EXCLUSIVE: Miranda Otto is set to headline Fox’s drama pilot Locke & Key, from producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Based on Joe Hill’s comic, Locke & Key tells the story of Nina Locke (Otto) and her three children, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, who survive an unspeakable horror and attempt to rebuild their lives at Keyhouse, their family home in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. It is a mysterious New England mansion, with fantastic and transformative keys hidden inside its walls that are also being sought by a hate-filled and relentless creature with ties to the Locke family’s past who will stop at nothing to accomplish his sinister goals. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles creator Josh Friedman wrote the pilot, with Mark Romanek in negotiations to direct. 20th Century Fox TV, Kurtzman and Orci’s K.O. Paper Products and DreamWorks TV are producing. Otto, repped by Gersh and Management 360, had been heavily pursued to do pilots and fielded several offers, including one for the TNT drama pilot Perception, before opting to do Locke & Key. Her credits include War of Worlds, the Lord of the Rings sequels and the ABC dramedy Cashmere Mafia.
Talk about a dream pairing for film and TV sci-fi/comic book fans: Guillermo del Toro, the mastermind behind Pan’s Labyrinth and the Hellboy movie franchise, and Battlestar Galactica executive producer David Eick are finalizing a deal to create the new TV series version of The Hulk for ABC, which is being produced by Marvel TV and ABC Studios. It will mark Marvel’s first series project for ABC and ABC Studios since Disney’s acquisition of Marvel last year and the launch of Marvel’s TV division in June. It also marks del Toro’s first TV project. Details of the premise are sketchy but I hear that the series will follow an origin story. In it, physicist Bruce Banner, whose alter ego is the green and raging Hulk, will be in his mid-twenties, less reactive and more energized as the world is still his oyster. Unlike the two Hulk movies, in which the monster was a pure CGI creation, the series will employ a mixture of prosthetics, puppetry and CGI. Del Toro and Eick will break the story for the pilot script together, sharing story and created by credit. Eick will write the script, with del Toro attached to direct subject to his availability. Del Toro will also oversee the designing of the Hulk character, which is expected to draw on previous comic book incarnations, as well as the original 1978-82 Incredible Hulk TV series, with a few wild tweaks on the old look. Because the project is still in its nascent stage and will require a lot of prep work, it won’t be ready for next fall consideration. I hear that Marvel is looking to launch the series following the July 2012 release of The Avengers, which features the Hulk character, so the series will probably be targeted for fall 2012. Del Toro and Eick are executive producing the project with Del Toro’s manager/producing partner Gary Ungar of Exile, Marvel TV topper Jeph Loeb and Marvel Entertainment’s chief creative officer Joe Quesada. “I have always been attracted at the combination of comic book heroics and monsters, Jack Kirby’s Demon or Kamandi or DC’s Deadman or Marvel’s Dr. Strange, Morbius, Metamorpho, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, etc,” Del Toro said. He said that The Hulk has been at the top of his list and he first pursued it as a feature film around the time of the 2002 release of Blade II, which he directed. Del Toro added that, with partner Eick “we coalesced a respectful but powerful way of retelling the Banner/Hulk story in a fresh way.”
EXCLUSIVE: He just starred on an NBC drama series with comic book mythology. Now Heroes star Milo Ventimiglia is back at the network as the star/executive producer of Rest, a new drama project based on a comic book series he co-created. Ventimiglia will executive produce the project, which has received a script commitment with film/TV/Broadway producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Footloose, Drop Dead Diva). Also executive producing are Ventimiglia’s producing partner at Divide Pictures Russ Cundiff and Marc Silvestri and Matt Hawkins from Top Cow, the comic book publisher behind Rest. Writer Philip Levens (Smallville), who will also executive produce, is adapting the comic, which was created by Ventimiglia, Cudiff and Mark Powers based on a script by Mike O’Sullivan. It centers on John Barret (Ventimiglia), a normal twentysomething guy in New York City who spends every waking hour working. He enrolls in a testing program for a drug that eliminates the need of sleep and soon becomes addicted to it, which helps him accomplish more but also leads to serious consequences. Since the comic launched in 2008, there has been a lot of chatter among fans that Barret looks a lot like Ventimiglia and that Rest would be turned into TV series or film. Ventimiglia and Levens are with CAA.