Warner Bros. has closed a rights deal to remake the 1981 “Excalibur,” with Bryan Singer producing and developing the picture as a potential directing vehicle.
Deal comes as Singer gets serious about making the New Line-Legendary co-production “Jack the Giant Killer” his next directing effort, according to sources.
WB and Legendary Pictures have labored for months to pull together the rights to the film, which Singer will produce with Julie Yorn. Polly Johnsen, who was Polly Cohen when she was the WB exec who presided over the Singer-directed WB/Legendary collaboration “Superman Returns,” will also be a producer.
What catches me here isn't the notion of remaking Excalibur so much as this: according to this, Warner Bros. has spent months and, by obvious extension, lots of money to acquire the remake rights to Excalibur. But Excalibur was based on material that has been in the public domain literally for centuries! This is what I don't get. If Warner Bros. wanted to do a King Arthur movie, they could have simply hired a writer and said, "Write us a draft of a script based on the Arthurian legends." But Hollywood suits don't think like that, do they? They don't think in terms of getting a project done, they think in terms of properties to be acquired. Which means that where they could make any movie they want based on Le Morte d'Arthur, they'd much rather spend orders of magnitude more money to acquire rights to a thirty-year old movie.
The mind reels.
(And really, why remake Excalibur anyway? The original is really about as good an Arthurian movie as I think can probably be made, given the non-cinematic nature of the source material. If the suits are that keen on hopping on the filmed-fantasy bandwagon, there are lots of unmade properties out there. This makes no sense.)