'The Great Machine' Casts Oscar Isaac To Play A Superhero Turned New York City Mayor

Last week, we learned Legendary Entertainment was working on a film adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan's comic book series Ex Machina. However, the project was going by the name The Great Machine in order to avoid being confused with the sci-fi movie Ex Machina. It turns out that was a smart move, because if it kept that title, it would have been even more confusing since Ex Machina star Oscar Isaac has just closed a deal to play the lead role in the movie, as well as produce it.

The Hollywood Reporter has news of Oscar Isaac starring in The Great Machine movie. Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel (Seberg) will write the script while Isaac is producing along with his longtime manager and producer Jason Spire. Vaughan will also be producing by way of his three-year overall film and TV deal at Legendary Entertainment.

After playing one of the galaxy's best pilots in the new Star Wars trilogy, Isaac will be settling into the role of Mitchell Hundred, a man who suddenly gains the ability to control machinery, allowing him to become the world's first superhero. However, after growing tired of fighting crime, he decides to run for mayor of New York City, and he seals an election win after stopping a second plane from flying into the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. But there are still greater threats looming on the horizon.

A good chunk of the comic book deals with politics and social issues alongside a growing sci-fi threat that only superheroes could deal with. Vaughan once said (via Wikipedia) that the comic was "born out of my anger with what passes for our current political leadership (on both sides of the aisle)." That should make for a compelling project, especially now that Watchmen has paved the way for rich, compelling, and even bold kinds of social statements by way of superheroes.

Since superhero movies clearly aren't going anywhere anytime soon, it's good to see studios embracing superhero comics that don't take the traditional path. Those kind of stories were previously seen as difficult to sell, but in the wake of HBO's Watchmen, I think we might get more mature, deep, and, for lack of a better term, elevated superhero movies. While the most successful superhero movies, especially those from Marvel Studios, have dabbled with social issues and political commentary, they've only done it in a surface-level way for the most part. The Great Machine sounds like it might do so in a more direct and significant way. But we'll have to wait and see who it turns out, especially since we don't know who is directing yet.