Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Remember Spy vs. Spy, the running comic strip of one-ups-manship between rival spooks from Mad Magazine? A live-action bigscreen version is moving forward at Warner Bros for Ron Howard to direct. David Koepp will produce with Howard and his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer. Right now, Koepp will oversee a script that will be written by John Kamps. Kamps just teamed with Koepp to write Premium Rush, the Sony Pictures movie directed by Koepp, who also just rewrote the Jack Ryan film for Paramount Pictures. The film will be a physical and highly visual action comedy with two spies going mano a mano in ruthless fashion.

Spy Vs. Spy will be down the line for Howard, who always has a busy dance card. As Howard and Grazer and Akiva Goldsman prepare to turn in the rewrite of The Dark Tower over the next couple of weeks to see if Universal Pictures will fund the ambitious adaptation of the Stephen King novel series planned to span three films and two TV series runs, Howard has been eyeing projects he might be able to squeeze in before. He met on the film that’ll have Tom Hanks playing Captain Richard Phillips, who gave himself up to be a hostage to Somali pirates, that Paul Greengrass has wound up directing. He’s been rumored for a Frankenstein project at 20th Century Fox that Max Landis is writing for producer John Davis. And he is getting serious about Rush, the Peter Morgan-scripted film about Formula one racer Niki Lauda. The latter project seems to have the strongest chance of happening, but only if it can start in the fall. In an interview I did with Howard and Grazer to commemorate Imagine’s 25th anniversary, they told me in no uncertain terms they are determined to make The Dark Tower early next year, whether at Universal or elsewhere. I believe them.