Ben Stiller And Cate Blanchett To Star In The Champions

Ben Stiller, Cate Blanchett

by James White |
Updated on

Way back in 2007, Guillermo del Toro expressed a desire to adapt cult 1960s TV series The Champions into a film. Sadly, it fell victim to the director's ever-packed schedule and long since sunk into the development mire. Now, though, Ben Stiller and Cate Blanchett are teaming up for their own crack at the idea.

The Champions, originally created for ITV back in 1968, followed three intelligence agents - codebreaker Richard Barrett, pilot Craig Stirling and scientist/doctor Sharon Macready - whose plane crashed high in the Himalayas. The three awoke three days later with vague memories of being treated for their injuries, to discover that an ancient civilisation had rescued them and given them powers "to the limits of known human abilities". They heal fast, have increased strength and endurance and ESP and precognition – all of which are pretty handy for spies.

While the series didn't exactly set the world on fire, and ran for one season (of 30 episodes, mind), it's fairly ideal for a big screen overhaul – take the concept, likely add some more comedy and you're good to go.

"Champions is a long-forgotten gem that will excite a new generation in the same strange and magnificent way that the original series spoke to us. I’ve long wanted to work with Ben — the director and the actor. He is one of the most engaged and versatile directors working today. Anyone who can make both Zoolander and Escape At Dannemora is a creative force to be reckoned with," Blanchett tells Deadline.

Stiller quips, "I’m a huge fan of Cate’s for a very long time. I’m hoping this project will help people to finally take her seriously as an actress."

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