film

Movie-Pitch: Adaption of “Ex-Heroes”

*Just a quick note, I’m dropping the “Monday” portion of these Movie-Pitch posts because, well to be fairly honest, sometimes I miss the Mondays, and I’d like to entertain the idea of quality movie pitches, and that doesn’t always happen on a clean schedule. I will continue to post as often as possible though, so thanks for reading, and enjoy!*

Do you like vicious blood spilling Zombies? How about bombastic super heroics? Then I have quite the Movie Pitch for you today. FULL DISCLAIMER though, I have not read the book I’m about to pitch to you reader, but the premise alone seems like an enjoyable romp. In 2010 Peter Clines authored a book called “Ex-Heroes” a zombie apocalypse tale set in a world inhabited by superheroes. After looking into the story of the book I found that it essentially reads like a summer blockbuster produced by JJ Abrams, not a bad thing, but only if he had the skills and urges of a seventeen year old. It seems that there is an adventure/horror tale in here that could be an excellent film adaption, it just needs the right talent behind it.

This is precisely why I think Alex Garland should helm this piece if its ever greenlit. Garland wrote the screenplay for “28 days later”, produced the new “Dredd” film, worked on the screenplay for Neill Blomkamp’s “Halo” movie when that was happening, and he wrote and directed this year’s excellent sci-fi film “Ex-Machina”. Obviously he knows good storytelling in a genre specific world. It seems the book might have missed some opportunities to tell a more nuanced story involving the human experience in all of this, which is understandable, with so much pop and excess being tossed around that’s a lot to juggle, especially without throwing in any existential dilemmas.

The characters need some work as well, if dozens upon dozens of reader reviews are worth their salt. They’re essentially all common caricatures of superhero lore. The boy scout, the elusive sex symbol, the anti-hero bad boy, the every-man teenager that developed powers, a lot of expected swaths of the superhero world. That is part of the allure though, putting these well known archetypes into a horror infused zombie setting is compelling, they just need fleshing out. Apparently there’s quite the lack of diversity as well, not only in the heroes, but in the characterization of other races. One threat that the heroes have to deal with is an all Hispanic L.A.gang that wants the weapons and ammunition that the heroes have stockpiled. I’m just saying, you can’t have the only representation of these heroes be all white and only have the threatening characters, and the situations they create, be purely people of color. That’s just bad juju and totally unrealistic too. Even blockbusters should work to reflect the world we all live in.

The book is told in past and present sections unfolding how everything came to be, which could work in film. Slicing the timeline like this is, in my opinion, a great story tool for this particular situation as it gives a bit of mystery to the whole question of “Wait, how did this happen?” This also allows for retconning characters backstories if need be. As I have not read the book yet, and I intend to eventually, I don’t have any specific casting choices, I have actors I’d like to see in this sort of movie, but I also don’t want to simply throw big name talent at the wall to see if anything sticks a la “Fantastic Four” either. (Forgive me because I am about to throw big name talent at the wall and see if anything sticks) The names Daniel Radcliffe, Elijah Wood, Brad Pitt, Anthony Mackie, Michael B. Jordan (I know, I know, FF and all, but he’s a damn good actor), Joseph Gordon-levitt, and Oscar Issac, come to mind. All could be fine choices, but I need to take the time to really know the source material first. There’s also the women involved as well. Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Famke Janssen, Charlize Theron, maybe even Emma Watson, or Emilia clarke too. I know, I’m not really focusing in or narrowing down on the performances, but I do believe there’s a world where these actresses, and previously mentioned actors, improve the quality of this story and elevate it above the state of the content to create a supremely fun genre piece. As long as there is an overall point to be made with this story, I think it has the potential to be something more than the promise of the premise alone. And that might be worth the effort.

That’s my movie pitch for this week! Thanks for reading!

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