I Am Legend lives again

Welcome, my friends, to the show that never ends. Or, in this case, to the project that simply refuses to die.

I Am Legend has - no pun intended - become somewhat legendary in Hollywood circles. The fresh take on Richard Matheson’s sci-fi novel I Am Legend has been in development for what seems like decades. And now it might - stress MIGHT - actually see the screen, with Will Smith starring and Constantine’s Francis Lawrence directing.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was all ready to play the lead in the tale of a mutating virus that turns most of the world’s population into blood-lusting freaks who cause chaos. But that 1997 version, which Ridley Scott was set to direct, died because the budget ballooned to $108 million, which in those days was considered hefty. The poor fools! If only they knew! Oh, and the Austrian Oak had just starred in Batman & Robin and Jingle All The Way, so he wasn’t exactly box office gold.

Then there’s the 2002 incarnation, which the Fresh Prince tried to get off the ground with his Bad Boys helmer Michael Bay. But that fell apart when they decided it would be more fun to just make Bad Boys II.

Now Warner Bros thinks it can actually make this idea fly - it already had Lawrence attached last year, with Akiva Goldsman re-writing Mark Protosevich’s original script. Just when they’ll make it is anyone’s guess - Smith is also juggling the likes of Fox’s thriller pitch Greenbacks, a Universal remake of It Takes A Thief and Sony comedy, Time Share, with Nicolas Cage. But Warner Bros now has the upper hand: it signed Smith to a pay-or-play deal, with the hope that this’ll make him choose Legend and the company can schedule a 2007 start date. Pardon us if we hold off believing it’ll happen until the cameras actually crank…

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