Posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 by Germain Lussier
One of the latest trends in fiction is taking famous stories and giving them a genre twist. There’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which surmises the 16th President not only freed the slaves but kicked vampire ass. There’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which populates Jane Austin’s period romance with the undead. And in 2010, J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot bought the rights to Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel, a graphic novel which imagines the world’s first robot soldier was around in the early 20th century, fighting alongside the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and hobnobbing with Mark Twain.
Paramount and Bad Robot have now, finally, hired two screenwriters – John D. Payne and Patrick McKay – to adapt Boilerplate for the silver screen. Read more about the writers and story after the break.
Payne and McKay are relative newcomers to the Hollywood game. They penned Relativity’s Goliath, the David and Goliath story that could possibly star Dwayne Johnson and Taylor Lautner. They are also writing a film version of Deadliest Warrior — yes the Spike TV show — for Paramount and producer Shawn Levy. So while we have yet to see or read anything that Payne and McKay have done, doing a Bad Robot movie (which is an appropriate production company for thismaterial ) seems like a pretty impressive stamp of approval.
The original Boilerplate graphic novel was published in late 2009 and created by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett. It’s sort of a steampunk take on history with a humorous subtext. Here’s the Amazon description:
Meet Boilerplate, the world’s first robot soldier—not in a present-day military lab or a science-fiction movie, but in the past, during one of the most fascinating periods of U.S. history. Designed by Professor Archibald Campion in 1893 as a prototype, for the self-proclaimed purpose of “preventing the deaths of men in the conflicts of nations,” Boilerplate charged into combat alongside such notables as Teddy Roosevelt and Lawrence of Arabia. Campion and his robot also circled the planet with the U.S. Navy, trekked to the South Pole, made silent movies, and hobnobbed with the likes of Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla.
You say you’ve never heard of Boilerplate before? That’s because this book is the fanciful creation of a husband and-wife team who have richly imagined these characters and inserted them into accurate retellings of history. This full-color chronicle is profusely illustrated with graphics mimicking period style, including photos, paintings, posters, cartoons, maps, and even stereoscope cards. Part Jules Verne and part Zelig, it’s a great volume for a broad range of fans of science fiction, history, and robots.
Blending history with science and wars with robots makes Boilerplate sound like a massive undertaking. It’ll be interesting to see who ends up directing and if Paramount develops the film as a summer blockbuster, award season film or early year filler. The whole scenario feels like it could go anyway.
Is this a film you’re anticipating?