Still hot on the heels of the successful film adaptation of Wanted, Top Cow Productions has movement on two more movie projects for their comic book properties.
And this morning, trades confirmed that Jenna Dewan (Step Up) and Luke Goss (Hellboy 2: The Golden Army) are to star in the movie based on the Magdalena comic book character.
Tow Cow Productions founder Marc Silvestri spoke to Newsarama about the announcements, saying the company's enthusiasm "went way through the roof" when these names were attached to the properties. He said the creative team's hopes for making Witchblade into a film became much more enthusiastic once Rymer was attached, because of his success with Battlestar Galactica.
"If you're a comic and movie fan, you know that some damage has been done to the female lead in Hollywood for this genre over the last few years. So it's been difficult to sell Hollywood on the idea of something like Witchblade because it is based on a comic book and it is a female lead," Silvestri said. "When we got a package together with Michael Rymer, who has all the credibility in the world from Battlestar Galactica as a guy who's not only a visionary, but, man, can this guy get something on-screen for the buck, we were sure we could get this movie made. And that's really what happened. Once his name was attached to it, suddenly everything started moving forward. We're already in the script phase, so we're happy about it."
The Witchblade character featured in Top Cow comics gets her power from a jewel-encrusted gauntlet that bestows powers on the possessor, with one female chosen from each generation.
Although Silvestri couldn't name the screenwriter attached to the film, he confirmed there is at least one writer already working on a script for the Witchblade film.
"They're working closely with both Michael and us, which is great. Michael understands that Witchblade is one of our main franchises and she's been around a long time," he said. "And he senses the fact that we don't want to do anything that would damage her or the franchise. In fact, we're looking to enhance it. I've met with him. He's brilliant at what he does. And he just really gets what Witchblade can be."
For the Magdalena film, Dewan will play Patience, the character who discovers she's part of a line of female warriors descended from Mary Magdalene who serve as protectors of the Catholic Church. Goss will play Kristof, an agent for the secret organization that guards the Magdalena lineage.
"I thought they were great choices," Silvestri said of the casting. "Dewan has a great physical presence. She was actually a dancer in her background before she turned to movies. So she has a very strong physicality about her. And obviously, we've got Luke Goss as another character, and he's got some real steam behind him after playing Prince Nuada in Hellboy 2. And the producer, Gale Anne Hurd -- her credits speak for herself. She's passionate about this genre and has more experience than most people in Hollywood do in transferring this type of stuff to the screen. We couldn't ask for more at this point."
Silvestri, who made his start as a successful artist in the comic book business before helping to found Image Comics and become the CEO of the company's Top Cow imprint, said the success of Wanted has helped revive the idea of a female lead in an action movie. "Obviously, you get someone like [Angelina Jolie] involved in a movie and it becomes a real thing," Silvestri said. "She's great in everything she does, but Wanted was a movie where we really got to see her cut loose. She was a great compliment to [James] McAvoy and [Morgan] Freeman. We're pretty happy with the success of Wanted. And Mark Miller and J.G. Jones are both thrilled. But yeah -- we're off to a good start. We're going to try to really revive our genre now."
Silvestri said it's unusual for a publishing company the size of Top Cow to have two film adaptations moving forward like Top Cow does with Witchblade and Magdalena, particularly right after having Wanted brought to screen. But he said it's part of the atmosphere in Hollywood, where comic book movies are particularly attractive to studios after the success of comic properties recent years.
"Comic books have literally become 'summer' in Hollywood. A studio that doesn't have a tent-pole movie that's based on a comic book is going to feel left out at the end of the year. And hopefully, that will last for a long time," Silvestri said. "I think it's source material that not only Hollywood and the public have discovered, but quite frankly, that technology has finally caught up with. Ten years ago, you really couldn't really make a Spider-Man movie that wouldn't be laughable, but now you can have him crawling on the walls and it really looks cool.
"So now you can attract top name writers, directors and actors to comic book movies. Wanted and The Dark Knight are proof of that. Imagine 15 years ago attracting that kind of talent to make a comic book movie. It was unheard of," Silvestri said. "Now we've got studios falling all over themselves to spend $100 million on a tent-pole comic book movie."