by: Madison Barnes
Recent reports confirm that Mark Gordon is bringing THE PHANTOM back to the big screen. The purple-suited hero, originally created by Lee Falk, has been around since 1936 and has been published by independent and major comic publishers alike, including DC. Management 360 is also onboard the prohect, and producers have high hopes for the character that’s had a rough time in past film and TV adaptations.
With a name like Mark Gordon behind this version of the project, I feel a little more confident it’ll be something I want to watch. Hopefully they’ll give the character a dark edge and stay away from the campy, cartoonish-looking outfits from previous versions. The storyline they choose is also up for grabs. The 1996 and 2009 adaptations focus on the Phantom coming to New York, but there’s no word yet whether this will mirror that concept or focus on the hero’s time in the fictional African country Bangalia, where he originated.
[photo credit: ComicVine]
The first movie version that comes to mind is the 1996 film starring Billy Zane. While most know him from his roles in “Titanic,” “Back to Future,” and even “Zoolander,” Paramount Pictures and Village Roadshow invested a huge amount of money in him nearly 20 years ago. The project was a colossal flop, making only $17 million dollars against an estimated $45 million production budget, and only stayed in theaters for a couple weeks, barely getting much of a foreign release.
In 2009, a modern-day TV series was created, but lasted only one season. Ryan Carnes, who is best known for his 10-year stint on “General Hospital,” had his chance to do something with the elusive hero, but didn’t get too much further than Billy Zane. A feature version entitled “Phantom: Legacy” was also rumored in 2008 by writer Tim Boyle, along with big plans for a hundred-million dollar budget and signs of interest from Sam Worthington, but the project didn’t seem to get much traction.
Drew Simon is executive producing for The Mark Gordon Company, and they are currently looking for a new writer on the script. I hope this project can make it through development and give us something that lasts a little longer than the previous attempts. The Phantom has become kind of a cult-classic, and hopefully they can bring him more mainstream with a solid adaptation. Stay glued to the Tracking Board for more updates on this project and see what direction Mark Gordon will take it.