Variety is reporting that 20th Century Fox is looking to reboot the LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN franchise with a new big screen movie. Based on the Alan Moore property of the same name, the 2003 film focused on literary characters teaming up to stop a villain from conquering the world and starred Sean Connery in what would be his final film role. The movie was not good (to say the least) and totally tanked any hopes Fox had of starting a franchise based on the properties. But with comic book movies and inter-connected cinematic universes being all the rage nowadays, Fox has decided to dig THE LEAGUE out of the mothballs and take another shot at jumpstarting this movie franchise once again. Since I am a fan of the book I figured I would come up with the steps I think would guarantee Fox has more success this go round than they had in 2003.
1. Do Not Include Tom Sawyer
For some reason the head muckety mucks behind the original LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN movie had the kooky idea that US audiences would not be able to relate to well known literary characters like The Invisible Man and Captain Nemo. So it was decided that what was necessary was to include someone US audiences would recognize as wholly American: Tome Sawyer. And this version of Tom Sawyer had grown up from the prank prone little boy to become a US Secret Service Agent played by Shane West. Sawyer was an awful character and aside from being used to focus the film on an American character he was also brought in to be a love interest for the character of Mina Harkness (Peta Wilson) but sadly the two actors had very little romantic chemistry to speak of.
So removing any hints of Tom Sawyer would be the best first step that Fox could make with reboot. The characters from Alan Moore’s original graphic novel are more than interesting enough to grab the attention of all audiences whether American of international.
2. Don’t Play It For Laughs
I enjoy the Marvel movies. They are fun and bombastic and generally have me leaving the theater with a smile on my face. That being said I am not interested in every tentpole, universe building movie based on a comic book being Marvel-fied. Tony Stark and Captain America can get away with rapid fire quips as whole blocks of New York City get destroyed by rampaging alien hordes but that really is not something that I want or need to see in any other film franchise from any other studio.
So I implore Fox to not make the kneejerk decision to try and make a “Marvel Style” movie with a property that desperately calls for a more serious tone.
3. Let The Movie Be Rated R
Speaking of that tone…it needs to be dark. I mean super dark. I am talking blood, nudity, strong language and a shit ton of violence. And I want the violence to be unflinching and in your face. Basically I want an adult comic book movie that takes these characters into the territory that Moore set them on in the comic books. I am talking about ***SPOILER ALERT*** Mr. Hyde raping the Invisible Man to death levels of violence and yes that actually happened in the comics.
4. Cast Liam Neeson As Allan Quartermaine
I cannot think of any other actor who would be better for the role of grizzled adventurer Allan Quartermaine. Neeson is in the right age range without being too old and he has the requisite physicality to convincingly portray a guy who has spent his entire life on dangerous adventures. Plus he is Liam Neeson and he has very particular set of skills. Skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for…oops! Wrong Neeson movie character.
Anyhoo, Neeson would be the perfect guy to step into the role that sent Sean Connery running and screaming into retirement. Let’s hope this time around the experience doesn’t cost us another great actor.
5. Give The Whole Thing To John Logan
John Logan is a screenwriter, producer and playwright whose credits range from the last two James Bond films to the football drama ANY GIVEN SUNDAY. Most notably (to me at least) he is the genius behind the amazing Showtime series PENNY DREADFUL. For those not in the know, PENNY DREADFUL is a horror series focusing on classic literary characters as they join together to do battle with the forces of evil that seek to overtake Victorian London. Sounds sorta kinda like THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN at its core. And in the very capable hands of Logan, PENNY DREADFUL has become one of the best, if under-appreciated, cable series on the air right now. Logan has written almost all of the episodes over the shows three seasons and his dialogue is some of the best on TV and as showrunner he has shown a knack not only for create casting but for getting incredible performances from those actors. I cannot think of anyone better suited for taking Alan Moore’s wonderful books and translating them to the big screen in a way that would make the film entertaining to audiences while also retaining the spirit of Moore’s written work. So back that Brinks truck up to Logan’s house, Fox. It will be the smartest decision you will make in rebooting this property.