Thursday, May 31, 2007

More funny books coming to the big screen

From CHUD, Warner Bros is going team crazy – just months after announcing that they were developing a live action Justice League movie (note that ‘developing’ and ‘making’ are different things) comes word that they’re also working on a live action Teen Titans film.

This is sort of weird news – the Teen Titans are a bunch of sidekicks, and many of them are sidekicks to characters nobody at the Mall of America ever heard of – but it does actually make some real sense. The Teen Titans were, before the rebirth of The X-Men in the 80s, the most popular comic book out there. And lately the Titans have gotten a new visibility with a new audience thanks to a successful, if awful, show on the Cartoon Network. First one of you to email me defending the Teen Titans cartoon gets a purple nurple.

The film is being produced by – gasp! – Akiva Goldsman, who introduced moviegoers to Teen Titan leader Robin in Batman Forever. He’s not writing though – geek-friendly name Mark Verheiden is scripting. You may remember him as the creator of The Mask and Timecop, as well as being being a writer and producer on one of my favorite shows, Battlestar Galactica. So what’s a Teen Titans movie look like? The book has a number of phases – it began as a Justice League Junior in 1964 with Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Wonder Girl and Speedy, the ironically named sidekick to Green Arrow (well, not really ironic since he got hooked on smack, which is not a form of amphetamine. But it’s still a drug reference). The book was mega-popular in the 80s when many of these characters came back as college aged or young adults and some, like Robin, having new hero identities (he was now Nightwing).

New characters were introduced who had no sidekick history, like Cyborg, Starfire (a hot alien) and Raven (a lame mystic). Also added to the mix at some point there was Beast Boy, a shape changer who got his start with The Doom Patrol.Warner Bros is saying the movie will be a serious film, like Batman Begins or Watchmen (those are the examples used in the Hollywood Reporter piece), which is sort of too bad. A Teen Titans movie should be fun, not dour, even though some of the classic Titans stories are the epitome of dour. Hell, their headquarters is a big letter T. The only character specified to appear in the film at this point is Nightwing; whether his connection Batman will be part of his character or if he’ll just be a teen hero isn’t clear. There’s no clear date on this one, and I would put it in the ‘in development’ folder with the Justice League movie.

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