Tom Hanks will re-team with director Robert Zemeckis in Major Matt Mason, a toy-to-film project based on Mattel’s ’60s-era doll of the same name. According to THR, Hanks will star and produce the 3-D live-action space adventure through his Playtone Productions, and is in talks with long-time collaborator Zemeckis to direct.
The film is based on action figure Major Matt Mason, an astronaut who lived on the moon. Other toys in the series included aliens, other astronauts, and a moon base. They were discontinued in the ‘70s, and are generally considered collectibles today. With a tentative budget of over $100 million, the family-friendly space adventure will be based on a screenplay written by Hanks and Graham Yost (Speed, Broken Arrow).
Zemeckis directed Hanks in Cast Away and Forrest Gump, as well as the motion-capture animated pic The Polar Express. Though Zemeckis seems to be captivated by this style of filmmaking, his mocap Yellow Submarine project was scrapped by Disney after the dismal commercial performance of Mars Needs Moms (which he produced). Zemeckis may be getting the message that photo-realistic mocap just looks a little creepy, as his next project is a live-action pilot hero pic called Flight.
With news of board game-to-film projects pouring out of Hollywood, I find it no surprise that action-figures are also getting the silver screen treatment. Since Hasbro has teamed with Universal Pictures to adapt at least four of its popular games for film in the coming year, Mattel and other toy/game makers are going to be looking to get in on the action. And the big studios are seeing dollar signs to, as franchise possibilities are endless with iconic action-figures and their imagined escapades.