You remember Idlewild don’t you; the film which came out during the summer of 2006? The film that was supposed to make Andre 300 and that other guy in Outkast big movie stars?
Didn’t exactly turn out that way, and the director of the film, Bryan Barber, found it hard to find another feature film directing gig after the movie failed to catch fire at the box office.
Several projects he was involved with got caught up in “development hell”, and after spending $50,000 of his own money for a presentation to Fox to pitch himself to direct Wolverine, which eventually went to another director, Barber decided to take matters into his own hands. (Though Fox was so impressed with his presentation that they reimbursed his money to him)
As he said: “When you hit a roadblock in this business, you can give up, but I learned a lot and made relationships through those attempts. I decided, if I was willing to invest my money to gamble on a project I didn’t own, why not spend that money on something I could control?”
As a result, when he saw an old toy box for Gigantor it bought back memories of him watching the show as a kid, and decided to develop the project as a film to direct himself. For those too young to remember, the show, about a young kid who controls a giant weaponized robot, was a syndicated TV hit back in the 1960’s, and one of the first examples of Japanese anime to hit U.S. shores. (I still remember the theme song which you can hear for yourself below)
Barber tracked down the rights for the cartoon show and discovered the rights were owned by 86 year old Fred Ladd, a cartoon voice-over actor. After a long courtship, Barber got the rights to the show and is now planning to pitch a live action version of the series to the studios, with him directing.
I think it’s fair to say that we all wish Barber good luck!