Youngblood Comic Book Optioned

February 9, 2009 The ongoing romance between Hollywood and comic books seems like it’s still in the hot-and-heavy, can’t-keep-its-hands-off-each-other stage of the relationship. Monday’s edition of Variety contained the latest engagement announcement – Rob Liefeld’s original Image Comics series Youngblood has been optioned for big-screen treatment, to be directed by Brett Ratner – he of Rush Hour and X-Men: The Last Stand fame.

The property was optioned by Ratner and the Indian production company Reliance Big Entertainment

Variety was light on additional details, so Newsarama checked in with Rob Liefeld for any additional information he could share, and share he did…

According to the creator/artist/sometimes-publisher and now Hollywood producer, writers have been hired and are busy at work on the screenplay, and that Reliance is prepared to budget the film up to $150 million dollars, but there is also a chance that a studio could be added to the mix to co-finance later down the line “after all the development has been done.”

Liefeld told us Reliance and Ratner want to get the project off the ground “asap”, and mentioned a 2012 release date as “optimal”.

Liefeld also told us that Ratner’s Conan project (which the Hollywood Reporter reported last fall he was an “negotiations” to direct) is behind Youngblood in the director’s pecking order and a deal for that other film was not even finalized as of a few weeks ago.

As for the genesis of this deal, Liefeld explained Ratner came to the project armed with Reliance.

“Brett’s films have made over $1 billion dollars domestically. He seeks more creative control over his movies and Reliance provides him that option. They have a gajillion dollars to finance movies and have sought out partners to make movies with. A number of studios have sought out Brett as a director, as well as Youngblood with Brett. He is in high, high demand.”

As to Liefeld’s personal involvement?

“I’ve been intimately involved from the beginning,” he explained. “My pitch was derived from a Youngblood screenplay I wrote. Last winter we got the ball rolling, this spring we auditioned writers, and this summer we hammered out the script. I haven’t been able to speak about this for months but we’ve been moving this movie along for the last 12 months. As a producer on the film, Brett has asked me to stay very involved and we talk about Youngblood all the time.”

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Posted in Blog, Comics Optioned