Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin and Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Ryan Kalil are getting into the Hollywood producing business. According to The Hollywood Reporter, both professional athletes are part of a new film, TV and digital venture called Mortal Media and are developing a reboot of the 1991 cult favorite The Rocketeer.
Griffin and Kalil reportedly approached Brigham Taylor, who most recently produced Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book, to shepherd the project. What makes this reboot particularly intriguing is that the story will feature a black female lead character. Directed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger), the original 1991 film starred Bill Campbell (The Killing) as Cliff Secord, a 1930s stunt pilot who finds a rocket pack that was designed and built by Howard Hughes. Jennifer Connolly, Timothy Dalton, Alan Arkin and Terry O’Quinn also starred in the movie.
Here’s the trailer for the original version of The Rocketeer:
The Rocketeer was adapted from a 1980s comic book written and illustrated by Dave Stevens, who wanted to emulate the feel and tone of serial matinees from the 1940s and ’50s. The comic book property was revived in 2011 with IDW Publishing releasing several miniseries featuring The Rocketeer over the past four years.
According to Borys Kit’s THR article, the reboot will be titled The Rocketeers, which would seem to imply more than one person flying around in a jetpack. Perhaps the younger version of the character would inherit the gear from an older incarnation. Kit mentions that the movie is considered a “sequel-reboot,” so maybe Campbell will reprise his role as Secord and mentor the lead as a new Rocketeer. But a synopsis explains that a young African American female World War II pilot takes the Rocketeer mantle on to stop a scientist from stealing the jetpack technology. That would certainly differentiate this character from Iron Man, which was reportedly a concern for Disney.
The Rocketeers is in the very early developmental stages, with Max Winkler and Max Spicer working on the script. No director has yet been attached, and there is no release date for the film.