Damián Szifron has stepped down from directing Warner Brothers’ planned update of the 1970s science-fictuon series The Six Million Dollar Man.
According to The Wrap, Szifron is leaving the project, now dubbed The Six Billion Dollar Man thanks to inflation, over “creative differences.”
Mark Wahlberg is set to star as Colonel Steve Austin, who becomes a top secret agent after an accident destroys most of his limbs and they are replaced by the government with experimental robotic implants. Mel Gibson was teportedly been offered the part of Oscar Goldman, Steve’s government boss and friend.
Warners is looking to have the film in front of cameras at some point this summer, so a replacement should be announced fairly soon. Given this time crunch, the studio will most likely be going ahead with the screenplay Szifron wrote, though some minor rewrites will probably be done as production commences.
The original series was based on the Martin Caidin novel Cyborg and starred Lee Majors as the titular test pilot-turned-agent. It ran for five years, spawning a spinoff series – The Bionic Woman – and several TV reunion movies.
A big screen Six Million Dollar Man adaption has been in the works for over 20 years now. Back in 1995 Universal had writer/director Kevin Smith take a crack at a screenplay. Although Universal held the rights to remake the TV show, in 2001 Dimension Films purchased the rights to Caidin’s novel, hoping to laumch their own franchise first. A year later, Jim Carey pitched the studio a comedic version of the show but went nowhere. In 2014, a new attempt saw Wahlberg’s attachment to the project begin, with director Peter Berg also involved. Last December, Dimension parent company The Weinstein Company sold the project to Warner Brothers in the midst of their own legal issues.