Hilary Swank grabs hold of ‘Shrapnel’

Thesp to star in and produce pic based on Radical comicbook

In a comicbook casting coup, Radical Pictures has attached Hilary Swank to star in and produce its transmedia property “Shrapnel,” based on the futuristic Radical comic about a former military officer who organizes a revolt on Venus.

Comicbook is written by Nick Sagan and M. Zachary Sherman, from an original creation by Sagan and Mark Long.

Toby Wagstaff (“Arena”) has been tapped to write the sci-fi epic, which is also described as having elements of a Western. Set in the year 2250, the story follows a former Solar Alliance Marine, to be played by Swank, who spearheads an uprising on Venus, the last free colony, against an oppressive solar government in order to fight for the freedom of her people.

Several top directors are circling the project, which is not yet set up at a studio. Radical recently set up another high-profile feature project, the Joe Kosinski-directed Tom Cruise-starrer “Oblivion,” at Universal.

Radical prexy Barry Levine will produce with Swank and Sean Daniel (“The Mummy”) of the Sean Daniel Co., while Radical exec veep Jesse Berger will exec produce with Untitled Entertainment partner Jason Weinberg and Long.

“Shrapnel” began as a graphic novel trilogy published by Radical Publishing, and in addition to a feature film, has also spawned an iPhone game that’s currently available at Apple’s App Store. Zombies Studios is also developing “Shrapnel” as a free multiplayer game.

“Hilary came to Radical excited to find a project with a strong female protagonist that could show off her abilities to do action films,” said Levine. “With Hilary being an actor’s actor, Shrapnel will give a whole new definition to that type of role.”

“I am a fan of the work that Barry Levine and Radical Pictures are doing in the comic and action arena. Shrapnel and specifically the character of Sam offer me the opportunity to dive into an exciting character with many layers and depth that are rarely found in this genre,” said Swank.

“Shrapnel takes core elements of classic Westerns and brings them into a futuristic epic. We are excited to be working with Hilary to create a cutting edge heroine for a new generation,” said Daniel.

Insiders tell Variety that Swank has long been searching for a strong action vehicle.

Swank recently starred in Fox Searchlight’s “Conviction” and produced Luke Greenfield’s “Something Borrowed.” Thesp will next be seen in Garry Marshall’s “New Year’s Eve,” which New Line opens Dec. 9.

Radical has Sam Raimi attached to direct DreamWorks’ adaptation of “Earp: Saints for Sinners,” Brett Ratner attached to direct “Hercules” for MGM, and F. Gary Gray directing “Last Days of American Crime” for co-financiers IM Global and Reliance Pictures.

Sean Daniel Co. is currently developing “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” at Paramount with scribe Eric Roth.

Radical Studios, Untitled Entertainment and CAA packaged “Shrapnel,” which is not to be confused with the John McTiernan film of the same name.

CAA reps both Swank and Radical Studios along with Untitled Entertainment and manager David Schiff, respectively. Wagstaff is repped by Verve.

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