Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is one of my favourite graphic novels, but it's best-known as a 2003 Sean Connery film that underwent a critical mauling. However, despite being remembered as a box office dud, the $78m-budgeted movie actually made a profitable $179m at the worldwide box office.

Despite that fact, audience response wasn't favourable and an intended sequel wasn't greenlit. The film's infamously difficult production is also thought to have led to Connery's retirement at the age of 73. The career of director Stephen Norrington also suffered, having publicly clashed with Connery on the League's set, he went into a self-imposed directing exile for 10 years and is only now showing signs of a possible return.

However, despite its unfortunate big screen misstep, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has such a brilliant concept that it was only a matter of time before someone attempted another live-action adaptation. Fox have reportedly commissioned a pilot script from Michael Green (Heroes, Smallville)--who will also serve as executive-producer alongside Erwin Stoff (The Matrix) is the pilot becomes a series.

If you're unaware, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen concerns a group of 'superheroes' assembled from various sources of Victorian literature, sworn to protect the British Empire. There's Jules Verne's nautical genius Captain Nemo from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, H.G Wells's the Invisible Man, Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, H. Rider Haggard's Allan Quatermain from King Solomon's Mines, and Bram Stoker's Mina Harker from Dracula.

It's fantastic and I heartily recommend you seek out the books, as I doubt the TV show will have the budget to bring them to life. It will more than likely present a smaller-scale series of escapades, using the same basic idea of literary heroes saving the 19th-century from an assortment of villains. It'll also be interesting to see if the TV show will progress as the books have, with each 'volume' moving the characters on a number of decades—to 1910, 1969 and 2009 most notably. That would actually be a brilliant way to keep the TV show fresh, if each season jumped forward in time a decade or two.

What do you make of this news? Alan Moore famously distances himself from adaptations of his work, which have never met with his approval (V for Vendetta, Watchmen), and I doubt this TV show will get his blessing. But do you think it will work? How faithful will Fox be to the idea behind the graphic novels? They're very British in sensibility and backdrop, so will all that be retained, or will the characters find themselves living in America this time? I certainly hope not, because a big reason people disliked the film is because is made too many changes to Moore/O'Neill's source material.

Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself...