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Alexandre Aja Nabs Cobra

He's going sci-fi with a space pirate

No, director Alexandre Aja isn’t following up his Piranha remake by tackling a re-imagining of the Sylvester Stallone '80s action thriller. He’s nabbed the rights to Buichi Terasawa’s manga Cobra: The Space Pirate, with plans for a sci-fi epic.

Aja has apparently been itching to get the chance to make Cobra into a movie for a while now, and has been plying Terasawa with requests to win the rights. Now he’s finally broken down the creator and has ambitions to create a summer tent pole action epic from the story.

Terasawa’s work was turned into an animated series that ran across Europe in the 1980s and came across as a blend of Dan Dare and Master and Commander. Merchant spaceships fly across the galaxy, ever at the mercy of ruthless pirate types looking to score a bounty. Cobra is among the most notorious, refusing to sign up with either the United Galaxies Federation or the Pirates Guild, which makes him enemy number one for both of them. Aiming to keep his identity hidden, he teams up with a beautiful bounty hunter named Jane and together they search for her sisters, who share a treasure map tattooed on their backs.

“I grew up dreaming about Cobra," Aja tells Deadline. "My day was: finish school, run home and switch on the TV and I was hardly the only one. Kids did it in France, Italy, Spain, all over Western Europe. For many people there is Star Wars and nothing else, but for me and my writing partner Gregory, there is Star Wars and Cobra. I am so surprised it never crossed the ocean and made the same impact in the US, because it is so big everywhere else. There are 60 books, a lot of TV animation and so many adventures, pirates and bad guys that it is perfect to be reinvented into a really cool space opera adventure franchise for a new generation."’

Aja will pen the script with regular collaborator Gregory Levasseur, and he’ll produce the sci-fi fantasy. Oh, and he wants it to be in 3D with some impressive creatures… "It should be in 3D, science fiction and 3D are a good mix. I'll start work on the script soon, but I have been carrying this inside me for 30 years and we are talking to the creature designers of films like Avatar and Star Trek, building a new world and doing it the right way."

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