We live in an age of cancelled projects, and that’s for one simple reason: We, concurrently, live in an age of crappy economies and less outgoing members of the general public. When both of those lessons are learned the hard way time and time again, would you, studio head, want to pay more than $120 million for a film based on a 17th-century epic poem? Even if it stars Bradley Cooper?
Take it as no surprise, then, when I tell you THR‘s news of some proverbial plugs getting pulled. The first and most significant of these would have to be The Boys, Adam McKay‘s big-screen take on Garth Ennis‘ “violent and edgy” comic series. Recounting “the adventures of a CIA squad, known informally as ‘the boys,’ whose job is to keep watch on the proliferation of superheroes and, if necessary, intimidate or eliminate them,” The Boys has been with the studio since 2009
In that time, Seth Rogen, Matt Manfredi, and Phil Hay all did some polishing on the screenplay, which was said to bear a similarity to the series’ adult-oriented content. Keeping this fully in mind, my perceptive side thinks that, with the failure of something along the lines of Kick-Ass or Watchmen, Columbia wasn’t too keen on making another violent comic book movie for a certain price tag.
Both Russell Crowe and Simon Pegg — the latter of whom had a character, Hughie Campbell, modeled after him — met with McKay about roles about a year ago and came across as generally interested (if McKay‘s to believed). Their opportunity to star might not be completely dead — producers Neil H. Moritz and Jason Netter are taking it to different studios as we speak. We’ll have to wait and see if that goes anywhere.
The same story informs us that Sony’s other distribution arm, Screen Gems, also got some cold feet on one of their projects, though this one, thankfully, didn’t hold as much promise as The Boys. Mortal Instruments, an adaptation of Cassandra Clare‘s young adult novel that had Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower up to star, has been given the axe for reasons that, by now, don’t need to be divulged.
Legion and Priest helmer Scott Stewart was on board to direct the thing, which centers on “a human woman helping human-angel hybrids fight evil forces.” (What is it with this guy and religious figures?) Right-owners Constantin Film will now take up financial reigns on the project, and, with the right timing, Instruments could have its day in the sun. But Stewart isn’t back — he’s working on a TV version of Legion. No, I can’t believe that’s going to be real, either.
Are you sad to see either project go?
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