TAIKA WAITITI Re-Envisions 20th CENTURY’s Animated “FLASH GORDON” Film to LIVE-ACTION

In 1934, King Features Syndicate hoped to create a sci-fi adventure comic strip headlined by a character that would be a match for the already-debuted “Buck Rogers.” Alex Raymond would build up from KFS’ failed bid to adapt Edgar Rice Burrough’s “John Carter of Mars” by conceptualizing “Flash Gordon,” chronicling his adventures in the planet Mongo, leading rebellions against Ming the Merciless. The property was popular enough to gain three 1930s serials, a 1980 movie made famous by its theme song sung by Queen, and several TV live-action and animated series. A new “Flash Gordon” project by Taika Waititi is supposed to be animated, but might be going live-action instead.

Empire has it that a planned “Flash Gordon” movie being produced by 20th Century Studios for Disney with writer-director Taika Waititi, may now be shifting formats from animation to live-action. This was revealed by one of the producers, John Davis, who revealed that the New Zealand filmmaker made the decision to go live after originally pitching the project to be animated. Waititi himself is taking cues from the 1980 film directed by Mike Hodges, produced by Dino Del Laurentiis for Famous Films and distributed by Columbia-EMI (UK) and Universal (US), with the Queen theme song.

“It was a movie that was a huge influence on [Taika] growing up. It is one of his favorite movies,” says Davis about the “Flash Gordon” movie with Sam Jones, Max Von Sydow and Brian Blessed. “He initially said to me, ‘Let’s do it animated.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ Then we got into it and started developing it and he said, ‘No, let’s do it live-action.’ I said, ‘Even better.'” The producer, who has worked on varied films like “Waterworld,” the 1998 “Dr. Dolittle,” “Alien vs. Predator” and more recently Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” praises Waititi’s vision for the epic sci-fi project.

“[Taika Waititi] is the greatest guy in the world. He is the funniest guy in the world. And he thinks on a different plane. And this movie embraces everything that’s special about Taika, and his vision,” adds Davis, who hopes that Waititi, who has been writing the story for “Flash Gordon” but is unsure if he can actually direct (with projects like the MCU’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” in his busy schedule), might actually find time to sit in the chair all the same. There are no further details yet about the film so far.

Image courtesy of Collider

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