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New Line returns to sci-fi ‘Planet’

De Luca, Saperstein, Hickel to o'see production

Robbie the Robot is coming back.

New Line Cinema has purchased the remake rights to “Forbidden Planet,” the 1956 MGM sci-fi classic loosely based on William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

New Line, which had been pursuing the “Forbidden” rights for years, bought them from Lindsay Dunlap and Ember Entertainment Group.

The mini-major plans to fast-track “Forbidden,” making it an event film that will attract A-list writers, directors and actors — some of whom have already expressed interest in the project.

Michael De Luca, New Line’s prexy of production; Richard Saperstein, senior executive veep; and Bryan Hickel, creative executive, will oversee “Forbidden’s” development.

“Both Richard and I have been fans of this material since childhood,” said De Luca. “When ‘Forbidden Planet’ first hit theaters in the ’50s, the idea of space exploration was a fantasy. Today, with space stations, shuttle missions and probes to Mars, the concept of space colonization is a reality.”

“We will marry this project with the latest in special effects technology to bring audiences on a journey unlike any they have ever experienced.”

Saperstein said, “We look forward to pushing the boundaries of special effects technology and creating an epic science-fiction thriller. The next step is finding the right creative team who will share our enthusiasm for this classic adventure.”

Directed by Fred Wilcox and starring Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pidgeon and Anne Francis, the classic “Forbidden” has inspired a legion of futurists seeking to translate the far reaches of space to such diverse media as film, television and novels.

New Line remade “Lost in Space” and will be remaking “The Women,” with Oliver Parker helming, and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” with Chuck Russell directing.

Ben Zinkin, New Line’s senior veep of business affairs, negotiated the rights for “Forbidden Planet” along with Michael Lewis, executive director of business and legal affairs. Gunther Schiff repped Dunlap’s end of the pact.

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