EXCLUSIVE: As Max Payne director John Moore finishes the first graphic novel he helped create, he tells me he has set his sights on a 3D big screen transfer of the reality series Ice Road Truckers as his next film. He said that when casting fell through on his Paramount/Skydance aviation drama Northern Lights — the pic was grounded when Taylor Lautner dropped out — Moore sparked to Ice Road Truckers, the History Channel’s top-rated reality series which 20th Century Fox president Emma Watts acquired for the big screen in 2008. Moore said he and an unnamed writer (because he doesn’t have a deal yet) have come up with a take that has the studio excited.
They’re hatching a plot around the storyline of the series, which covers a group of truckers who drive 18-wheelers over a 350-mile highway made of ice, as they haul equipment and supplies to diamond miners working in the tundra of Canada’s Northwest Territories. It’s a dangerous job given the brutal cold, breakdowns, crashes and melting ice on the remote roads are potentially fatal. “It is very much a tough guy movie,” Moore said. “Here’s a bunch of characters who tackle problems by getting in there and getting things done. We’ll turn it into a mission movie that harkens back to Towering Inferno, Jaws, or The Guns of Navarone. You got a problem, go solve it.”
But, first, Moore teamed with Richie Smyth to generate Dead Soldier, a 4-issue comic book series that’s being published by Liquid Comics, the first step toward what Moore and Smyth hope will lead to a feature film. The graphic novel tells the story of an American soldier in WWI, who’s the badly injured sole survivor of a platoon devastated by a German offensive. A twist of events leads to his transformation into a creature with incredible power. The deal for it grew out of a relationship with Liquid’s Sharad Devarajan and Gotham Chopra as Moore developed the comic property Virulents as a feature. Both Virulents and Dead Soldier have artwork by Liquid’s Dean Hyrapiet.
“My friend Richie wanted to make this into a movie I’d produce,” Moore said. “A tough sell becomes easier when you can go from pitching a concept to throwing a graphic novel on an executive’s desk and say, tell me if you see the movie here that I do. We’re about to publish the first issue, and we’ll send it to a few executives and see what happens.”