Oh, Stan Lee. You gotta love him. 93-years-old and still giving us surprises.
The Hollywood Reporter is stating that 20th Century Fox has bought the rights to Stan Lee’s life story. But this won’t be an ordinary biopic. No, if you were looking for a definitive take on how Lee came up with all of those characters, what his relationship with Jack Kirby was really like or what role he really played in getting Marvel films up on the big screen, well you’re out of luck. What you’ll be getting is an action film set in the 1970s based on his life. Yes, really.
Now, I wouldn’t be the one to claim that I know everything about Lee’s life, especially in the 1970s. But there is nothing in any biography I have ever read nor in any interview I had ever seen that indicates that Lee did anything in the Me Decade worth a movie at all, let alone an action film. He stopped regularly writing for Marvel in 1972, and it wouldn’t be until 1981 that he moved out to California to try and sell Hollywood on Marvel films. He was moved up to publisher at Marvel with little day to day influence at the company, and the biggest creative thing he did during the decade was start the Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip, an act that I imagine didn’t involve many people getting punched in the face or being thrown out windows.
This news calls to mind Chuck Barris’ autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and George Clooney’s 2002 film adaptation of it. In it, Barris, the successful game show producer and Gong Show host, revealed that he was secretly an assassin for the CIA. Maybe a similar type of scenario is at play here.
Regardless, an action film featuring a 50+ protagonist is a hard sell, even if that protagonist is Stan Lee. I have no idea what form this idea will take if it ever gets made, but in my head it features Bruce Willis in a bad toupee and fake mustache putting a bad guy’s face through a windshield and quipping “Face front, True Believer!”