A Spy vs. Spy movie has been in the works for almost a decade, but all attempts to bring the Mad Magazine comic strip to life have fallen through. But Warner Bros. and Imagine Entertainment have tapped Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball, Skyscraper) to put his live-action spin on the two rival spies.
Collider reports that the long-gestating Spy vs. Spy movie has found a new director. Rawson Marshall Thurber — who has recently made a string of films starring Dwayne Johnson including Central Intelligence, Skyscraper, and the upcoming blockbuster Red Notice — is in talks to direct the live-action adaptation of Spy vs. Spy for Warner Bros. and Imagine Entertainment.
Ron Howard, who was originally set to direct the adaptation of the Mad Magazine comic strip, will be producing alongside Brian Grazer for Imagine. The duo had brought in David Koepp as producer in 2011 to oversee the screenplay penned by Koepp’s Premium Rush collaborator John Kamps. But it’s uncertain whether Thurber will keep Kamps’ script, as the filmmaker has written every movie he has directed, with the exception of We’re the Millers.
Based on the Antonio Prohías Mad Magazine comic strip following two rival spies, Black Spy and White Spy, who get into all kinds of hijinks while trying to one-up the other, a Spy vs. Spy project has been bouncing around Hollywood in some form or the other for more than a decade. Recently, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn revealed that he had written a screenplay for it back in 1999, envisioning Nicolas Cage and Eddie Murphy as the two spies. The screenplay was his first major Hollywood project, and Meet the Parents director Jay Roach was even attached to helm, but the project fell through. But Gunn did reveal some wacky details from his script, including a sequence in which “the Spies hook up their brains to machines that temporarily put their minds into mechanical cats & they get trapped like that for a while & proceed to spend about a quarter of the film as cats.”
I believe I wrote that screenplay. Jay Roach was attached to direct. I wrote it more thinking Nic Cage/Eddie Murphy – never heard this pairing. Script was outrageous & never made, but it’s what got me most of the studio work that followed & why Warners asked me to do Scooby-Doo. https://t.co/S5wjmozDI5
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) April 29, 2020
Warner Bros. and Imagine’s Spy vs. Spy is described as a “a physical and highly visual action comedy,” which Thurber has plenty of experience in. Thurber’s Central Intelligence paired Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart and kicked off a series of films starring the mismatched buddy-comedy duo. Thurber can do high-octane action too, showing that off in the Die Hard wannabe Skyscraper, also starring Johnson. Considering Thurber’s last few films, we can probably expect his Spy vs. Spy to star Johnson yet again — the star has never donned a fedora and trench coat before, so this may be a good time to start as any.
Thurber is currenty developing several other projects, including Netflix’s Kingdom Come, Lionsgate’s Dust, and a Choose Your Own Adventure movie, but Collider expects Spy vs. Spy to move up the priority list to become Thurber’s next film. It will likely be the next film after Thurber finishes Netflix’s Red Notice, which has delayed production due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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