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Gale Anne Hurd, Warren Ellis Adapting Comic ‘El Pantera’ for UCP

Just in time for Comic-Con, Universal Cable Productions has announced that several new projects have been added to its genre development slate.

These include an adaptation of the 1970s Mexican comic and Televisa’s Spanish-language TV series “El Pantera.” It will be penned by graphic novelist Warren Ellis and exec produced by “Walking Dead’s” Gale Anne Hurd through the overall deal UCP has with her Valhalla Entertainment shingle.

The subject is a topical one. A vigilante crime drama set on the U.S.-Mexico border, it follows a young, newly appointed head of police and his friend as they create an alter ego to rid the city of the Mexican mob. Televisa USA will co-produce with UCP.

UCP is also adapting the British cult film “The Machine” into a scripted series for Syfy. The story starts with a brilliant computer programmer who creates the first-ever piece of self-aware artificial intelligence in a desperate attempt to save his sick daughter. Naturally, things go terribly awry when the technology hijacked by the government and used to create the ultimate robotic weapon. Caradog James, who wrote and directed the film, will pen the TV adaptation. John Giwa-Amu will produce.

Other deals include an option for the comic series “”Kill Shakespeare,” which is created by Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery, and released by IDW Publishing (“Orphan Black,” “Locke & Key”). This dark tale is a Bard throw down that pits his tragedy’s greatest heroes (Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Falstaff) against his most troubling villains (Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Iago). Del Col and Conor McCreery are set to write the adaptation.

“These projects speak to UCP’s continued commitment to genre and aligning with the best talent in the business. Warren Ellis and Gale Anne Hurd are a genre dream team — ideal visionaries to adapt Mexico’s iconic comic ‘El Pantera’,” said Dawn Olmstead, exec VP of development at Universal Cable Productions. “Comic-Con has been fertile ground for mining great content — it was there five years ago that I first heard about ‘Kill Shakespeare’ and have been chasing it since. They had me at a love triangle between Romeo, Juliet and Hamlet. Set in a world where all of Shakespeare’s villains are seeking to find their creator and destroy him, is well, very Shakespearian. ‘The Machine’ is a profound story that allows us to explore a poignant and unique relationship between science fiction and humanity.”

Earlier this week, UCP announced it had partnered with publisher Dark Horse on a first-look deal for comics-based shows.

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