Mark Wahlberg’s future is looking busy, and full of blockbuster potential… not that he needed it. We’ve just learned exclusively that Wahlberg has added two potential blockbusters (and 1 potential franchise-starter) to his fast-expanding slate of projects in development. One story, Variety managed to break before we did, and that is for the upcoming adaptation of the Robert Cooley novel WHEN CORRUPTION WAS KING. The second story, we’re breaking the exclusive now on, is that Wahlberg is also on board to produce and potentially star in the remake of the 1971 action film BILLY JACK. But, let’s go one at a time here…
Wahlberg has signed on to both projects as a producer, and is expected to star in both (albeit with his approval of the scripts). So, what are the projects?
WHEN CORRUPTION WAS KING is a crime thriller adapted by writer Frank Baldwin. The story centers on a scrappy lawyer from Chicago’s South Side who rises to be a trusted attorney for the Outfit–the mob that controls the city through an elaborate web of bribery, voterigging and violence–until he turns state’s witness and brings the whole corrupt system to its knees.
Wahlberg as a lawyer with an iron fist… I could get behind that for sure.
BILLY JACK is much more of a straight actioner, that spills over with franchise potential. The original 1971 film, from director T.C Frank, centered on title character “Billy Jack” and ex-green beret with a penchant for settling matters with his fists, who traveled the American countryside as a sort of post-war vigilante. Think of it almost as “Rambo: First Blood”… before Rambo existed.
Wahlberg as an ex-green beret with an iron fist… I could definitely get behind that.
‘Jack’ was previously set up in 2002 with a 7-figure script deal for writer John Fusco, and with Keanu Reeves on board to star, with Dreamworks circling. However even with the revolving door of producers Basil Iwanyk, Danny DeVito and Erwin Stoff, the project never found life. Jump to the 2008 bankruptcy of Intermedia Films, and the remake rights floated around searching for a new home. Enter Wahlberg, and now we have a potential Summer blockbuster on our hands.
‘King’ has a script and all previous creatives on ‘Jack’ (writer John Fusco, director Peter Care) have been scrapped in favor of starting from scratch. ‘Jack’ is currently a hot OWA, that will be developed around Wahlberg.