Day: August 31, 2009

Singer Sticks Sword into “Excalibur” Redo

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Warner Bros. has closed a rights deal to remake the 1981 “Excalibur,” with Bryan Singer producing and developing the picture as a potential directing vehicle.

Deal comes as Singer gets serious about making the New Line-Legendary co-production “Jack the Giant Killer” his next directing effort, according to sources.

WB and Legendary Pictures have labored for months to pull together the rights to the film, which Singer will produce with Julie Yorn. Polly Johnsen, who was Polly Cohen when she was the WB exec who presided over the Singer-directed WB/Legendary collaboration “Superman Returns,” will also be a producer.

“Excalibur” is the quintessential myth-of-King-Arthur film, complete with the enchanted sword, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlyn the wizard and the quest for the Holy Grail to save Arthur’s life. The original film was directed by John Boorman and adapted from the Thomas Malory book by Rospo Pallenberg and Boorman.

Boorman’s film broke talent such as Helen Mirren (who played the evil Morgana) and Liam Neeson (Sir Gawain) as well as Gabriel Byrne, Patrick Stewart and Ciaran Hinds. WB had some of the rights as a library title; the rest were secured from Boorman.

Singer hasn’t set a writer yet. Matt Reilly is overseeing for WB, Erik Olsen for Yorn and Singer’s former partner Alex Garcia is overseeing for Legendary.

Singer recently signed on to develop to direct and produce “Battlestar Galactica” at Universal, a project he’d been eyeing since he originally made a deal to godfather a series revival in 2001. At the same time, Singer has been flirting with directing “X-Men: First Class,” a 20th Century Fox spinoff that got a first script draft by “O.C.” creator Josh Schwartz.

It looks like his next directing assignment could well be “Jack the Giant Killer,” a riff on the Jack and the Beanstalk legend developed by New Line with scripters Darren Lemke and Mark Bomback and producer Neal Moritz. The story revolves around a young farmer who leads an expedition into the land of the giants to recover a kidnapped princess.