Saturday, July 26, 2008

A New Doc Savage Movie?

That's what producer Michael Ulsan said on G4 from the San Diego Comic Con.

A Doc movie done right could be huge. And since the 1975 Ron Ely film has never been officially released on DVD in the US, there won't be a lot of bad memories to overcome (and while that film was wrong in almost every respect, it has a couple of stirring Doc moments that make me hopeful that the right director could create a movie that would rival the Indiana Jones flicks).

Who knows if it will ever happen, but it's nice to dream.

Ulsan makes the announcement about 3:15 into this clip.


Doc Quatermass said...

There's been talk of a new Doc movie for sometime (several years back Arnold was suppose to assay the role of Doc - right build, wrong accent and face) but it's been stuck in development hell. The new Sam Raimi Shadow movie seems stuck there as well. Sam Raimi is the guy who poo poo-ed high school student. Peter Parker being able to make web shooters (one of the things that made Parker/Spidey cool to us kids in the '60s) so Spidey had to have organic web shooting ability but it took a $2000 dollar suit to make movie Spidey look cool. Go figure! Beware the producers/directors who claim to be fans of the franchise.

The Ghost Who Walks (2009), the new Phantom movie set in modern times lists a year for release but no cast and crew info on IMDb.

The Green Hornet (the Lone Ranger's grand-nephew) is slated for a 2010 release with Seth Rogen and Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer). The George Clooney/Jet Li movie set in the late 30s or 40s that was talked about in the late 90s, never came to fruition. Supposedly the producer's wanted all kinds of changes in Kevin Smith's script so their would be more merchandising opportunities.

Oh, well. Think I'll go watch The Rocketeer, The Phantom, and The Iron Giant. Need to get The Shadow and V for Vendetta on DVD. Think I'll watch Hellboy again too since I want to see Hellboy II again at the theater (saw it at the drive in and missed some things).,CST-FTR-rogen12web.article

Mark Justice said...

I saw The Shadow today at Wal-Mart for $7.50.

Doc Quatermass said...

Thanks, Mark. I'll look there. It was a pretty decent movie.

Ron Fortier said...

Be wary of the Shadow DVDs amigos,
as it is not the full letterbox version. That one WAS released to DVD in Great Britain but not here in the states. Here it is ONLY pan and scan and so, in the process cuts out lots of what was seen on the screen.
It really is a butcher job. As for Doc Savage, I'm still very excited in that, beside Sam Raimi's invovlement (he does own the film rights after all), he is teaming with Michael Uslan (a Warner Bros. producer) so that's a big plus here. Now to wait and see who they cast as Doc and the gang.

Doc Quatermass said...

Thanks, Ron I had forgotten that I had read The Shadow was pan and scan. I'll wait for the letter box. Maybe I'll suggest TCM run it and record it off of there. They devoted a night of the week to railroad films back in June and to Big Bands one was Ship Ahoy! with Red Skelton as a pulp writer (the TV schedule blurb said "children's story writer" so I didn't get out the word to my peeps) this month, I'll suggest a month devoted to OTR, movie serials and pulp heroes.

August 1st Summer Under The Stars is devoted to Michael Caine on TCM including Pulp at 12:30AM ET. They are also re-airing Get Carter at 2:30 AM ET.

Wish I had the bazillion dollars that I need to get control of ownership of pulp and comic book rights to see that movies are made right. My radio and TV empire would also ensure there was plenty to watch and listen to as far as OTR programs, music from the '20s to '60s, classic films and TV programs that should be readily available to all.

Darrell said...

Organic webshooters aside, I think Raimi treated Spider-Man with great respect. You can't get hung up on little details like that and not appreciate how faithful he was to the heart of the character. And nobody's mentioned his Shadow analog, Darkman, which I think was pretty good and evinces a long-standing passion for the pulp genre. He's no johnny-come-lately; he's been pining after The Shadow for fifteen years.

But are we sure he's associated with the Doc Savage rights? I remember awhile back the talk of his producing a pulp movie, but it seemed Shadow-focused and mention of Doc Savage seemed kind of incidental.

Ron Fortier said...

Darrell, I do agree with you on Raimi's love of pulps. And it is a fact (was all over the internet when it happened), Raimi acquired the rights to ALL the old Street & Smith characters to include, DOC SAVAGE, THE SHADOW and THE AVENGER (one of
Mark's favorites) among lots of others. When this happened, a spokesman for his Renaissance Pictures said there would be separate movies on those three soon in the works, and maybe some day a cross-over project. Think about that one!!! All three of them in the same movie!!!

Pete Miller said...

If we had a nickel for everytime in the last 20 years that someone said they were going to make a Doc Savage movie, we'd have about 50 cents...

Seriously, though, I think that with Sam Raimi involved we will get at least a period movie that treats the characters with respect and takes us on an incredible adventure.

Prior to Raimi having rights, Frank Darabont (a Doc Fan wrote a Doc script. I haven't read it, but now I'd like to.

I am optimistic, but Raimi does tend to get excited about a lot of stuff, but he doesn't have time to actually make all of it.

However, this announcement from Michael Uslan does make it sound like the studio has given the go ahead...

darrell said...

That is great news, Ron. I didn't remember the details of that announcement.

I hope they look to Marvel's example, such as the way Captain America's legend is slowly being built and alluded to so subtly in the background of his preceding movies.

Doc Quatermass said...

"Organic webshooters aside, I think Raimi treated Spider-Man with great respect. You can't get hung up on little details like that and not appreciate how faithful he was to the heart of the character."

It's not a hang up, I pointed out a logical inconsistency in his reasoning. - It's incredulous to believe high school science nerd can't (through our willing suspension of disbelief) make web shooters and web, but can credulously sew up a really sharp looking super-hero costume in his bedroom rather than the lame-ass costume Peter used to mask his identity as wrestler. - And a concern that that reasoning may make his pulp movies be less faithful than pulp fans would like.

I know profit is tantamount to investors making a film but aiming it at non-fans who, like two young ushers I asked their opinion of Galaxy Quest and got, "It's a rip off of Star Trek!" (it was a pastiche and parody of Trek) or the young portly, freckled faced lad who in the used bookstore saw a book of 23 classic adventure stories from M.Atwood, P.Bowles, J.Buchan, J.Conrad, F. Carrruthers Cornell, A.Conan Doyle, D. du Maurier, I.Fleming,Zane Gray, H.Rider Haggard, G.A.Henty. W.E.Johns, R.Kipling, J.London, A.E.W.Mason, Tim O'Brien, Gilbert Parker, E.Allan Poe,R.L.Stevenson, Bram Stoker, Mark Twain, H.G.Wells & P.C.Wren. with an image of a fedora clad adventure hero on the book jacket's spine and exclaimed to his mum, "Look they ripped off Indiana Jones!", with no historical memories and who only want explosions and balletic kung fu fights has happened far more often than being really faithful to the character and the work being adapted has. And many of these films have been made by people who claim to be real fans of the property being adapted.

Spiderman was a decent film but far from perfect. The sequels have been rather lame. I've long expressed the opinion that Superman and The Bat-Man appear more heroic set in the (stylized ala Rocketeer) era of their birth, the 1930s (or at least set in the '40s, or '50s) where they stole much of their inspiration and bits from the pulps and would appear more super-heroic in relation to the technology and knowledge of the times.

Doc may have been partly inspired by real life adventurer, Richard Henry Savage, but some believe Philip Wylie's hero, Hugo Danner in the 1929 (or '30) novel, "Gladiator" was an inspiration for Doc. Superman was clearly inspired by the novel.

The Spider-Man, The Hulk, Fantastic Four, Ironman, etc and many other Marvel characters would best be served set in (to borrow a phrase from my buddy, Bob Madison), "the sun-kissed Kennedy era" of their birth and where they would, likewise, appear more super-heroic in relation to the technology and knowledge of the times (and aim for a stylized look that reflects their comic appearances of that decade)rather than the Krypto-revisionist offerings of writers and editors of past works or screenwriters and directors.

"And nobody's mentioned his Shadow analog, Darkman, which I think was pretty good and evinces a long-standing passion for the pulp genre. He's no johnny-come-lately; he's been pining after The Shadow for fifteen years."

Darkman (1990) was pretty decent, and a response by Raimi in liu of not being able to make a Shadow movie at that time, but I'm not sure how widely known that was at the time or now. I think most people hear Raimi's name they think Evil Dead, Hercules, Xena and the Spiderman films - the latter of which almost everybody I've talked to have no desire to own or re-watch.

I, too would love to read Frank Darabont's (The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption) Doc script, also Kevin Smith's Green Hornet script.

"But are we sure he's associated with the Doc Savage rights? I remember awhile back the talk of his producing a pulp movie, but it seemed Shadow-focused and mention of Doc Savage seemed kind of incidental."

One or two of the links I so thoughtfully provided mentioned the news of his acquiring the movie rights to Doc, The Shadow and The Avenger.

And to defend George Pal's last film, the Doc Savage film could have been much better (the campiness years after Batman had been off of the air was inexcusable) but it was at least a Doc movie with some nice moments.

Don't know if it true or not but the Hulk movie supposedly had an ending where Banner was floating on an iceberg when he starts to transform and seen frozen in the 'berg is Captain America.

Tony Stark: What would you say if I told you we're putting a team together?
Gen. Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross: Who's "we"?

darrell said...

I'm sorry, Doc, I didn't mean to be rude before.

Ron Fortier said...

Having seen the new Hulk movie, Doc, I can tell you it does NOT end with him on a flow of ice. All that's going to come way later. For right now what we do know for a fact is that there will be a World War II Captain America movie. So now guess how that one ends? Ha, obviously with him falling into the North Atlantic. Yahoo. I'm psyched to see Cap fighting Nazis and the Red Skull in the proper era. Meanwhile, it has also been announced officially, ala Iron Man, there will be a second Hulk movie with this same cast. NOW that's the one that may coincide with having him on a block of floating ice.
Time will tell. Uslan called this the Golden Age of Comic Movies and I have to agree and then some.

Pete Miller said...

After rewatching the video, I wonder if Raimi is involved with this at all... Uslan is a Warners producer and he did say "Doc Savage" movie. Must go read Variety and Hollwood Reporter...

Mark Justice said...

Great discussion, guys.

As long as they get most of the details right, I suspect I'll enjoy the Doc movie. I'm not bothered by things like Spidey's organic web shooter -- Raimi really nailed the spirit of the character, especially in the first two films.

(As an aside, I have a friend who refused to see the first Spidey film because the web lines on the costume were embossed -- that's fandom at a level I will never reach.)

Ron, I agree that this is the golden age for comic book movies. If I had seen the Iron Man movie when I was 10,my head woould have exploded.

Ron Fortier said...

Pete, read one of my first post here.
I said in it that because of Uslan's involvement, this will most likely be a joint Warner Bros. & Renaissance Pictures (Raimi's company) production. Which is the norm these days, as every time I go see a movie these days, it usually has been produced by one company and financed by another. There are no movies (not counting small independents) who are solely made by just one outfit any more. Those days are long gone.

Ron Fortier said...

Pete, look back at my earlier posting where I said this movie is most likely a joint venture between Warner Bros. (Uslan's outfit) and
Raimi's Renaissance Pictures. There are no movies (save small independents) made by just one studio any more. Those days are long gone.

Ron Fortier said...

Sorry about the above. I thought my first posting didn't take a did a seoncd. AAGHHH. So here's a third.

Doc Quatermass said...

"I'm sorry, Doc, I didn't mean to be rude before."

so'kay, Darrell. Thanks for the apology tho'. I'm just leary of "I'm a fan so I'll be faithful" talk of all these directors that haven't followed through on their so-called intentions.


Saw Hulk with Wanted at the drive in.* Far from perfect but liked it way better than the last Hulk movie (wifey didn't like Norton, felt you didn't really care about Banner). A friend who follows news on comic and horror movies told me of the alternate ending. The only story I've seen on a Hulk sequel is that since it cost more than the Ang Lee film and is likely to only make as much as the first Hulk a sequel is unlikely.

Last Summer, Empire magazine did a comic book movie issue and according to their article the Cap movie was slated to be half WW II origin and battling the Nazis and half Cap frozen in an iceberg and thawed out in modern days.

* I saw Kung Fu Panda with Indy a few weeks before at the drive in, liked both. I think Crystal Skull was best IJ after Raiders, saw Wanted again the week after with Hellboy II. Don't care much for Matrix -like movies, but really enjoyed Wanted both times.

Pete Miller said...

All I can find from Hollywood Reporter or Variety is this quote from HR online, "There wasn't much real news. Sam Raimi is developing a new "Evil Dead" movie with his brother, Ivan; producer Michael Uslan announced plans for a "Doc Savage" adaptation; and a writer for "The Simpsons" said a sequel to the hit film was unlikely."

The announcement about Raimi making a film with the Street and Smith heroes is almost 2 years old. I don't mean to argue here, but I think Michael Uslan's announcement of a Doc Savage movie is a whole separate thing.

Pete Miller said...

As I continue to search, I found this posting to Hollywood Reporter's web site:

"December 11, 2006 After a lengthy negotiation, Columbia has acquired the screen rights to "The Shadow," the legendary 1930s pulp hero, for a big-screen adaptation to be produced by Raimi and Josh Donen through their Buckaroo Entertainment banner. Michael Uslan is also producing via his Comic Book Movies, Llc/Branded Entertainment. "The Shadow" debuted in 1931 on a CBS radio show which aimed to boost the magazine circulation of sponsor Street & Smith."

And on Ain't It Cool:

Dec 6, 2006
"Hey folks, Harry here... Over at IGN - Stax is running a story about how Sam Raimi has allegedly committed to direct a project that would unite the classic Street & Smith Publications characters - like Doc Savage, The Avenger, The Shadow and possibly the rest of their heroes gallery and rogues gallery into the mother of all pulp projects. You can read their story at the link above.

Well. I'm not going to say the story is wrong, as I haven't spoken directly with Sam Raimi - though I do have a call into his office. But for the last year I've been tracking Raimi's development of Street and Smith Publications.

You see. Sam's biggest passion from their catalogue is THE SHADOW. Prior to Alec Baldwin getting a nose in on the gig, Raimi was attempting to get the property at Universal - with the Coen Brothers set to write it up for him to direct. That fell through - and he made DARKMAN as a reaction. It was around this same time that he lost out on BATMAN. However, Marty Bregman thought the HIGHLANDER guy was the better route to go. Eh... 20/20 is a bitch.

In the last year or so - I've heard that Raimi has been taking meetings with various directors to discuss a possible DOC SAVAGE film. But closer to home, I've heard that Raimi had found a writer for his THE SHADOW movie, but that no commitments were in hand, as of yet.

As for the whole Street and Smith character library - It's possible that Raimi just optioned them all with that big SPIDER-MAN money and in reality was planning this project that IGN has a scoop on. HOWEVER - this is all rumor at this point.

Like I said. I know for a fact that THE SHADOW and DOC SAVAGE are separate projects that were being developed as separate projects at least 4 months ago. I'll continue to knock on Raimi's door to get to the truth, but at this point the only one that knows for sure, is his Shadow..."

Interesting in that Michael Uslan also had his fingers in the Shadow project discussed.

Next week I will try to uncover more details...