Studios aren’t just looking to superhero comics for inspiration for their blockbusters; less “super” graphic novels and stories have also been adapted, to varying degrees of success throughout the years. Films like 300, Sin City, Cowboys & Aliens, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and Red come to mind and now, Universal has set its sights on a story from Image Comics with big box office potential: Tommysaurus Rex.
Universal actually bought the rights to the project a decade ago, when Mary Parent was the co-president of the studio. They even paid $1 million for the rights and tried to make the film happen under David O. Russell’s direction. Unfortunately, it never got off the ground and wound up getting shelved. Now, it seems Universal is blowing the dust off the comic book’s pages and trying again, with news that the studio just hired Win Win director Thomas McCarthy to pen the screenplay and possibly direct.
McCarthy is known for low-key, slightly comedic indies like The Station Agent and The Visitor, so he’s definitely stepping out of his comfort zone with Tommysaurus Rex. McCarthy does have experience working on family-friendly fare though, as he’s credited as a co-writer of Pixar’s Up and just wrote the sports drama Million Dollar Arm for Disney.
The 2004 graphic novel was penned by Doug TenNapel and tells the story of a boy who, after losing his pet dog, moves in with his grandfather for the summer. His already miserable existence is only made worse by bullies, but his life changes when he discovers a Tyrannosaurus Rex in a cave. He befriends the dinosaur and must prove to the townspeople that his new pet isn’t as harmful as they think it is.
Tommysaurus Rex definitely has the chance to be a hit for the studio, and McCarthy could prove to be an inspired choice, provided that the movie actually moves forward this time. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.