Joel Silver Plans Big-Screen Ben 10

Cartoon Network hit goes live-action

Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, The Matrix... Ben 10? Producer Joel Silver's massive Hollywood career has been built on grown-up action, but it looks as if the projected audience for at least one of his future projects will skew younger, since he's planning to bring a "big-budget, tentpole, live-action" Ben 10 to cinema screens.

Ben 10, if you've missed it so far, is a hugely successful Cartoon Network series that's been running in various incarnations since 2005. It's about a boy, Ben Tennyson, who comes into posession of a watch-like device that allows him to transform into various superpowered aliens (ten of them... but not all at once). Naturally he uses his new-found abilities to nut up and fight evil, with the help of his granddad and his sister.

There've been three separate series and a couple of spin-off live-action TV movies already: both directed by Alex Winter (yup, the one from Bill And Ted) and starring Graham Phillips as Ben the first time, and Ryan Kelley the second. The new version will be entirely re-cast though, which is a shame since it means we won't get to see Lee Majors as Grandpa Max.

Silver was introduced to the series by his sons, and, says Turner Animation COO Stu Snyder, "I can't imagine anyone better suited to develop a theatrical action-driven adventure based on our franchise."

If you're wondering if he'd still feel that way if he'd seen a certain relatively recent Wachowski Brothers kids' movie... everyone's way ahead of you. "I tried something similar to this once before with Speed Racer and failed miserably," Silver admits. "But you learn much more from the ones that don't work than the ones that do."

Given Silver's relationship with Warners, expect Ben 10 to gain traction there before very long.