‘Resident Evil’ Filmmaker Discusses Making ‘Buck Rogers’ In 3-D

'I have a lot of specific ideas,' Paul W.S. Anderson said of bringing the astronaut hero of yesteryear to the big screen.

“Resident Evil” filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson made big headlines recently when it was announced that he’d be bringing one of the all time great adventurers — Buck Rogers himself — back to pop-culture prominence. When we caught up with Anderson recently, he was still pumped about the news and eager to talk about the 3-D blockbuster he envisions as “Iron Man” in outer space.

“It’s a movie scripted by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, who wrote the original screenplay for ’Iron Man,’ and it’s a very different take on the character,” Anderson (whose “Resident Evil: Afterlife” hits theaters in September) said of his “Buck Rogers” movie. “That’s something I’ve been working on for a little while, and we are just going to start sending it to people [for casting].”

To those in my generation, “Rogers” was a hugely successful 1979-1980 TV series and movie about an astronaut who wakes up to find himself 500 years in the future; to those who’d come before, he was a comic strip and radio serial star. “I loved that [Gil Gerard] TV show. It’s not going to be that, but it is the same theme as Buck Rogers has always been since the 1920s. It’s a relatable man of today who is flung into the far
future.

“But,” Anderson added with a laugh, perhaps remembering Erin Gray, “It’s not going to be Lycra bodysuits.”

As for everybody’s favorite character on that show — the amusing ambuquad robot Twiki — Anderson said he might be willing to bring him bidi-bidi-bidi-back.

“Maybe,” Anderson revealed. “Obviously we’re going to be respectful of the past Buck Rogers [incarnations], but this is something very much about the future, reinventing the character. [Twiki] was an addition to the serial and was heavily influenced obviously by ’Star Wars.’

“Buck Rogers is the longest-running comic strip in the world,” Anderson said of why the character deserves a comeback. “There are whole scenes from ’Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and the original ’Star Wars’ that were taken from Buck Rogers comic strips, because Lucas and Spielberg were growing up heavily influenced by these TV shows and comic strips.

“Will [’Rogers’] be in 3-D? You bet your ass!” Anderson laughed. “I have a lot of specific ideas, and Markum and Holloway have come up with an amazing take on it; they’re very good writers and I’m happy to be working with them. … I thought what they did with ’Iron Man,’ to reinvent a strip that wasn’t the most famous of Marvel comic strips and turn it into what it became, was phenomenal, and I think they’re going to do the same with Buck Rogers.”

So, does that mean Gerard’s straightlaced Buck will be re-painted with the same irreverent, charming brush as Tony Stark? “What Art and Matt do is they write very relatable characters, and I thought that was what was genius about ’Iron Man,’ ” Anderson explained. “He was a man in a metal suit, but they made him relatable to everybody. I think that’s very important with science-fiction concepts — you have to have relatable characters at the heart of them. And that is why I was very excited to work with these guys.

“It won’t be the same character,” the filmmaker said of his astronaut hero’s past incarnations. “I’m excited for them to bring that touch to the character of Buck Rogers.”

What other heroes of yesteryear would you like to see in 3-D? Let us know in the comments!

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