Warners Decide It's Hammer Time

Hard boiled Mike Hammer will return

As played by Stacy Keach, hard boiled detective Mike Hammer was a regular fixture on TV for the whole of the '80s (and briefly again in the '90s). There hasn't been a cinema adaptation since 1982's I, The Jury, which starred Armande Assante, but that should be about to change following the news that Warners have just acquired the Mike Hammer rights.

Hammer comes from a lengthy series of novels by Mickey Spillane, beginning in 1947 and continuing sporadically until Spillane's death in 2006. The character is a private eye in the classic mould, frequently frustrated with the letter of the law and not averse to a bit of rough stuff to achieve results. Ian Fleming was a fan, as was Max Allan Collins, the author of Road To Perdition, who continues to write Hammer novels. He'll be an executive producer on the eventual movie, as will Spillane's widow Jane.

What that movie turns out to be has yet to be decided, although it seems appropriate that its home is Warners, home of many a classic crime noir. The studio snapped up the character after a lengthy period of rights entanglement (due to a dispute between the Spillane estate and that of his late manager). What's now under discussion is whether to update Hammer to modern times or leave him in the middle of the last century (where he belongs).

Warners have been accepting pitches for both options from several "A-list" screenwriters, although no names have been specifically listed so far. Early days then, but there should be more news before long. In the meantime, let us know who you think would be perfect to play the new Mike Hammer in the comments below.