Getty Images/Bally Midway
Ruben Fleischer is well-acquainted with cool cops, vicious gangsters and brain-hungry zombies. Now he's turning his attention to secret agents ... and their sweet rides.
Fleischer has chosen to accept the mission of calling the shots (and oil slicks and smoke screens) on "Spy Hunter," the long in-development screen adaptation of the '80s arcade game.
Released in 1983 by Bally Midway, "Spy Hunter" was the king of the "vehicular combat" genre, a vertical scrolling driving game with the player in the role of a spy driving an armored sports car, the G-6155 Interceptor. The Interceptor was capable of being armed with special weapons such as smoke screens and surface-to-air missiles provided by the Weapons Van, which never really seemed to be around when you needed it. The goal was to destroy as many enemy cars as possible whilst protecting (or at least not destroying) civilian vehicles.
Universal purchased the rights to the game in 2003 and assigned Michael Brandt and Derek Haas to pen the screenplay, which revolved around the title character tracking down rogue agents who have been handed their "burn notice." The script has since been rewritten several times by several different writers, with both John Woo and Paul W.S. Anderson attached to direct at some point. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson was also set to star in the title role but is no longer involved.
Fleischer, whose credits include "Zombieland" and "Gangster Squad," spoke with ComingSoon.net last December about his desire to be in the driver's seat in finally bringing the game to the big screen.
"If I can make any movie, it would be a James Bond movie," Fleischer said. "I've always loved the genre but I don't think they'll hire an American to direct a James Bond movie, I've been told, so for me, 'Spy Hunter' is an opportunity to create a new spy franchise. It sounds silly but that was my favorite video game when I was a kid and it had a great title and a great theme song, but there's no real other associations that people have with it other than a cool car, so I feel like there's a lot of room for us to invent a new character and a new series."
Now, Deadline has confirmed that Fleischer is indeed attached to direct "Spy Hunter," with Carter Blanchard assigned to provide the latest reworking of the screenplay. No word on casting yet but we wouldn't be surprised if Fleischer tried to lure his "Gangster Squad" pal Ryan Gosling behind the wheel -- the young star certainly proved he could drive in, well, "Drive."
Now, let's see if this is truly the time for "Spy Hunter" or if it's still going to be stalled in the development garage.