‘Dead@17′ Movie Has No Writer, No Star: ‘It’s Really, Really Early,’ Says Michael Dougherty

Earlier this year, there seemed to be some big news on the feature-film adaptation of Josh Howard’s “Dead@17,” as the comic’s creator revealed that “Superman Returns” and “X2: X-Men United” screenwriter Mike Dougherty would be writing the script.

But before the tale of Nara Kilday can be reborn, it seems, it has to be killed much like its heroine.

“That’s so early in development,” shrugged off Dougherty—whose stock is soaring these days now that he’s made his directorial debut with last week’s flying-off-the-shelves DVD release of “Trick ‘r Treat.” “There’s just nothing to talk about right now.”

Now, there’s a bummer. Not only is the film—which fans have thought Dougherty was writing for the last eight months—not written, but rumored star Vanessa Hudgens is also nothing more than a rumor. In fact, Dougherty revealed to us that he isn’t even the writer on the movie.

“No, no,” the “Trick ‘r Treat” mastermind informed us, insisting he’s too busy these days working on the big-budget script “Calling All Robots,” and possibly developing a “Treat” sequel. “That was a weird Internet rumor. I’m not attached to officially write it; I’m attached to produce with some other guys.”

So, if Dougherty isn’t writing the screenplay, and neither is Howard, the next question is an obvious one: Do they even have a writer yet?

“No,” Dougherty explained. “We’re still kicking around ideas. It’s really, really early.”

The bottom line? Although “Dead@17” isn’t dead itself, don’t expect to see the adventures of Nara on the big screen any time soon—and by the time there is a writer, a script and the film is ready to begin casting, the possibility that Hudgens would be interested/available/still the right age is reasonably unlikely. Much like Bolabogg, it seems, the film has been banished… back to development hell for some time to come.

Are you glad to hear they’re taking it slow with “Dead@17”? Or would you rather see some forward movement at this point?