Duo teams with Virgin for comicbook series

Hugh Jackman and “Eli Stone” co-creator Marc Guggenheim are teaming with Virgin Comics to create “Nowhere Man,” an original comicbook series that is designed to be transferred to the bigscreen as a Jackman vehicle.

Story was being kept under wraps, but Jackson’s Seed Productions partner John Palermo said it features a protagonist reminiscent of the one Will Smith played in “I Am Legend.” The concept is a futuristic world where mankind has traded privacy for safety, a premise that sprouted with Seed, Virgin CEO Sharad Devarajan and chief creative officer Gotham Chopra.

“This is our first comic, and we feel the concept is transferable to other arenas, perhaps first as a videogame, and then a movie,” Palermo said.

Guggenheim has also written installments of “Amazing Spider-man” and “Wolverine” for Marvel Comics. Jackman is in Australia, starring for 20th Century Fox in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” the spinoff movie that will hit theaters May 2009.

Said Jackman: “I’ve had so much fun in the graphic novel world with the ‘X-Men’ franchise that I wanted to get even more involved. I’m excited to work with Virgin and Marc and create a compelling character and story that hopefully will also make it to the bigscreen.”

“Nowhere Man” will be published under the Virgin Voices line, which also includes “Voodoo Child,” which Nicolas Cage hatched with son Weston Cage. Virgin is getting close on its first comics-to-screen transfer, with the Guy Ritchie comic “Gamekeeper” being scripted by Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell for producer Joel Silver at Warner Bros. The John Cox-scripted “Virulents” also is taking shape at Fox and New Regency, with John Moore attached to direct.

Jackman next stars in the Marcel Langenegger-directed drama “Deception,” which 20th opens April 25, with Summit distributing overseas. Fox bows the Baz Luhrmann-directed “Australia” Nov. 20, with Jackman starring alongside Nicole Kidman.

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