Producer Michael Uslan, whose Branded Entertainment handles CrossGen's properties in Hollywood, was upbeat about a number of CrossGen's eleven titles currently in some stage of development in Tinseltown. Movies typically have long gestation periods and many of the projects that Uslan talked about at the CrossGen panel at San Diego this year were the same ones that he cited a year ago (see 'CrossGen Announces Movie/TV Deals'). As ICv2 noted then all the CrossGen projects were at least two years away from the big screen, but several of the CrossGen-inspired films are moving ahead smartly. Chuck Russell (The Mask) was not able to attend the panel, but his film version of Way of the Rat was cited by Variety recently as one of the 'top ten hottest projects in development.'
While Way of the Rat will likely be the first CrossGen movie in theaters, several of the other projects announced last year are still percolating along. Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) is about to announce the writer for his version of Route 666, and Wes Craven has completed much of the preliminary work on Mystic. Several titles that weren't mentioned at last year's CrossGen panel are now in the mix including Brath, with its Roman era setting on the Scottish frontier, and Negation, which Mike France, the scriptwriter for Cliffhanger, is developing. Bob Gale, who wrote the Back to the Future films, is planning a CGI animated feature based on CrossGen's fantasy series, Meridian.
In addition to the films that were already optioned Uslan talked briefly about the CrossGen pirate series, El Cazador, which debuts in comic book form in September. According to Uslan, after the incredibly successful debut of Pirates of the Caribbean, there was a huge amount of interest in El Cazador. Don't be surprised if some studio options this property in the near future.