EXCLUSIVE: ‘Buck Rogers’ Director Paul WS Anderson Sees His Lead As A ‘Big Movie Star Role’

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” director Paul WS Anderson is taking a break from his latest feature-length treatment of the Umbrella Corporation’s legacy to address crowds as a keynote speaker at the first annual 3D Gaming Summit. Anderson has a great background in both games and film.

“I’ve been involved in both [mediums] for a long time and I definitely feel the future for me is to become in some way a kind of hybrid game and feature filmmaker,” he told MTV in a recent interview. The growing popularity of the 3-D format also contributes to this interconnectedness, and Anderson is completely on board. “I’m a 3-D convert,” he said, confirming that he has no intention of not working with the format moving forward. “All 3-D, every day of the week. I’m not taking my glasses off.”

These ideas — 3-D, bridging the gap between games and film — segue nicely into “Buck Rogers,” Anderson’s primary focus after “Resident Evil” wraps and the first project for which he’ll wholly embrace this new way of thinking.

“’Buck Rogers’ is something that’s starting from ground zero right now,” he said. And now that he’s got writers in place — “Iron Man” scribes Art Marcum and Matt Holloway — the next step is figuring out what to do with the character. Buck Rogers has been reinvented several times and in multiple mediums. Which sources will Anderson, Marcum and Holloway be looking to for inspiration then?

“I can’t say we’re leaning specifically on a story arc from the comic books or the newspaper strips or we’re directly adapting the TV show or anything like that,” he said. “What fascinates me, and what I think fascinates a lot of people about ’Buck Rogers’… is taking a contemporary, modern-day, very relatable character and flinging him into the far future. … He is one of us and then he… goes on this amazing journey. That’s what appeals to me about the Buck Rogers character.”

Marcum and Holloway will be instrumental in humanizing the character, in creating an identifiable figure who is truly baffled and probably at least a little bit overwhelmed by the new universe he finds himself in. Anderson couldn’t be happier with his scriptwriters after the work they’ve done.

“What I loved about ’Iron Man’ and why I was very keen on Marcum and Holloway is [their] Tony Stark is a fantastic character,” he explained. “They’re very character-led writers. I think Buck Rogers is an amazing basis for a character and I really felt, just as they brought out the originality of Tony Stark — that was a character you just hadn’t seen in movies for a long time — I think they’ll bring that same originality to Buck Rogers.”

Who, then? Few will argue against Robert Downey Jr. being perfectly cast as Tony Stark. But we’re talking about an everyman in Buck Rogers. Anderson wants someone with star power for the lead role, someone recognizable who can carry a film. “It’s a big movie star role. So that’s the way we’ll be positioning it,” he said. The pressure then falls on the writers to craft a character whom audiences can identify with, even if it’s a celebrity on the level of someone like Downey.

“I think you combine that great character work that they have with an awesome idea of this man who’s kind of flung into the future… with the trademark visuals that I can bring,” Anderson said. “I think you end up with an amazing package.”