Platinum Studios, whose CEO shepherded “Men in Black” from comics to the bigscreen, has enlisted Col. John B. Alexander, long an adviser to high-tech novelists and high-ranking intelligence officials, to develop movies, vidgames and comicbooks based on real security threats and the whiz-bang weapons designed to defeat them.
Alexander has consulted with author Tom Clancy for a decade and also advised Michael Crichton for “The Lost World.” During and after a 32-year Army career, Alexander advised the Special Forces Command and the National Intelligence Council on threat scenarios.
After retiring from the military in 1988, he spent several years with Los Alamos National Laboratory, helping the federal research facility develop non-lethal weapons capable of disrupting machinery, modifying weather and causing intense pain without leaving wounds or scars.
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Now, under a four-year deal, Alexander will advise Platinum, which was founded by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg to create franchise properties. Rosenberg founded and ran Malibu Comics, best known for publishing “Men in Black.” After that comic hit it big as a feature, Rosenberg sold Malibu to Marvel Comics.
In related deals, Platinum has signed vidgame developers Blue Shift and Handheld Games to create titles for consoles and wireless platforms, respectively, based on Alexander projects. Work has already begun on comicbook titles based on some of the scenarios, which should appear by year’s end. Platinum is now shopping for screenwriters to craft feature projects based on the properties.
The projects will explore some of the same territory as Clancy’s high-tech military novels and related vidgame spinoffs such as “Splinter Cell,” “Rainbow Six” and “Ghost Recon,” Rosenberg said.
One scenario under development is the use of chemical pheromones that stimulate rampant reproduction by insects. A terrorist group would drop mass quantities of the pheromones in a city, rendering it uninhabitable, and threaten to do the same to other cities unless political prisoners are freed, Rosenberg said.
“It will be more the Clancy-esque approach where you don’t see the bugs that much,” Rosenberg said. The characters are “using technology to detect where the next attack will hit.”
Alexander said he hopes to inject reality into the sometimes fanciful scenarios on which Hollywood relies in making films and TV shows.
“One of my problems watching a lot of movies is the logic trail,” Alexander said. “They don’t make sense. There’s a lot that can be done.”
The overwhelming power of American military forces means that opponents will increasingly adopt approaches besides head-on attacks. Such “asymmetric” attacks will change the nature of warfare and create intriguing storylines, Alexander and Rosenberg said.
“We’re living in interesting times,” Alexander said. “We’re going to see some major changes in the way we apply force.”