Warner Bros.’ quest to turn Hanna-Barbera cartoon Jonny Quest into a live-action franchise is back on, now that Robert Rodriguez has climbed into the director’s chair.
The studio has been eyeing the cartoon, which originally aired back in the ’60s, as a family-friendly property for years. With Rodriguez on board, and also penning a script alongside Terry Rossio (Pirates of the Caribbean), expect the project to accelerate into production. The pair are rewriting a Black List script by Dan Mazeau.
The original series centered on a boy who accompanied his scientist father on adventures around the globe. With the help of bodyguard Race Bannon, Calcutta orphan Hadji and his pet bulldog Bandit, Quest went up against all manner of evildoers and nefarious organizations. Though the original Jonny Quest series only lasted one season (it was canceled due to production costs), it lived on through syndication and was revived in the late ’80s and ’90s with cartoon series, comic books and various attempts to produce a film adaptation.
Dan Lin (The Lego Movie) and Adrian Askarieh (Hitman: Agent 47) started plotting the latest movie take back in 2007, tapping Mazeau to write the script, and it was almost greenlit in 2010 with Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson attached to star. Peter Seagal (50 First Dates) had been lined up to direct before that project fell through and it’s likely that neither actor is still attached.
Rodriguez really seems like a great choice to helm Jonny Quest. In a post-Kingsman world, moviegoers surely want over-the-top action with their globe-trotting adventures, and Rodriguez is notorious for that brand of flying-fists spectacle. And though Sin City, From Dusk Till Dawn, Grindhouse and Machete were all aimed squarely at adult audiences, the director has shown an affection for kid-targeted cinema in his four-film Spy Kids franchise and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl.
We’ll be waiting with bated breath as he locks down a cast for what’s expected to be a big, blockbuster undertaking.