2x Oscar winner Blanchett will star alongside Primetime Emmy winner Ben Stiller, who is set to direct and produce the adaptation through his Red Hour Productions. The adaptation of The Champions is being set as a feature.
In The Champions, a plane carrying three UN agents crashes in the Himalayas. The agents aboard are rescued by an advanced civilization secretly living in Tibet who grant them enhanced intellectual and physical abilities. When the agents return to the outside world, they use their new superhuman powers to become Champions of Law, Order, and Justice.
The Champions was produced by Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment and aired 30 episodes in the UK on ITV from 1968-69. NBC aired the series in the summer of 1968. Episodes were written by scribes who worked on other hit British TV shows including Avengers and Danger Man. Monty Berman also produced the series, his TV production credits including The Saint and Gideon’s Way.
The Champions reps the next project under New Republic and Dirty Films’ first look deal. They previously announced Queen Bitch & the High Horse, written by Eric Matthew Brown, which will be directed by Bert and Bertie.
Brian Oliver and Bradley Fischer of New Republic will produce the project alongside Blanchett, Andrew Upton and Coco Francini of Dirty Films.
“Champions is a long forgotten gem that will excite a new generation in the same strange and magnificent way that the original series spoke to us. I’ve long wanted to work with Ben – the director and the actor. He is one of the most engaged and versatile directors working today. Anyone who can make both Zoolander and Escape at Dannemora is a creative force to be reckoned with,” said Blanchett on behalf of Dirty Films.
“I’m a huge fan of Cate’s for a very long time. I’m hoping this project will help people to finally take her seriously as an actress,” added Stiller.
“New Republic Pictures is thrilled to be teaming up with Ben Stiller and Cate Blanchett – an irresistible cinematic spy duo if ever there were one – along with our friends at ITV and Dirty Films, as we reimagine ITV’s fun and iconic 1960’s espionage franchise, The Champions. Literally can’t wait,” said New Republic President Fischer.
“There’s no doubt that we have a superhuman team on board to bring this riveting series to life for a new audience,” commented Philippe Maigret, President, ITV Studios America.
Blanchett is currently shooting the Todd Field-directed feature Tar. She recently finished production on on Eli Roth’s Borderlands. She stars next in Guillermo Del Toro’s Searchlight feature Nightmare Alley and Netflix’s Pinocchio, in addition to the streamer’s Adam McKay’s film, Don’t Look Up. She is the co-Founder and Principal of film and television production company Dirty Films, alongside her partners Andrew Upton and Coco Francini. They are currently in development on Fingernails with director Christos Nikou.
Stiller is currently in post-production on the Apple+ workplace thriller, Severance, a drama series he directed and executive produced starring Adam Scott, Patricia Arquette, Britt Lower, John Turturro, Christopher Walken, Tramell Tillman, Zach Cherry, Dichen Lachman, and Michael Chernus. He is attached to direct and produce Focus Features’ Bag Man, based on Rachel Maddow’s Peabody Award-winning podcast; and London, based on a short story by Jo Nesbo and set to star Oscar Isaac, with screenwriter Eric Roth attached. For TV, he will next executive produce High Desert starring Patricia Arquette for Apple+.
Blanchett is repped by CAA. Stiller is repped by UTA and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman.