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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Dan Stevens

    Dan Stevens Joins Netflix Comedy 'Eurovision'

    “Legion” star Dan Stevens has joined the cast of Netflix feature “Eurovision,” alongside Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams and Pierce Brosnan. The British actor, who made his name in “Downton Abbey” and recently finished a three-year run on FX’s “X-Men” spin-off “Legion” from Noah Hawley, will play Alexander Lemtov, a Russian contestant taking part in the [...]


    Tim Roth, Clive Owen-Starrer 'The Song Of Names' To Close San Sebastian

    Starring Clive Owen and Tim Roth, Canadian François Girard’s historical drama “The Song of Names” will close the 67th San Sebastian Festival on Sept. 28. World premiering at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival as a Gala Presentation, “The Song of Names” will play out of competition at what will be its international premiere. Hanway Films [...]

  • Dogwoof Boards Venice-Bound Imelda Marcos Doc

    Dogwoof Boards Venice-Bound Imelda Marcos Documentary ‘The Kingmaker’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Dogwoof has boarded Lauren Greenfield’s “The Kingmaker,” about Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines. The hotly anticipated feature doc delves into the disturbing legacy of the Marcos regime and Imelda’s attempts to aid her son’s political career. It will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and then screen at [...]

  • Yao Chen in “Send Me to

    Cheng Cheng Films Nabs North American Rights to China's 'Send Me to the Clouds'

    New York-based distributor Cheng Cheng Films has acquired North American rights to first-time Chinese director Teng Congcong’s comedy drama “Send Me to the Clouds,” starring and produced by A-list actress Yao Chen. The company is planning a theatrical release for fall 2019. “Cheng Cheng has always championed films with strong female leads,” the firm said [...]

  • A White White Day

    Film Movement Brings ‘A White, White Day’ to the U.S. (EXCLUSIVE)

    OSLO  —  New-York based distributor Film Movement has acquired U.S. rights to critically-lauded Icelandic drama “A White, White Day,” today’s opening film at New Nordic Films in Haugesund. In a separate deal, sales agent New Europe Film Sales has closed French-speaking Canada with Funfilm and English-speaking Canada with Game Theory. Hlynur Pálmason’s sophomore pic, “A [...]

  • (from left) Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham)

    Korea Box Office: ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Topples ‘Exit,’ ‘Roar to Victory’  

    Opening on Wednesday, “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” debuted on top of the South Korean box office. Showing on some 1,311 screens nationwide, the UPI release earned $15.1 million from 2.03 million admissions over five days. That included the four-day National Liberation Day weekend. “The Battle: Roar to Victory” remained in second. The [...]

  • Tracy Morgan Netflix stand-up special

    Film News Roundup: Tracy Morgan Joins Eddie Murphy's 'Coming 2 America'

    In today’s film news roundup, Tracy Morgan and Michael Rooker book roles in major movies, and Gravitas buys “Christmas Break-In.” CASTINGS Tracy Morgan has signed on to appear in Eddie Murphy’s “Coming 2 America” sequel as the brother of Lesley Jones’ character. “Hustle & Flow” helmer Craig Brewer is directing the project with Murphy, Kevin [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content