MGM taps ‘Rising Star’ Straczynski to pen pic

Trilogy eyed for Top Cow comic book adaptation

In a deal worth upward of $1 million, MGM and Atlas Entertainment/Gold Miller/Third Rail have risen to the chance of turning bestselling comic book “Rising Stars” into a feature film with creator J. Michael Straczynski attached to pen the script.

Pic will be produced and co-financed by Atlas’ Charles Roven and Richard Suckle. Comic book publisher Top Cow’s founder and CEO Mark Silvestri and prexy Spike Seldin are also aboard as producers.

Atlas and MGM are already envisioning a “Rising Stars” trilogy.

Comic book story focuses on the more than 100 people who, following a fireball burst of energy that hits a small Midwestern town, wind up with special powers — each different from the next. Plot thickens when, 25 years later, it is discovered that many of the original people affected by the blast begin mysteriously to disappear.

Hot genre

“This is exactly the genre that is hot now,” said Roven. “It became clear to us that the comic book could become one of the unique films.”

“What I tried to do with this story is take all the tropes and cliches of comic books and turn them on their heads,” said Straczynski, who recently inked a deal with Top Cow to publish his own imprint of comic books.

Straczynski created and exec produced the syndicated show “Babylon Five” and was a writer-producer of “Murder She Wrote,” “Jake and the Fatman,” the new “Twilight Zone” series and the short-lived “Crusade” on TNT.

Straczynski is currently creating a 13-episode radio drama for Scifi.com titled “City of Dreams.” His new novel was published on Bookface.com, which is owned by Warner Publishing.

Milestone for scribe

If “Rising Stars” goes into production, it will be Straczynski’s first produced feature script, though he has penned scripts for Ivan Reitman and others.

In May, MGM announced a strategic production and co-financing alliance between Atlas/Gold-Miller/Third Rail and the studio. The agreement is for four years and includes co-financing from German conglom Helkon Media and Japan’s Toho-Towa.

“Rollerball,” being helmed by John McTiernan, is the first movie to be produced under the new pact. At Warner Bros., the company has set up “Scooby-Doo,” and is hoping to put that pic into production soon.

Straczynski is repped by Justin Silvera and Emile Gladstone at Broder, Kurland, Webb and Uffner and attorney Kevin Kelly at Gendler and Kelly.

More Film

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Yorgos Lanthimos

    Film News Roundup: 'The Favourite' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Boards Crime Drama

    In today’s film news roundup, Yorgos Lanthimos has set up a crime drama, “Here Lies Daniel Tate” is being adapted, and Donna Langley becomes a member of the USC film school board. DIRECTOR HIRED “The Favourite” producer-director Yorgos Lanthimos has signed on to write and direct crime drama “Pop. 1280,” an adaptation of Jim Thompson’s [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business

    Hollywood Agents Blast Writers Guild Over New Proposals

    The war between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agents has escalated as the two sides battle over the rules on how writers are represented. The latest volley emerged Friday from Karen Stuart, executive director of the Association of Talent Agents, who accused WGA leaders of misleading its members and asserted that the guild [...]

  • Xavier Legrand Custody

    Cesar Awards: Xavier Legrand’s ‘Custody’ Wins Best Film

    Xavier Legrand’s feature debut “Custody,” a tense portrait of a family torn by domestic violence, won best film, actress (for Lea Drucker), and original screenplay at the 44th Cesar Awards, which took place at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The awards are France’s highest film honors. “Custody,” which marks Legrand’s follow up to his Oscar-nominated [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content