Michael Dewil (Vehicle 19) later stated they would helm, but it seems their tunes have changed.
Screen Rant will keep you updated with the latest news on Hard Boiled.