Is THE BOYS Adaptation Finally Gaining Traction? An Update From The Screenwriters
An adaptation of The Boys has been in development for quite some time but if you're looking for something to shake up the comic book movie industry - Garth Ennis' violent, raunchy, psychoanalysis of what a world of capes and tights would really be like is definitely an option.
The names Billy Butcher, Mother's Milk, The Frenchman, The Female and Wee Hughie should bring a smile to your face if you recognize them. If you don't recognize these names then you're missing out on one of the most visceral and entertaining takes on superheroes to debut in modern times. After bouncing around in development limbo at Columbia Pictures, a film adaptation of The Boys is currently set-up at Paramount Pictures with Adam McKay set to direct from a script penned by Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay. Said screenwriter Manfredi, "I think there are some machinations going on right now, which is exciting, to finalize something with the movie. But I think that The Boys is so specific. It’s another thing that Neal Moritz is producing and something that we all agreed on right away was, you can’t take The Boys and make it something it isn’t. You can’t take what this book is and just kind of spin off somewhere random with it, because it is so specific. We were like, if we can write the script the way we believe it should be just as fans of the book, then we would do it. To their credit, everyone else involved was like, “Yeah, we get it. It has to be hardcore.” And when Adam came on, it was the same thing. He knows exactly what he wants to do. I feel like he’s going to do the movie in a way that completely honors how freaking bananas The Boys is. Because it is, and in an amazing way."
While many might assume the tone and violence of the source material would be the hang-up between creative and studio suits, it's actually the budget that's a sticking-point. Said Manfredi, "Adam is obviously a great director and people want to do his movies. It’s really been figuring out exactly what the budget’s gonna be. All of these different things go into, how much money can you spend and still make it The Boys?" Phil Hay echoed that point, stating, "If this was gonna be $5 million you could make it hard R, you could just do whatever you want. But if you read book one, there’s a budget for it. There’s a certain budget that, in order to do it right, it has to be a certain level. Then it becomes, what is the cost and is that feasible for the storyline?" Hmmm, I don't think fans will like that talk. Even the most subtle hint of things being changed, whether for tonal concerns or for budget, will have die-hard fans in a tizzy. But sheath those blades and douse those torches as the writing duo goes on to state that if The Boys get made, it will be the right way and that the director is active in the script's evolution and that they have Ennis' blessing to do what they want. However, Hay and Manfredi reiterate that they are staying very true to the source material and that they're just primarily tinkering with the order of the comic book, shifting around the timeline for when certain events occurred. As for Simon Pegg, an actor who was an admitted inspiration for Wee Hughie, the writing team expressed their enthusiasm for the casting selection but bear in mind, Pegg has admitted recently that he thinks he's gotten a bit too old to play the character.
The Boys is an American creator-owned comic book series, written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Darick Robertson. It was originally published by Wildstorm before moving to Dynamite Entertainment.
The series is set between 2006-2008 in a world where superheroes exist. However, most of the superheroes in the series' universe are corrupted by their celebrity status and often engage in reckless behavior, compromising the safety of the world. For this reason, a superpowered CIA squad, known informally as "The Boys", is charged with monitoring the superhero community.
In February 2008, Columbia Pictures optioned the comic for a film adaptation, to be produced by Neal H. Moritz. Both, Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay were brought in to write the initial screenplay. In August 2010, Adam McKay signed on to direct and began a rewrite with hopes of shooting in January 2011. Columbia Pictures declined to renew their option on film rights in February 2011. In August 2011, McKay announced that the project had moved to Paramount with the same creative team intact.
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