Oni’s ‘The Leading Man’ Screenplay Nearing Completion, Says Creator

The world’s greatest actor may soon become the world’s greatest spy — at least if writer B. Clay Moore and artist Jeremy Haun have their way. Oni Press’ “The Leading Man” is currently in the pipeline at Universal, and while there’s still plenty that needs to happen before the cameras roll, given Oni’s relative Hollywood renaissance of late with Bryan Lee O’Malley’s “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” and Greg Rucka’s “Whiteout,” the odds for adaptation could look a whole lot worse — especially considering how quickly Moore’s “Billy Smoke” is currently climbing the ranks in Tinsel Town.

“Universal renewed [’The Leading Man’] option last year, and there is talent being recruited as we speak,” Moore told MTV News. “Universal has kept a lid on some of the details, but things look promising as of now. Obviously, you never know how things are going to pan out, but the process is at least headed forward.”

While Universal hasn’t officially announced a production team or cast, the first steps toward realizing a final product are underway. And according to Moore, the studio may just top the comic in terms of concept and content.

“I think in the case of the Leading Man, the basic premise is strong enough to take successfully in any number of directions. I know they’ve already bolstered the cast of the story in their treatment/script, and, frankly, I think what they’ve done might be stronger than what we did in the book,” said Moore. “It’s a springboard that allows for a lot of fun twists and chances for commentary on Hollywood.”

Unlike some of Moore’s other comics that take place in specific time periods (“Hawaiian Dick,” “’76”), he says “The Leading Man’s” contemporary setting may be one of its greatest strengths as a film.

“The Leading Man is contemporary, and I think it will work best with a modern approach to the gadgetry and action sequences,” said Moore. “I don’t think my comics are always intended for the broadest audiences (in comics that means mainstream superhero fans), but ’Leading Man’ is definitely a project that calls for an appeal to the masses.”

Of course, Moore says, such a blockbuster would call for a suitable lead.

“I think it would be great to see a legitimately hot young actor play Nick Walker,” explained Moore, “Art imitating life and all that. Whether that’s Shia LeBeouf or Zac Efron, I don’t know.”

“If the movie comes together as planned, I’ll be the happiest guy in the room,” said Moore.

What do you think “Leading Man” fans? Does a movie about a movie star who’s really a super spy sound like a paradox? Or is it the perfect concept for a summer blockbuster? Share your thoughts in the comics.