Today's Variety reports that Fox is going full steam ahead with a film adaptation of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Current plans have director Steve Norrington (Blade) commencing filming in March or April with a budget estimated at $80 million and a script by James Robinson, well known to comic fans for his superbly written Starman series for DC Comics. Just this fall Fox released From Hell (see 'From Hell Wins Box Office'), which was also adapted from a graphic novel by Alan Moore. Like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell was set in late Victorian England (and rumors indicate that League may make use of the sets built in Prague for From Hell). Director Norrington is available because the Ghost Rider movie he was to direct has fallen into limbo following Nicholas Cage's (see 'Nicholas Cage To Be Ghost Rider') departure from the project.
Moore's ingenious League of Extraordinary Gentlemen draws its protagonists from the works of Victorian novelists. Mina Harker, Alan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll, and Dr. Hawley Griffin (H.G. Wells' Invisible Man) are all transformed from fictional characters to real people assembled into a 'supergroup' to defend Queen Victoria's empire from the machinations of an evil madman. Originally published by Wildstorm's America's Best Comics Imprint as a six-issue mini-series, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has also been published in hardcover and trade paperback editions. Alan Moore's most famous comic creation, The Watchmen, is also currently under development in Hollywood with X-Men scribe David Hayter working on a screenplay. If League gets made as planned and is successful, chances will definitely improve for Watchmen.
In addition to Ghost Rider, which was close to getting the green light when Cage backed out, Norrington has also been closely associated with the Jennifer Lopez project Tick-Tock. In that film, which has become another casualty of 9/11, Lopez played an FBI agent who has to deal with an amnesiac suspect who has planted a series of bombs at various shopping centers in and around L.A. Given the economic climate after the September attacks and the periodic terrorist alerts, which have hurt tourism as well as shopping at major urban malls, it's no wonder that the president of International Council of Shopping Centers lobbied Columbia hard to shelve Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock, like Ghost Rider and League..., is said to have an excellent screenplay, but the fact that just one of these three movies appears likely to be made at this juncture demonstrates the many pitfalls that can befall a project as it wends its way to the silver screen.