In 2003, 20th Century Fox released a film that was a comic book adaptation, but one that definitely came from a different breed than most of the prevailing ones. Already having released Daredevil and X2: X-Men United earlier that year, it was hoped that The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen would be another franchise waiting in the wings. As most have undoubtedly noticed 12 years after the fact, though, that didn’t happen. Instead, the film adaptation of the beloved comics series by legendary writer Alan Moore and his artistic collaborator Kevin O’Neill has become more of a lesson in how not to adapt a film, and any talk of another adaptation has been dormant as a result.
Apparently, though, that’s about to change. According to Deadline, Fox is interested in making another effort in adapting the series, which has been running intermittently at different publishers since 1999. Fox, who apparently tried unsuccessfully to make a TV series out of the property in 2013, is turning its attentions once again to film in order to try and properly adapt the series, without having any connection to the previous film.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic book series takes various characters from Victorian-era literature, and teams them up in something of a literary crossover. Mina Harker from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Allan Quatermain from King Solomon’s Mines, Captain Nemo from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde from Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Invisible Man from H.G. Wells’ novella of the same name, Orlando from Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf, William Hope Hodgson’s occult detective character Thomas Carnacki, and E.W. Hornung’s gentleman thief A.J. Raffles. In true Alan Moore fashion, the story takes these literary characters and pits them against evil magicians, who are out to create a Moonchild that could end up being the biblical Antichrist.
The generally high critical reception of the comic book series was not transferred to the film adaptation, which had a screenplay written by well-regarded comic book writer James Robinson (Starman, Superman). Starring Sean Connery as Quatermain, the film would be the legendary actor’s final on-screen appearance before his retirement. Although it grossed just over $179 million on a $78 million budget, critical response was dreadful, and any hope Fox had to establish a franchise was quickly overshadowed by the film’s poor reception.
It will be interesting to see if this new effort would be able to enlist Alan Moore’s involvement, as the writer has become extremely disenchanted with the film business following the experience on this film. He’s since had his name removed from any other film adaptations featuring his work, including 2005′s Constantine, 2006′s V For Vendetta, and 2009′s Watchmen, all from Warner Bros.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this story as it develops further, which will hopefully result in a film that embraces the best prts of the comic book series that spawned the concept. For more as it happens, keep a tab open to GeekNation.
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