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‘Barbarella’ back in action

'Royale' writers to revive character

Producers Dino and Martha De Laurentiis have completed a rights deal that will allow them to reinvent “Barbarella,” and the producers have set “Casino Royale” scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade to pen the script.

The original 1968 Roger Vadim-directed fantasy was produced by De Laurentiis, who wrote the check to secure Purvis and Wade.

De Laurentiis recently completed a film rights acquisition deal with Julien Forest, the son of Jean-Claude Forest, author of the French comicbook series on which the film was based. Deal, made with Hollywood Comics principal Jean-Marc Lofficier and French agent Laurie Roy, calls for the reissue of the first two Barbarella books in concert with the feature, along with the publication of material that previously hadn’t been translated into English.

“Barbarella is the ultimate science-fiction adventure heroine: smart, strong funny and sexy,” De Laurentiis said. “I’m excited to reintroduce Barbarella to a new generation of moviegoers.”

In the original film, Jane Fonda played the title character as a kittenish sexpot. That movie comes off as camp and dated by today’s standards.

In the remake, the scribes will make Barbarella a free, modern gal who survives in a futuristic world through her intelligence, fighting skills and sexuality.

De Laurentiis sparked to Purvis and Wade because of the way they used Ian Fleming’s early Bond novel “Casino Royale” as the basis for their script but updated it into a Daniel Craig vehicle that reinvigorated the franchise.

The “Casino Royale” writers just turned in their draft for the 22nd installment of the Bond franchise and will make “Barbarella” their next project.

De Laurentiis has set no timetable on when he’ll seek a studio for “Barbarella.” On “Hannibal Rising,” he waited until the film was done before securing a distribution deal with the Weinstein Co. It’s likely he will seek a studio partner once he has a completed script and a star.

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