'The Rocketeer' reboot in the works from Disney (Exclusive)
The Rocketeer is ready to blast off once again.
Walt Disney Studios is developing a reboot of the 1991 action adventure movie, hiring Max Winkler and Matt Spicer to pen the script for the project, which is being titled The Rocketeers.
The project, in the early development stages, is being looked at as a sequel-reboot and in a modern-day twist, will be headlined by a black female character.
Brigham Taylor, who produced The Jungle Book with Jon Favreau, is producing along with Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers and Ryan Kalil of the Carolina Panthers.
Rocketeer was based on the popular 1980s indie comic by Dave Stevens and like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, was a loving homage to the serials of the 1930s and 1940s.
The story followed Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovers a rocket pack and suit to die for and become embroiled with mobsters and Nazis, as well as Howard Hughes and the FBI.
PHOTOS: A look back at the original "The Rocketeer"
The Joe Johnson-directed movie starred Billy Campbell as Secord, Jennifer Connelly as his aspiring actress (and Betty Page homage) girlfriend, and Timothy Dalton as an Errol Flynn-type actor who is a Nazi Spy, and Alan Arkin as Secord's mechanic.
When the movie was released, it grossed only $46.6 million and came in fourth in its opening weekend (it got beat by Robin Hood: Price of Thieves, City Slickers, and Dying Young). Its performance was considered a disappointment by the studio and its creative team.
But then a rare thing happened: the movie took on a life of its own, engendering a massive following who loved its un-ironic, bright and straightforwardly heroic take on characters, all abetted by a score by James Horner.
When Disney hosted a 20th anniversary screening of the movie in Hollywood's El Capitan Theatre in 2011, fans, many in Rocketeer costume, lined up for blocks.
It was around that time that the studio began mulling a reboot of the movie but sources said it sought a way to differentiate it from another rocket-propelled flying hero, Iron Man.
The new take keeps the story in a period setting and offers a fresh view on the characters. Set six years after the original Rocketeer and after Secord has vanished while fighting the Nazis, an unlikely new hero emerges: a young African–American female pilot, who takes up the mantle of Rocketeer in an attempt to stop an ambitious and corrupt rocket scientist from stealing jetpack technology in what could prove to be a turning point in the Cold War.
Tendo Nagenda and Chaz Salembier are overseeing the project for Disney.
Winkler, the son of Fonzie actor Henry Winkler, wrote and directed the 2010 indie comedy The Ceremony, that starred Michael Angarano and Uma Thurman. He has also directed episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and Fresh Off the Boat.
Spicer is Winkler's producing and writing partner. The two have a coming-of-age drama titled Flower, with Zoey Deutch and Adam Scott, in post-production.
The duo is repped by CAA, Management 360 and Jackoway Tyerman.
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