Universal developing live-action 'Matt Mason'

Universal will develop “Major Matt Mason,” a live-action feature based on the vintage Mattel action figure. Pic will be developed as a star vehicle for Tom Hanks, and Graham Yost will write the script.

Playtone partners Hanks and Gary Goetzman will produce.

The toy line originated in 1966; Mason led an astronaut team that worked on the moon and lived in a space station. The toy was a hit in the buildup to the first manned moon mission. Mattel retired the line in the 1970s.

When Mattel execs Tim Kilpin and Barry Waldo came to Playtone for a meeting, they brought an arsenal of the Matt Mason figures. Hanks came armed with his own.

Waldo will serve as exec producer with Kilpin.

Yost’s script credits include “Speed.” He and Hanks explored moon matter when Hanks was an executive producer of the HBO mini “From the Earth to the Moon,” with Yost serving as supervising producer and writer of two episodes. Yost has also been a writer or producer for Hanks and Goetzman on the Playtone-produced HBO minis “Band of Brothers,” “John Adams” and “The Pacific.”

Mattel is teamed with Warner Bros. and producer Joel Silver on “He-Man and Masters of the Universe,” which will be directed by “Kung Fu Panda” co-director John Stevenson, and “Hot Wheels,” which moved from Sony.

Universal adds the film project to several toy-based movie projects the studio has percolating with Hasbro, with a “Stretch Armstrong” film being written by Steve Oedekerk, “Monopoly” with Ridley Scott, “Candyland” with “Tropic Thunder” scribe Etan Cohen and director Kevin Lima, and the Platinum Dunes-produced “Ouija.”

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