EXCLUSIVE: Move over, X-Men and Deadpool. 20th Century Fox has tapped into an entirely new superhero universe. The studio has acquired Irredeemable, a Boom! Comics comic book that will be adapted by Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters writer-director Tommy Wirkola as a directing vehicle for Adam McKay. McKay, who with Charles Randolph just won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Big Short, is a big comic book fan who co-wrote Marvel’s Ant-Man and wrote with Paul Rudd the story for the sequel. Now, McKay has a fresh hero universe, this one the kind of edgy terrain that Deadpool tapped into. Boom! Studios’ Ross Richie and Stephen Christy are producing with Gary Sanchez’s McKay and Kevin Messick. Adam Yoelin is co-producer for BOOM!
In the Mark Waid-created comic book that debuted in 2009 and lasted 36 issues, the central figure is the Plutonian, the world’s greatest superhero until he began heartlessly slaughtering the population of Earth, at least those who defy him. It falls to a superhero group known as the Paradigm to stop his rampage. They were former colleagues of the Plutonian, they’ve all got problems of their own, and none of them is nearly as powerful as the mass-murdering maniac holding the world hostage. In Clarice-Hannibal Lecter fashion, the Paradigm in desperation turns to a famous supervillain for help; it might be the only way to stop the carnage.
The intriguing thing with starting from scratch on a superhero saga like this one is that some of these superheroes die, unlike the branded films being made by Marvel and DC. This is the 7th property BOOM! has set up at Fox — where BOOM! has its first look deal — in the last two years, and that includes the horror title The Empty Man. BOOM! controls the largest library of comic book IP outside of Marvel and DC. Irredeemable, which was illustrated by Peter Krause, won Waid the Eisner Award for Best Writer. The comic has sold more than a million copies.
Gary Sanchez produced Wirkola’s delightfully irreverent and coarse Hansel and Gretel film, and Wirkola most recently completed What Happened to Monday? for Vendome with Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close and Willem Dafoe starring. He’s separately developing War Pigs for producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. His previous work includes Dead Snow and its sequel
Wirkola is repped by CAA, Principato-Young Entertainment and attorney Michael Schenkman; McKay is repped by WME and Mosaic.