David Goyer, a Hollywood vet perhaps best known for co-writing Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, is going to direct a a new version of The Count of Monte Cristo which is billed as having “a graphic novel approach” in Michael Robert Johnson’s script.
Now what does this mean?
This experience [producing the Man of Steel Superman movie] helped Goyer land the new gig because Constantin’s approach for Monte Cristo will be akin to the refurbished take Warner Bros. did on its Sherlock Holmes movies as well as its DC heroes. In fact, one source tells The Hollywood Reporter that a buzz phrase for Monte Cristo is “19th century Dark Knight.” Constantin put an ultra-modern spin on a literary classic with Paul W.S. Anderson’s The Three Musketeers, which didn’t catch on domestically but performed solidly internationally.
You may recall that Alexander Dumas’s original tale 19th century tale featured a man named Edmond Dantes who is wrongly jailed and then emerges from prison with a new swagga persona and a plot to find a treasure he heard tell of while in the pen to help exact his revenge on those who sent him to jail. So far, so good, as far as this “graphic novel” thing goes.
The surprising twist is that Dantes (played by Ryan Gosling) has a secret lab where he builds a giant robot with the aid of a wise tinkerer played by Morgan Freeman, and is able to transfer his persona into the robot. This comes in handy when aliens attack the Earth with the goal of stopping the French Revolution. While attempting to stop the aliens, Dantes teams up with another guy named Jean Valjean (Channing Tatum) who also has a giant robot. Together the two start a team called “Le Revengeaux,” gathering an unusual gang of misfits—a reformed thief named Oliver Twist who can turn into a puddle of water (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and a feisty prostitute named Hester Prynn (Jessica Chastain) who is trained in the ancient art of Qigong.
It will be an exciting film.
PS: When I was a kid I always thought this story was called The Count of Monte Crisco and wondered what it had to do with rendered vegetable oil. Later I discovered that there was a delicious sandwich called the “Monte Cristo” consisting of a deep fried ham and cheese sandwich. Life is beautiful.
PPS: because I just can’t let this go, over the weekend I was chatting with some comical folks about the co-opting of the term “graphic novel.” One had seen a magazine feature billed as a “two page graphic novel!” I guess there are worse things to have than frivolous co-opting of the name of your literary form.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.