According to Deadline Hollywood, actor Zac Efron, best known for “High School Musical” has signed on to star in an adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis’s graphic novel, “Fire.” Deadline writes, “The plan is for Efron to play a college student who is recruited by the CIA, only to find that he has been trained for a program that creates expendable agents.”
One of his earliest works, Bendis first published “Fire” as a two-issue series through Caliber Comics in 1993. It was subsequently published in graphic novel form by Image. That original story centers around Benjamin Furst, who is recruited into a Central Intelligent Agency operation known as Project Fire. After several missions, he begins to suspect trouble and learns of Project Fire’s true intent. Bendis would go on to write and draw “AKA Goldfish” and “Jinx.” It is the slimmest of Bendis’s early novels with a focus on espionage as opposed to his later crime comics, making it a natural pick for screen development.
The Deadline article says “Fire” is part of Efron’s long term plan to cultivate a more grown-up image after years as a successful teen heartthrob.” According to them, “While little material moves during Sundance, Efron and Bendis got the deal after they schlepped around to three studios, pitching the project on a rainy day last Friday.” The actor will also be credited as a producer on the project. They also notes Efron’s effort toward screen-maturity “began when he bailed on a ‘Footloose’ remake to instead re-team with his ’17 Again’ director Burr Steers in ‘The Death And Life Of Charlie St. Cloud,’ playing a young man who carries the guilt over the death of his younger brother. It isn’t easy, as one of the films he made recently, ‘Me and Orson Welles’, was barely seen.”
“Fire” will be produced by Neal Moritz and David Engel. The project is set up at Universal Studios.