While English versions of the celebrated Frenco-Belgian XIII comic may be hard to come by, those interested in Jean Van Hamme and William Vance’s story of an amnesiac killer will get a chance to see an adaptation of it on NBC in February.
The original NBC movie version of XIII will air on two evenings – February 8th and 15th, from 9-11pm on both nights. The television version stars Val Kilmer and Stephen Dorff
NBC describes the film version as:
“XIII” is a high-stakes cat-and-mouse thriller starring Val Kilmer (“The Doors”), Stephen Dorff (“World Trade Center”), Stephen McHattie (“Watchmen”) and Jessalyn Gilsig (NBC’s “Heroes”). The adrenaline-charged miniseries begins dramatically as the first female U.S. president is shot dead by a sniper during her Veterans Day speech. Three months later, a wounded man is found tattered in a forest with no memory of his identity. The only clue is a tattoo on his neck -- “XIII.” Could his lightning-fast reflexes and killer instincts betray him as the presidential assassin that the U.S. is desperately searching for? Submerged in a far-reaching conspiracy, which threatens to overthrow the entire government, XIII’s identity becomes the key to unraveling a complex and dangerous secret that will shock and excite. From the first bullet, this gripping action-thriller will leave audiences gasping for more. Ted Atherton (“Max Payne”), John Bourgeois (“Burn Up”), Greg Bryk (“ReGenesis”), Lucinda Davis (“Wargames: The Dead Code”), and Caterina Murino (“Casino Royale”) also star. “XIII” is an official Canada/France co-production, developed and produced by Prodigy Pictures and Cipango in association with Power. Prodigy Pictures’ Jay Firestone, Cipango’s Edouard Vesinne and Thomas Anargyros and Power’s Justin Bodle will serve as executive producers. Directed by Duane Clark (“CSI,” “Meadowlands), “XIII” is written by David Wolkove (“La Femme Nikita,” “Relic Hunter”) and Philippe Lyon (“The Trail,” “Alive”).
XIII began in the Belgian magazine Spirou in 1984, and all told has spanned 19 volumes (published by Dargaud), with The Last Round being published last year. The series has a large following in France and Belgium, as well as other countries where the work has been translated. English translations of the work are very limited, and to date, have only covered the first few issues. Catalan Communications published translated versions of the first three volumes in 1989; Alias Comics published censored versions of the first 5 issues in 2005, and Dabel Bros., in association with Marvel Comics collected the first three volumes (uncensored) in 2007. Ironically, the property’s largest audience in the Unites States is probably most familiar with XIII due to its 2003 videogame incarnation.
In other NBC/genre news – both Heroes and Chuck will return to their Monday night timeslots on February 2nd after a midseason break. Likewise, Knight Rider will air its season finale on February 25th. Also, Michael Green’s Kings debuts with a two-hour event on March 19th.
NBC described Kings as:
From executive producer Michael Green (NBC’s “Heroes”) comes “Kings,” a riveting new drama about a modern-day monarchy. “Kings” is a contemporary retelling of the timeless tale of David and Goliath. This series is an epic story of greed and power, war and romance, forbidden loves and secret alliances -- and a young hero who rises to power in a modern-day kingdom. King Silas Benjamin (Ian McShane, “Deadwood”) is the well-entrenched king of Gilboa, with its capital in Shiloh, a clean new city that is unspoiled by time or litter. Silas must deal with the tensions rising between Gilboa and neighboring nation Gath. When several prisoners of war are taken, a young soldier, David Shepard (Chris Egan, “Eragon”), defies orders and crosses enemy lines to save them. Unknown to David, the soldier he saves is Jack Benjamin (Sebastian Stan, “The Covenant”), the son of the king. From that day forth, David’s life will never be the same.
Also starring are Susanna Thompson (“Once & Again”), Allison Miller (“Lucy’s Piano”), Wes Studi (“Comanche Moon,” “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”), Eamonn Walker (“Oz”) and Dylan Baker (“Spiderman 2”). The series is from Universal Media Studios. “Kings” is executive-produced by Green, Erwin Stoff (“I Am Legend”) and Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”), who also directed the pilot.