Hollywood's comic book crush has churned out its share of movie options, but for the "Gearhead" creative team of writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Kevin Mellon, lightning's struck twice.
"Gearhead" made headlines this week with the announcement that it had been picked up by "Incredible Hulk" and "Punisher: War Zone" producer Gale Anne Hurd's Valhalla Motion Pictures. This marks the second time the property has been optioned in less than two years -- the first deal with Toronto-based Darius Films, expired this past summer.
The four-issue "Gearhead" miniseries through Arcana Comics follows mechanic bombshell Shelby as she seeks her destiny on the outskirts of a super hero-imposed utopia. Along the way she discovers a heritage she never knew and, among other adventurous activities, takes up beating bad guys with a giant wrench.
Hopeless and Mellon said that although Darius had some great ideas on how to adapt the concept to the big screen, ultimately Valhalla's resources and super hero experience won them over.
"We threw in everything from zombie bartenders to superhero politicians to a post-apocalyptic desert [in the comic]," said Hopeless, "A smaller film would have to throw out most of that due to [a lack of] money. Valhalla seems to be in a position to keep that crazy, fun genre mix in."
Another good indicator of Valhalla's commitment comes from Hurd herself, who recently commented that "Juno's" Ellen Page would make a great character in "Gearhead," a sentiment Hopeless and Mellon strongly agreed with.
"I designed Shelby as an amalgam of a couple of different Hollywood actresses and a few women I've known in my life, and Ellen has a lot of all of their qualities in spades," said Mellon. "If I'd seen 'Hard Candy' before working on 'Gearhead,' I'd probably have modeled Shelby more on Ellen to begin with."
Hopeless agreed, but emphasized the importance of another, less human character. "They have to get the car right," said Hopeless, "Big, heavy '50s hot rod. Solid steel, white walls and a big block. Very important."
Despite busy comic book schedules, both Hopeless and Mellon said they'd be excited to contribute to the film, should the opportunity arise.
"If given the chance, I'd love to redesign everything and do storyboards or concept art," said Mellon.
"I would do whatever they asked me," said Hopeless, "I love these characters and writing them certainly doesn't feel like work."
Though it's too early for some predictions, the team is optimistic for the overall future of the project.
"It's a totally different ball-game than before, and we're two years wiser on dealing with this (movie) stuff, so I'm hoping for the best," said Mellon.
"There are a lot of ideas to work with and the director will be able to pick and choose without losing track of the story," said Hopeless, "As long as it feels like 'Gearhead' and kicks ass, I'll be happy."
Anyone read "Gearhead?" Happy to see that's it's making a major jump to Hollywood? Comment below.