'A Knight's Tale' Director To Bring 'Button Man' Movie Adaptation To Netflix

Brian Helgeland, the Oscar-winning writer of L.A. Confidential, is getting back behind the camera to direct for the first time in four years.

Helgeland will direct Button Man for Netflix, a film adaptation of a comic about a hired killer who rebels against a bloody underground sport. Drive and The Neon Demon director Nicolas Winding Refn was in talks to direct this back in 2012, but that version never came to light; now Helgeland will direct and Matt Reeves will produce.

Variety reports that Helgeland has signed on to direct Button Man, which was previously known as Button Man: The Killing Game and is an adaptation of John Wagner and Arthur Ranson's graphic novel. Here's how the outlet describes the film:

The movie tells the story of ex-military contractor Harry Exton, considered the first true hero of the post-truth age. Exton's is a proxy in a clandestine competition among the super rich. Paid to fight to the death in modern-day gladiatorial contests, Exton sets out on a relentless journey to use these twisted elites' own dark machine to bring their corrupt world crashing down.

The strip was created for the British comic 2000 AD, the same publication that birthed the character of Judge Dredd, and the story sounds like it has shades of the Arnold Schwarzenegger '80s action film The Running Man and Neveldine/Taylor's Gamer, a 2009 Gerard Butler movie about convicts being controlled as violent video game avatars. As the news is constantly proving, we're living in a world right now in which many of the ultra-rich could not possibly care less about the classes below them, so the idea of rich people sitting back and callously betting on violent gladiatorial games with actual human lives at stake doesn't seem that far from the truth.

In addition to his Oscar win for writing L.A. Confidential (one of the best James Ellroy adaptations out there), Helgeland wrote A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Conspiracy Theory, Mystic River, and Man on Fire. He also wrote and directed Payback, A Knight's Tale, The Order, and 42, and his most recent movie was 2015's Legend, the gangster film in which Tom Hardy played twin brothers. As you can see, he has plenty of experience telling gritty, morally murky stories, so this one seems like a nice fit. Maybe he could even reunite with Tom Hardy here, because Hardy sounds like he could bring some personality to Exton, the lead character.