20th Century Fox is taking another stab at turning Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen into a film franchise, it was reported today. The studio is producing a new film based on the influential graphic novel series, to be overseen by Ira Napoliello and Matt Reilly, and produced by John Davis of Davis Entertainment.
The graphic novel series was previously adapted to film by Fox in 2003. That movie debuted at number 2 behind the first Pirates of the Caribbean, but was a critical failure that went on to earn a tepid $178 million. Subsequently, plans for a sequel were kiboshed. (The film starred Sean Connery, who also served as executive producer; notably, he retired from acting altogether after its release.) The new adaptation will have no connection to the 2003 film.
Fox also recently attempted to turn The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen into a TV series, but the pilot commissioned in 2013 was rejected.
The comics are a labyrinthine combination of literary theory and fan fiction set in an alternate late Victorian/early Edwardian England. Described by Alan Moore as “The Justice League of Victorian England,” it focuses on heroes, antiheroes and villains from classic 19th and early 20th century literature – notably Mina Harker from Dracula, Alan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, and Doctor Jeckyl – assembled by the British government to stop serious threats to the realm. The first volume has the group stopping a gang war between Professor Moriarty and Fu Manchu, while the second sees them facing the Martian invaders from The War of the Worlds. Later volumes take the action well into the 21st century, and all are notable for including nearly constant literary references ranging from famous to infinitesimally obscure.