Benjamin Franklin once said, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” Well, if the former US President had lived to see the present day, he doubtless would have added one more thing to the list: “…and Joel Silver trying to make Sgt. Rock.”
Silver has been trying to get an adaptation of the DC Comics’ World War II-based, cigar-chewing, bullet-spewing tough guy hero off the ground for as long as Empire can remember. So long, in fact, that Arnold Schwarzenegger was tipped to play Rock for a long time, and virtually every action writer worth a damn in Hollywood has taken a crack at the script, from Brian Helgeland to Steven E. DeSouza to John Milius. And all to no avail.
Most recently, Guy Ritchie, of all people, took a stab at it, attaching himself to direct, before moving onto another comic book for Silver, Lobo.
But now there may be light on the horizon, as Silver has brought I Am Legend and Constantine director, Francis Lawrence, on board, and hot new screenwriter, Chad St. John, to write what would be a radical overhaul for the good Sgt. and the men of Easy Company.
For it looks like Lawrence and St. John will be taking this World War II icon into the future. How far into the future is not yet known, but that’s where Rock is headed. Apparently, the WWII setting and Rock’s rather jingoistic nature had caused concern for Warner Bros. execs over the years and, despite the success of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and the forthcoming The First Avenger: Captain America, moving Rock forward in time is something of an insurance policy.
Silver has dabbled in sci-fi before, of course, and he’ll be hoping that this Sgt. Rock is closer to The Matrix than, say, Demolition Man. (Even if we do have a lot of time for Demolition Man…) Fingers crossed, though, that this iteration finally works out.