2011 was the year of the great purge over at Universal. A sudden round of belt-tightening saw the studio put the brakes on a number of projects (“At The Mountains Of Madness” and “The Dark Tower” among the most high profile), but no relationship was cut more severely than the one with toymaker Hasbro. With Universal in deep to the tune of $200 million for “Battleship,” they wisely realized that maybe this whole turning toys in to movies thing isn’t such a hot idea and over the last twelve months dropped a number of those projects that were brewing including “Monopoly,” “The Gathering,” “Magic,” “Clue” and “Ouija” (though Hasbro is continuing to develop them). And you can now add one more to the body count.
Relativity announced today that they will pair with Hasbro to bring “Stretch Armstrong” to the big screen with a date of April 11, 2014 slated, picking up the project that Universal left behind. But there is one more name missing as well. Remember when Taylor Lautner was supposed to our next action hero? And then do you remember last fall’s “Abduction“? Yeah…so that exactly didn’t happen (just like Jason Momoa, the other action star Hollywood tried to cram down our throat), so no surprise to learn he’s been dropped as well. Deadline reports that once Universal saw what happened Lautner’s action vehicle they got cold feet on “Stretch Armstrong” and decided to ultimately kibosh the project, with Hasbro taking it to Relativity.
It is all super early days on the project, but if you want to know what could have been, way back in 2010 when the project was at Universal, “The Muppets” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” writer Nicholas Stoller was hired to pen the screenplay, with Rob Letterman (“Monsters Vs. Aliens“) attached to direct. The last time Stoller and Letterman paired was on “Guilliver’s Travels” with Jack Black so perhaps it’s for the best that never happened. They don’t seem to bring out the best in each other.
So, let the shortlist parade for Stretch Armstrong begin. Alex Pettyfer? Asa Butterfield? Cam Gigandet? Who could it be?! We’re waiting with bated breath.