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What would happen if you mixed the coolest superstar in the world with the coolest job in the world? No, no, it wouldn’t be Tom Cruise in “Mission Impossible 3.” It’d be Nick Walker in “The Leading Man.” The Oni Press series, from noted creators B. Clay Moore and Jeremy Huan (who we spoke with earlier this year), launched recently and has been quite a hit with fans. Word came today that the film has been optioned by Universal Pictures. Marc Platt will produce through his Marc Platt Productions (yup, the same guys working on the adaptation of Oni’s megahit “Scott Pilgrim”), along with Eric Gitter through his Closed on Mondays Entertainment banner, which has a partnership with Oni Press. Jeffrey Kirschenbaum will oversee the project for Universal. We caught up with Moore for a few words on the film and to learn how it all came about.
“We did ‘The Leading Man’ at Oni largely because I think a fun action adventure book would kind of fill a niche in their lineup,” the scribe told CBR News. “But from day one Oni publisher Joe Nozemack was excited about the media potential of the project. Oni’s production partners, Eric Gitter and Peter Schwerin, let us know right away they wanted to probe movie options, which was fine with us. I think big, easy to grasp ideas naturally translate to the screen, and we feel the story Jeremy and I put together would also translate nicely. Obviously, our first concern is the comic book, but it would be fun to see Nick Walker and pals on the big screen. Hopefully that momentum would allow us to continue the comic book with a bit more attention.”
That momentum swept up a lot of folks, from readers to filmmakers like Platt, and Moore feels that “The Leading Man” was just a natural for the big screen. “The comic book was designed to read like a big popcorn summer movie, something Jeremy made clear he wanted to communicate from day one. I think we’ve added more shades to the concept than that, but if it reads like a movie, I suppose it’s natural that people would visualize it as a movie.”
From outside looking in, the deal to produce “The Leading Man” went down quite quickly and the attention from New Line on “Hawaiian Dick” (another of Moore’s hits) didn’t hurt. “I think Oni saw the media potential right away, and people out there do know my name,” said Moore. “Not to the extent they’ll just jump on anything I do, but to the extent that they’ll give it a look.”
Moore concedes that he isn’t sure how much he and Haun will be involved with the film, though they’re happy to consult and provide whatever help they can, and says he’s not sure when production on the film will start. “Your guess is as good as mine. They wouldn’t have made the commitment if they didn’t see a movie being made, but you never really know.
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Moore’s other comic-to-film property, “Hawaiian Dick” has some traction over at New Line Studios and Moore gave us a brief update on that production. “Frank Coraci is attached to direct, and has consulted with the screenwriters on a final draft of the screenplay. The next step is finding the right guy to play Byrd. Things still look pretty good at this point. Things keep moving forward, in any event.”
With two issues of “The Leading Man” on shelves, and three more glorious action filled issues to come, the future is looking pretty bright for Moore and Haun, and based on the reaction thus far Moore says a sequel is a possibility. “We’ve been talking about trying to work one into our schedule for next year, and have a few ideas of where we might head. Then again, we’d also like to follow up ‘Battle Hymn’ with a sequel. I’m sure we’ll revisit ‘The Leading Man’ before too long, though.”
If you happen to be at Wizard World Chicago this weekend, you can meet Moore and Haun in the Artist’s Alley, who will be happy to chat all things cool with you. Tell ’em CBR sent ya!
Staff Writer Arune Singh Contributed To This Story.
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