If you've played last year's video game hit "Assassin's Creed 2," then you already know the truth about Leonardo da Vinci. In addition to being one of the most brilliant and artistic minds of the 15th and 16th centuries, he was also a friend to a secret league of assassins. A sort of Renaissance-era Q (James Bond's gadget-man).
While that game is (probably) a work of fiction, this idea of a notable historical figure living a secret, action-packed life is gathering steam in Hollywood, as evidenced by the recent optioning of the Seth Grahame-Smith's novel "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" by Timur Bekmambetov and Tim Burton. So it's no surprise to learn that da Vinci is being targeted for a similar treatment, by Warner Bros and producer Adrian Askarieh.
The man who painted The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa will be framed as an action star in "Leonardo da Vinci and the Soldiers of Forever," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Askarieh will produce along with WB and Vertigo. The idea and treatment belong to Askarieh, who is now looking for someone to script it.
The story posits the idea that da Vinci was a member of a secret society, presumably one charged with keeping the world safe from "Biblical demons" and their supernatural pals. The adventure, which draws comparisons to "Indiana Jones" and "National Treasure," will send Leonardo on a quest involving "secret codes, lost civilizations, hidden fortresses and fallen angels." Sounds like fun, right?
If I could just harp on the reboot fever one more time, I much prefer this tactic -- taking an established historical figure and introducing supernatural/otherworldly elements as a sort of "secret history" -- to rehashing the same old Hollywood stories. Even if this da Vinci movie draws clear inspiration from the likes of "Indiana Jones" -- even the title, "Leonardo da Vinci and the Soldiers of Forever," sounds like vintage Indy -- it's still a somewhat fresh and inspired take on a man whom most people are at least somewhat familiar with.
Warner Bros. enjoyed great success at the end of last year with "Sherlock Holmes" despite the crushing popularity of "Avatar" at the time. And with "Holmes" director Guy Ritchie tackling an "Excalibur" movie (which admittedly bear the scent of a remake) as well as an action-oriented telling of Marco Polo's adventures in the works, both at WB, it's encouraging to think that at least one studio gets it.
Hopefully more will follow suit soon, because if I have to report next week on a "Harlem Nights" reboot, I might just up and leave the business.
Do you buy Leonardo da Vinci as an action hero, a la Indiana Jones? Would you rather just see more reboots?