Guillermo del Toro to Direct Champions

Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) has signed on to write, direct and produce Champions for United Artists. The sci-fi action film will be based on 1968-69 British television series The Champions, which starred Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo, and William Gaunt as a trio of agents for a Geneva-based United Nations law enforcement organization called “Nemesis”. During a mission, their plane crashed in the Himalayas and they were rescued by an advanced civilization who saved their lives and gave them superhuman powers.

It sounds like an interesting superhero concept. I’ve always believed that British television world was an untapped resource of potential franchises. I’ve been waiting for a big screen adaptation of The Prisoner for years now. Batman Begins director Christopher Nolan is scheduled to tackle that project after work is completed on The Dark Knight.

But when will Guillermo find time for The Champions? Spanish writer Sergio G. Sánchez told SciFi that he’s completed a draft of a fantasy film titled 3993, which could be del Toro’s next.

“He’s now in Budapest shooting [Hellboy II]. And he’s going to be doing the post-production in London from December on, so I’m probably going to fly to London in January and sit down to do the final touches on the script. And then who knows when he’ll shoot it? Because he has something like 10 different projects developing. It’s going to be shot in the Spanish language, and it’s supposed to complete the trilogy with Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth. And it’s also a fantasy film, with the Spanish Civil War in the background. It starts in 1993, and then there’s something that happens in ’39 that’s relevant to the story. Right now in Spain, … they’re reopening many common graves from the Civil War. There’s like many people that disappeared. And now, … since enough time has passed, they’re like reopening them, and there’s a lot of people who can kind of find their ancestors and stuff. So it deals with that. And if I tell you more, Guillermo will come and cut [out] my tongue.”‘

But as Sánchez says, del Toro has a lot of projects in development, and who knows what could be next. Also on the slate:

  • Tarzan: An edgy revamp of the classic tale. [Warner Bros]
  • Deadman: Based on the 1967 comic book character created by Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino. Deadman is the ghost of a circus acrobat named Boston Brand, who was murdered during a trapeze performance. His spirit was granted the power by a Hindu goddess to possess any living being in order to find his killer. In the ensuing search, Brand finds himself obliged to help others.[Warner Bros]
  • The Witches: Based on Roald Dahl’s 1973 classic book The Witches, the story of a seven year old boy who has a run in with some real life witches. [Warner Bros]
  • At the Mountains of Madness: Based on the H.P. Lovecraft story, about a chilling recollection of an Antarctic expedition’s uncanny discoveries and their encounter with untold menace in the ruins of a lost civilization. [Universal]

source: Variety, IMDb