EXCLUSIVE: Shrink, a original IP based on Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld’s story about a female psychiatrist with a superhero clientele is being produced by Doug Belgrad and his production company 2.0 with producer Adam Fields and Liefeld at Sony Pictures. The project would mine the same comedic action vein as the R-rated Deadpool franchise, which is a wise-cracking, subversive twist on superhero movies.
The story has been described as a high-concept twist on Analyze This, and we hear that this was a mid-six against a seven figure deal for the comic book creator. Sony had no comment.
The project was found by Fields who basically dived into Sony’s 30 years of abandoned development and pulled out what looks to be a plumb project and potentially huge action/comic franchise for the studio from one of the signature names in the comic book industry — Liefeld, who became a fan-favorite artist in the 1990s while working on Marvel titles such as The New Mutants and X-Force.
Liefeld co-created (with writer Fabian Nicieza) one of the top-grossing (and vividly original) IPs in Fox arsenal. Deadpool has become a major franchise with a total $1.5B worldwide box-office gross and the franchise has the two top opening-weekend performances by R-rated films in Hollywood history. With Shrink, the character of the psychiatrist, Dr. Jessica Powers, is a strong, smart and intuitive doctor who smooths the psyches of supeheroes who lead big, complicated lives (to say the least).
Liefeld’s Major X, a new Marvel Comics character, is launching this April in a six-issue “event” series from the publisher, which is celebrating its 80tha anniversary this year.
The property could complement Sony’s Spider-Man endeavors or even fit within its still-fluid universe. Belgrad, a former Sony exec, is producing some of the biggest upcoming titles there, including Charlie’s Angels, Bad Boys for Life and the remake of Jagged Edge.
How this came about is apparently there was a script by writing duo of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Smallfoot, Focus, Bad Santa) that Sony owned, but the rights to the comic book had lapsed. The project was found by Fields and then Sony was alerted and the studio wisely secured the rights again, and the hidden gem in the development scrapyard was resurrected for the two producers. The project initially came into Sony back in 2000.
Fields has produced the cult classic Donnie Darko as well as The Wedding Ringer and Bad Santa 2.
Liefeld is also a co-founder of Image Comics, the industry-changing publisher behind The Walking Dead comic book series that minted one of the biggest successes in television history. Liefeld’s agent WME, manager Brooklyn Weaver at Energy Entertainment and attorney Greg Gellman, a partner at Morris Yorn, negotiated the deal with Sony.