While I remember watching The Greatest American Hero back when it first aired on ABC in the early 1980s. It wasn’t that I was so much a fan of the show but that it was a genre show, a rareity at the time, so we took what we could get.

Yesterday, Moviehole reported that the bumbling superhero comedy series is all set to start filming a big screen version this summer, with casting notices having gone out for the key roles in the film- the halpless Ralph Hinkley, who is gifted a superpowered suit from some passing aliens, but promptly looses the instruction book, and FBI agent Bill Maxwell, who teams up with Hinkley to fight crime.

The casting breakdown for Hinkley describes the character as-

29-39, an all-around good guy, with boyish handsome good looks, smart, decent, honorable and resilient, Ralph is a high school history teacher in Tempe, Arizona, a bachelor who hasn’t yet found the right girl. Selected by a bunch of aliens as the perfect hero to champion the rights of humankind against an evil nemesis, Ralph gets a superhero suit and a rather gruff squire in the form of FBI agent Bill Maxwell – neither of which yield easily to his control. Stuck inside the suit while awaiting for a duel-to-the-death challenge from his sinister opponent, Harve Lundy, Ralph proves to be honest, upright, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent as he prepares himself to do or die, without losing his Eagle Scout-ish honor or his suit in the process. Oh, and he gets a girlfriend along the way.

While nostalgia for the original series hasn’t peaked my interest for the project, its behind-the-camera crew has. Set to direct is Stephen Herek who has directed, amongst other things, the science-fiction comedy Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Herek will be teaming with Bill & Ted scripter Chris Matheson, who authored the screenplay for Greatest American Hero with Ryan Rowe (Charlie’s Angels).

But is the public really clammoring for a superhero comedy, even with one with the name recognition that this film has? My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006) tanked fairly badly. Epic Movie, which had a few shots at some of the more high-profile superhero franchises, did a little better at the boxoffice, but not enough to trigger similar projects. Perhaps the upcoming Superhero Movie parody will prime the pump for comedic heroics.

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About Rich Drees 6949 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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