Witherspoon and Universal ice 'Whiteout'

[Whiteout]The feature film version of the award winning graphic novel "Whiteout," written by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Steve Lieber and published by Oni Press, appears to be coming out of development hell.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the long stalled production of the film initially set-up at Columbia Pictures has moved over to Universal Pictures. With that move actress Reese Witherspoon has been attached to the film as both a producer and star. Witherspoon will play U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko who investigates a murder in the Antarctic. Yesterday, Universal announced that they had signed a two-year, first look deal with Witherspoon's Type A Films. This is the first project announced since that signing. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Wolfgang Petersen and Gail Katz first set-up the project at Columbia in November of 1999 through their Radiant Productions. They will continue to be associated with the project along with Type A.

Back in January of this year CBR News spoke extensively with Rucka about many subjects and touched on the production problems "Whiteout" had faced.

"We're kind of in a holding pattern there," Rucka told CBR News when asked about the status of the "Whiteout" film in January. "It was optioned. One screenplay was done, then it sort of stalled out. The original Radiant [Productions] deal was with Columbia, they are no longer in a deal with Columbia/Sony. I actually got a fax a couple of weeks ago of another take on the project and you know, there've been all sorts of vacillations there and alterations made. One version has Carrie with another guy as opposed to the Lilly character. That seems to be the first thing that everybody says, 'That goes!' Because people won't come to see a movie with two women leads ...

"The discussions I've had bring up things like 'Thelma and Louise' and they tend to sort of brush it over. Hollywood has a real, real long memory for things that have been done badly. For instance, 'V.I. Warshawski' has killed, absolutely, any opportunity for a female P.I. story in Hollywood. People are very nervous about female private investigators based on a film that's now well over ten years old."

The good news for Rucka is that it appears Hollywood may have forgotten about the debacle that was "V.I. Warshawski," and with Reese Witherspoon attached, currently a hot commodity in Hollywood following the successful launch of "Sweet Home Alabama," the future looks very bright for the movie. To read the full interview, click here. To read the first issue of "Whiteout," visit the Oni Press Web site, click on Free Comics and scroll to the bottom.

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