Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mark Wahlberg Rumored for THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN Movie

Will Universal be able to rebuild Mark Wahlberg's career after Transformers?  Better?  Stronger?  Faster?  They have the technology...

The Tracking Board claims that Universal Pictures is still trying to develop a film remake of the classic ABC television series The Six Million Dollar Man, which originally starred Lee Majors.  According to the article, Hancock and Battleship director Peter Berg is attached to produce and possibly direct if the project gets the greenlight.  Harvey Weinstein is also reportedly attached in some form of producing role.

As for the new Steve Austin, it seems it's none other than former Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch frontman Mark Wahlberg.  Wahlberg worked recently with Berg on the 2013 film Lone Survivor and has starred in a number of action films including Max Payne and this summer's Transformers: Age of Extinction.  He's currently filming the thriller The Gambler and is expected to return for the sequel to his 2012 success, Ted.

Based on the 1972 Martin Caidin novel Cyborg, The Six Million Dollar Man ran on ABC for five seasons from 1973 to 1978 and spawned the spinoff series The Bionic Woman and a number of TV reunion movies.  After astronaut Colonel Steve Austin was severely injured in the crash of an experimental aircraft, he is rebuilt by Dr. Rudy Wells in an operation (costing just six million dollars in 1973) that replaces his left eye, right arm and both legs with bionic implants that increased his strength, speed and vision far above a normal human.  Steve agrees to use his new enhanced abilities as a secret agent for the United States agency, O.S.I. (Office of Scientific Intelligence).

The film adaptation has been in the works for a long time, starting with a screenplay that Clerks and Mallrats director Kevin Smith wrote in the mid '90s but eventually reused as the Dynamite Entertainment comic book series The Bionic Man that ran for 26 issues from 2011-13 before being replaced by The Six Million Dollar Man Season 6 in 2014.  In 2003, Jim Carrey was attached in a comedic take on the character from writer/director Todd Phillips, which apparently no one wanted to see happen. 

A few years later, former co-star Richard Anderson (who played Steve's boss, Oscar Goldman) said he was involved in plans for a remake, but the project became stalled in negotations between Universal and Miramax, which owned the rights to the original novel.  Finally, in 2011, Leonardo DiCaprio was announced as being in talks to star in the film, with X-Men: Days of Future Past's Bryan Singer directing, but the project fell through once again.

Of course, Steve Austin will probably need to become The Six Billion Dollar Man these days if the project actually happens.  In the meantime, here's the original opening credits to The Six Million Dollar Man, which remain just as cool today as they were forty years ago...

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