By Drew Taylor | The Playlist September 10, 2012 at 6:26PM
While it's been in development for almost a decade (it was being developed by David S. Goyer, before he embarked on Christopher Nolan's Batman saga), it looks like there's finally some traction gaining on a big-screen adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra's influential and unbelievably brilliant Vertigo comic book series "Y: The Last Man," with Vulture reporting that it's now a top priority at New Line Cinema.
According to Vulture's sources, the studio is over the moon for the just-completed first draft by "Jericho" writers Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia, who were hired in March to pen a new version of the script. The production team of J.C. Spink, Chris Bender (who are producing through their Benderspink outfit), and Goyer, who have been there from the beginning, are still in place. Mason Novick and Jake Weiner are executive producing.
D.J. Caruso, director of "Disturbia" and "Eagle Eye," was the most recent filmmaker attached to the project. His version would have been based off a script by Carl Ellsworth (this fall's "Red Dawn" remake) and would have starred Shia LaBeouf as Yorick Brown, the only male human survivor of a worldwide "gendercide" – an apocalyptic event that kills off every mammal possessing a Y chromosome (for the same mysterious reason, Yorick's male monkey, Ampersand, also survives). The book crisscrossed the globe, with each issue serving as both a travelogue, with Yorick trying to reach his girlfriend Beth, who was in Australia when the event happened, with the help of Dr. Allison Mann, a cloning expert who might know more than she lets on about the event, and Agent 355, an agent of a secret society, and as a world-encompassing look at life after this event (we get to see what happened to everything from nuclear submarines to international space stations). It's one of our favorite comic book series ever, and the last few issues were a total blur, mostly because we read them through teary eyes (shit got real emotional).
The Vulture report says that the studio has begun meeting with potential directorial candidates, but what we're very curious about is if the studio is interested in making this a stand-alone movie or the beginning of a series. We have an undated draft of the screenplay, written by Vaughan, which very much ends on a cliffhanger. But the idea had been kicked around by various creative principles, to make it a single volume (we're not sure how that would be accomplished, but we could go with it). Warner Bros. recently shot down the ambitious multi-film adaptation of Stephen King's "Dark Tower" from Ron Howard, but green-lit a two-film project based on another King property, "It." So it could go either way.
Vaughan, a prolific and genius comic book writer (he created the "Runaways" for Marvel, which seems to always be a possible big screen project, among others), has had less success as a big screen scribe. After working on the television series "Lost" for a number of years (he had a guiding hand in season 4's epic weirdness), he had sold the spec script "Roundtable," a kind of "Ghostbusters" except with knights (it easily one of the most fun scripts we've ever read) to DreamWorks for millions of dollars, but that was back in 2008, and there seems to have been little (if any) movement on the project since it was sold. Back in 2010 we revealed details of his sci-fi spec script "The Vault," which involved a heist at an international seed vault... It was terribly commercial and really great and yet went unsold.
Earlier this year he returned to comics in a big way with the original Image title "Saga." His twisted take on the fantasy genre (characters include an assassin named The Will, an aristocratic android named Prince Robot, and a telepathic feline called The Lying Cat), with beautiful artwork by Fiona Staples, it's just as amazing as anything else he's done and reminds us why we missed him in the first place. Vaughan is also penning the Showtime adaptation of the Stephen King novel "Under the Dome." He's teased that his debut novel should be along sometime soon too.
While we won't get our hopes up until a director is set and a cast in place, this report does seem like New Line is reengaged in the project in a big way.