Ah, comic book movies, it’s amazing how they’re still all the rage these days. While Hollywood may have bought every high-profile property out there, from Spider-Man to to Spider-Ham, there are still quite a few low profile characters out there who are just waiting for that big-screen leap into the public consciousness.
One such character is Mandrake the Magician, a master of the stage arts, who was out proving how dapper tuxedos and top hats could be back in the 1930’s already. Looks like Warner Bros. might just be interested enough to give him that chance.
The Lee Falk creation from 1934 showcased Mandrake as a magician with hypnotic powers, who fought the good fight alongside his politically incorrect african muscle-man sidekick, Lothar, as the duo battled all types of menaces, from gangsters to aliens.
While the original comic book hero faded into obscurity in later years, he made a semi-successful comeback in the popular cartoon, Defenders of the Earth, alongside other King Features Syndicate characters The Phantom and Buck Rogers.
This isn’t the first attempt to bring the master magician to the big screen, as he appeared back in a 1939 serial, while Embassy Pictures hired writer Michael Almereyda to pen a treatment in the early 1980s, before it was banished to development hell.
Disney almost launched a version of the property that would have starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Hayden “The Larch” Christiansen, back in 2007, before the rights were nabbed.
Dark Knight producer Charles Rovenhas the rights at the moment to the characters, and is looking to produce a film through his Atlas company. Warner Bros. wants to update the character ala Sherlock Holmes and place him firmly in the 21st century, so a new script is most likely on the way.
Could this direction work for the character? Hopefully it will, as opposed to the pulp direction attempts on other classic heroes such as The Phantom and The Shadow.
Last Updated: March 14, 2012