Variety is reporting that Universal Pictures has greenlit a feature film version of Sid and Marty Kroft's campy 1970s-era Saturday morning kids' TV series Land of the Lost. Box office comedy king Will Ferrell is starring in the special effects-laden comedy that is reportedly budgeted at $100 million (down from its rumored cost of $150 million). The cost reduction was necessary to get Universal, which was burned by the mediocre box office performance of the $160 million comedy opus Evan Almighty, to OK Land of the Lost. Filming of Land of the Lost, which has been in development at Universal since 2005 (see 'Sleestak Alert!'), is set to begin in March.
Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicholas have written the screenplay for the Land of the Lost feature, which involves a paleontologist, his assistant and a macho tour guide (a major departure from the TV series which featured the Marshall family, father Rick, teenage son Will and younger daughter Holly) trapped on a remote alien world taken directly from the TV series and anachronistically populated by dinosaurs, chimpanzee-like cavemen known as 'Pakuni,' and the memorably hostile reptilian humanoid 'Sleestaks.'
According to The Hollywood Reporter Brad Silberling (Lemony Snicket, City of Angels) has signed on to direct the film with Bo Welch (Edward Scissorhands, Men in Black) providing the production design. Marty Krofft told The Reporter the script for the film was complete and it could proceed even in the event of a writer's strike. Krofft also said 'They (the writers) kept the integrity of the show, but they made it very funny for Will. The adventure will all be there. There are going to be 50 Sleestaks.'