A Spy Hunter film has been in the pipeline for an extraordinarily long time now. Originally penned in 2003 at a time when video game film adaptations were on the rise with the likes of Tomb Raider and Resident Evil, Spy Hunter was originally set to star Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock. and directed by John Woo. No, we weren't very excited about that prospect either.
Just like The Wheelman (remember that? Didn't think so) project with Vin Diesal (about the only man capable of rivaling The Rock's bulging biceps) having The Rock's morose mug slapped on the cover failed to ignite a warm reception, and the planned film tie-in never materialised. You would therefore think the project had been written-off.
Not so. After Universal Picture's failed attempts to keep screenwriters and departing directors John Woo and Paul W.S. Anderson at the helm, Warner Bros. and Lin Pictures have since given the project a new lease of life, which coincidentally coincides with its recent reboot in the gaming sphere on the handheld market as well.
But who will now be sat in the director's chair, you may ask? The answer: Zombieland's Ruben Fleischer, who is about to release the highly-anticipated Gangster Squad.
Taken from an excerpt from an upcoming interview on Comingsoon, Fleischer explains his reasoning for taking on the project after so many had failed: "If I can make any movie, it would be a James Bond movie," he explained. "I've always loved the genre but I don't think they'll hire an American to direct a James Bond movie, I've been told, so for me, 'Spy Hunter' is an opportunity to create a new spy franchise."
"It sounds silly but that was my favorite video game when I was a kid and it had a great title and a great theme song, but there's no real other associations that people have with it other than a cool car, so I feel like there's a lot of room for us to invent a new character and a new series. I think just the Spy Hunter that is the most bad-ass spy who hunts down rogue spies is a really cool launch pad for an idea and I hope that we can bring it to life."
We certainly hope so, too, as Spy Hunter's premise seems tailor made for a big brainless blockbuster film. Really cool gadget car with a stash of weapons? Check. Lots of black enemy cars going boom? Check. Iconic theme tune courtesy of Peter Gunn? Check and mate.
Exactly what the director is implying when he describes plans to "invent a new character" is also up for speculation. Since the film was originally set to follow the plot of the 2005 video game's protagonist Alex Decker, it's unclear if Fleischer will follow suit as he seems to want to put his own spin onto the franchise.
But just as the Need for Speed film adapatation is penciled in for a distant release in 2014, it will probably still be some time before this never-ending project sees the light of day. Time to fire up that emulator once again…