Raising the Dredd: Silvio Astarita talks new Judge Dredd film

[Judge Dredd]The Criminals of Mega-City One have lived in fear for the past 27 years. In 1977 John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra introduced the world to Judge Dredd, the toughest lawman in the futuristic Mega-City One. He patrolled the streets on an advanced motorcycle armed with a high-tech gun and a fanatical dedication to the law. Dredd's adventures have been chronicled in many comics, they have inspired two songs, "I Am the Law" by the heavy metal band Anthrax and "Mutants in Mega-City One" by the Fink Brothers, and they were translated into a disappointing 1995 film starring Sylvester Stallone as Dredd. CBR News recently talked with Silvio Astarita, one of the producers of a new Judge Dredd film currently in pre-production with I Am The Law Productions and Framework in association with Rebellion/2000 AD.

In May of last year, Shoreline Entertainment in association with Rebellion/2000 AD announced pre-production had begun on two Dredd films, "Judge Dredd: Dredd Reckoning" and "Judge Dredd: Possession." "Dredd Reckoning" was to be the first film in the series and would pit Mega-City's top cop against corruption in the justice department, and "Possession" would feature Judge Dredd against his arch-nemesis Judge Death. These films were supposed to be shot back to back.

Now that the "Judge Dredd" film is being developed by I Am The Law, these scripts have been abandoned. The current plan is to work on one movie at a time. "We have a new writer on board so we will have a new story line," Astarita told CBR. I Am The Law is currently not revealing the identity of the new writer.

The new Judge Dredd film is still in its early stages of development. Some studios have expressed interest in the film, but the screenplay must be completed before any deals begin.

I Am The Law knows who they want to direct the film. "We do have someone in mind right now, but again to soon to reveal the name." Astarita said

Now that comic book movies are hip again, Astarita said some actors have expressed a desire to play Mega-City's legendary lawman, but the title role would not be cast till a final screenplay is completed and approved. I Am the Law will consider a variety of actors for Dredd. " I do not believe we need a big name actor for the main role but that doesn't mean we will not get one," Astarita explained.

Unlike the previous "Judge Dredd" film, 2000 A.D., the publishers of the "Judge Dredd" comic, are directly involved with the current production. Astarita said this would help I Am The Law create a film that remains faithful to the comics but still appeal to a broad audience. He also said that many of the supporting characters from the comic book would appear in the film.

The tone of the "Judge Dredd" comics has always been sci-fi action mixed with heavy doses of black humor and satire. I Am the Law hopes to capture this for their film. "The film will be dark, more like 'The Crow' with the look of 'Blade Runner,' but dark comedy must have a role in Dredd's world," Astarita told CBR.

Judge Dredd is not a typical comic book hero. He can be cold, uncaring, and merciless. Dredd's only loyalty is to the laws of Mega-City One, which he enforces with zeal. Astarita believes despite this Judge Dredd and his adventures will still resonate with filmgoers. He explained, "Which ever way you cut it everyone likes a Hero. I don't know too many people who did not like Dirty Harry, this is no different. Dredd is in many ways a hero that we love to hate. A tough father figure that has an even tougher code of behavior."

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