By Matthew Newlin | The Playlist June 22, 2011 at 11:19AM
You have to say this for Ron Howard: he's full of surprises. Deadline reported today that Howard will be directing a live-action adaptation of the comic strip "Spy vs. Spy" for Warner Bros. Yes, you read that correctly, "Spy Vs. Spy," the satirical black and white comic-book strip from Cuban cartoonist Antonio Prohías that was featured in MAD Magazine from the early 60s until 1987. The cartoon depicted two constantly warring spies who used a variety of booby-traps to kill one another. The duo, who generally alternated between victory and defeat with each new comic-strip. looked identical save for opposite black and white colors.
Not only is Hollywood so blatantly scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas, but they have wrangled the once-great director into joining the sinking ship. David Koepp and Howard's Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer will join him as producers. No word yet on when production will begin.
At the moment, Howard, Grazer and Akiva Goldsman are waiting to find out if Universal will approve re-writes on the adaptation of the Stephen King series "The Dark Tower." We can only assume that since production has been delayed over and over again by the studio that Howard was open to any project offered in the interim. "Spy" will be written by John Kamps who co-wrote "Premium Rush" with Koepp. In addition to writing, Koepp will be directing that film that will star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon.
Other rumored projects for Howard include a "Frankenstein" project at 20th Century Fox (not the one announced today with John Landis' kid Max writing) and the Formula One racing film "Rush" which was written by Peter Morgan ("Frost/Nixon").
How are they going to bring this comic-strip to the screen considering its two guys just trying to cleverly blow each other up time after time? According to the report, the picture will be a "physical and highly visual action comedy with two spies going mano a mano in ruthless fashion." Can't we just turn on the very underrated "Spies Like Us" and call it a day? One has to wonder how the success or failure of McG's slightly similar and upcoming "This Means War" -- two spies in love with the same woman try and destroy each other in New York -- will affect this picture's development if at all.