Lionsgate has acquired domestic and U.K. distribution rights to The Spirit, a live adaptation of the classic Will Eisner comic book series, according to Variety. Frank Miller wrote the script and will direct.
The Spirit is a man who fakes his own death so he can fight crime from the shadows of Central City. His nemesis is the Octopus, who kills those unlucky enough to see his face and is looking to wipe out the entire city.
Miller, who first got behind the camera to co-direct Sin City with Robert Rodriguez, will make The Spirit his first solo directing effort. Miller created the graphic novels that were adapted into the films Sin City and 300, and the production start of The Spirit will be influenced by the start date of the Sin City sequel that Miller will make with Rodriguez.
UPDATE ... Here is the official press release from Lionsgate:
Lionsgate announced that it has secured domestic and U.K. distribution rights to the live action comic book adaptation The Spirit, directed and written by Sin City and 300 creator Frank Miller and based on the classic series by comic master Will Eisner. Lionsgate will partner on the project with Odd Lot Entertainment, which is producing and co-financing, and Batfilm Productions, which is producing. Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete (The Wedding Planner) are producing for Odd Lot; Lionsgate's Mike Paseornek, President of Film Production, is producing for Lionsgate; and Michael Uslan (Batman Begins, Constantine) is producing for Batfilm. Batfilm co-founder Benjamin Melniker and Steve Maier are executive producers, and Odd Lot's Linda McDonough and Batfilm's F.J. DeSanto are co-producers. The announcement was jointly made today by Lionsgate President of Theatrical Films Tom Ortenberg, President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Peter Block, and Paseornek.
The deal is a unique multi-picture co-financing, co-production and split rights arrangement, with The Spirit being the first film in the pipeline.
Commented Ortenberg, Block and Paseornek, "Lionsgate is proud and excited to join the team bringing Will Eisner's immortal The Spirit to the big screen. With the Sin City series, Frank Miller has proven to be as brilliant and original a filmmaker as he is a graphic novelist. His vision is perfectly matched to that of Eisner, and we believe The Spirit will be a thrilling experience for comic book lovers and mass audiences alike."
"Lionsgate comes to this relationship with a unique and strong ability to support The Spirit. We are delighted to be in business with the studio and are confident in their well-developed marketing and promotions strategies as well as their depth in launching global franchises," said Del Prete. Continued Pritzker, "We look forward to a successful creative and business partnership with Lionsgate, and know they will help shepherd Frank Miller's vision for The Spirit."
Said Miller, "Will Eisner's The Spirit is a product of passion and dedication for me. Will was a dear friend, a mentor, and translating his vision to the screen will be a labor of love. I look forward to working with the people at Lionsgate, and to add to their lauded reputation for genre films."
Adapated from the legendary Will Eisner's graphic novels, The Spirit tells the visceral, action-packed story of a man who fakes his own death and fights crime from the shadows of Central City. The Octopus - who kills anyone unfortunate enough to see his face - has a different mission: he's going to wipe out the entire city. The Spirit tracks this cold-hearted killer from Central City's rundown warehouses, to the damp catacombs, to the windswept waterfront ... all the while facing a bevy of beautiful women who either want to seduce, love or kill our masked crusader. In the vein of Batman Begins and Sin City, The Spirit takes us on a sinister, gut-wrenching ride of a hero who is born, murdered and born again.