Hamill Prepping BLACK PEARL

While one of the big marketing hooks of Kick-Ass, and the comic book mini-series the movie is adapted from, has been the idea of ordinary, non-super powered people putting on costumes to fight crime, it is not the first film or comic book series to explore the idea. And whether Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar would admit it or not, his comic series owes at least a partial debt to The Black Pearl, a 1996 mini-series authored by non other than Star Wars star Mark Hamill. And this past weekend, Hamill laid down a serious hint that his long-held ambition to have the film turned in to a movie is close to becoming a reality, with him in the director’s chair.

In their coverage of the Los Angeles Comedy Shorts Festival panel “Famous People Talkin’ About Sh*t,” Hamill stated that he was ready to start work on a project he had been wanting to make for years. Although he said that his backers wouldn’t let him announce the title of the film until the Cannes Film Festival next month, he did throw out some major league hints-

It’s based on a comic book that Hamill wrote, it’s set in the real world, and “at first glance it’s a drama, but it has dark humor.”

Given that Hamill’s only other comics work were a few things for Bongo’s line of Simpsons comics, it is an easy bet that this will be an adaptation of The Black Pearl.

The five-issue series revolves around an average guy who gets swept up by the media after he stops the attempted kidnapping of a woman and is pressured to become a real-life costumed vigilante. Although I haven’t read it in years, I recall the series being fairly exciting with some good satirical jabs at the media. In 1997 publisher Dark Horse put out a collected edition of the series, which toned down some of the nudity and language of the original series somewhat, but it is currently out of print.

Hamill stated that he has secured $7 million in funds, mostly from British backers, to shoot the film. He also went on to say that because two of his unnamed co-writers on the project are currently generating some heat in Hollywood, some folks wanted to offer him more.

So now there are people who are willing to give us $30 million to make the movie. But if we took that deal, I wouldn’t get to direct.

Previously, Hamill has directed the 2007 documentary Comic Book: The Movie, but has yet to try his hand at a feature. He’s a life long comic book fan, though, so I have a feeling he knows what makes a good comic book film and pitfalls to avoid once cameras start rolling.

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About Rich Drees 7195 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-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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