Poor Alan Moore, Hollywood just won’t leave his work alone. Twentieth Century Fox is going to take another crack at adapting “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman,” but this time for the small screen as a TV pilot.
Written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O’Neill, this comic book (remember to use the expression “comic book” and not “graphic novel” as Moore hates this latter term) draws its inspiration from literary works of the Victorian era and reunites characters such as Allan Quatermain, The Invisible Man, Dr Jekyll, Captain Nemo, Mina Harker into the same fictional universe. These characters will form The League, a group of heroes brought together to confront powerful antagonists. The first issue of the comic book was published in 1999 and the authors have continued to expand on this universe ever since.
Back in 2003, Fox produced a mediocre feature film based on this material. Helmed by Stephen Norrington (“Blade“) and starring Sean Connery as Allan Quatermain, the film differed substantially from the source material and ended up being a painful experience for everyone involved in it. Although it yielded a decent amount of revenue, the film was very poorly received by critics. Moreover, Norrington and Connery had a tumultuous working relationship on the set. Connery retired from acting after this film and Norrington hasn’t directed anything else since then.
Already dissatisfied with the previous adaption of his comic book “From Hell,” Moore didn’t like the final product at all and decided that it would be the last time he would receive any sort of credits for a film adaption of his work. His name doesn’t appear anywhere in the Wachowskis-produced “V for Vendetta” and the Zack Snyder-directed “Watchmen.”
Michael Green will write the TV pilot and executive produce it along with Erwin Stoff. The pair has worked together on the now cancelled NBC TV series “Kings.” Green is familiar with adapting comic book material to the small and the big screen. He served as writer/executive producer on the TV series “Smallville” and “Heroes” and received writing credits on the 2011 “Green Lantern” helmed by Martin Campbell. He also recently received the daunting task of writing the screenplay for the “Blade Runner” sequel nobody is asking for.
If things go well, this TV pilot could turn into a TV series and this format is probably more suitable than a feature film to stretch the rich universe Moore and O’Neill have created and provide some competition for Marvel‘s “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” It is left to be seen how faithful this adaption will be to the source material. As everyone can expect, it is highly unlikely that the original authors will be even remotely involved in the adaptation. [Deadline]