Gibson zeroes in on ‘Hogan’s Heroes’

Icon mining TV vaults with Par

Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey’s Icon Prods. are in talks with Paramount Pictures to develop and co-finance a feature version of ’60s sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes” as a starring vehicle for Gibson.

Icon would produce the WWII action comedy along with Burke/Samples Prods. and the Barry London Co., for whom Paramount optioned the film rights to the vintage CBS series in June (Daily Variety, June 23).

The filmmakers are now looking for a writer to pen the script. Icon and Paramount spokesmen declined comment.

If the project goes forward, it would be Gibson’s second time bringing a vintage TV role to the bigscreen. In 1994 he starred in “Maverick,” Warner Bros.’ successful feature adaptation of the popular ABC series from the ’50s.

Paramount, too, has had considerable success mining the television vaults, with hits like “The Addams Family” and “The Brady Bunch,” and their respective sequels.

“Hogan’s,” which ran from 1965 to 1971 (and is currently in reruns on Viacom’s TV Land), starred Bob Crane as Col. Robert Hogan, an American imprisoned in a German POW camp.

He and his multinational band of Allied prisoners ran an espionage operation out of the camp, which was overseen by the incompetent Col. Klink (Werner Klemperer). Rysher, a division of Cox Enterprises which Samples founded and ran until last year, controls the library of Bing Crosby Prods., which produced “Hogan’s.”

A feature version had at one time been in development at Warner Bros., where scribe Peter Doyle penned a script. After the Warners option lapsed, Samples and former Rysher production exec Jim Burke — who recently reteamed to form Burke/Samples Prods. — optioned them and brought the project to Paramount.

Icon has production deals with both Warner Bros. and Paramount. Gibson most recently starred in Warner Bros.’ “Lethal Weapon 4” which has grossed a killer $127 million to date. He’ll next be seen onscreen in Paramount’s “Payback” which is skedded for a President’s Day weekend release.

He is expected to step behind the cameras in the coming year to direct Warner Bros.’ “Fahrenheit 451.”

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