LOS ANGELES – New Zealand film director Taika Waititi, who made a big splash with “Thor: Ragnarok” in 2017, will take the reins in Disney-Fox’s animated project about Flash Gordon, the specialized online magazine Deadline said Monday.
Sources close to the project told Deadline that Waititi will write and direct the feature film, although close associates of his said that it is still not certain what his specific role in the project will be.
Fox Studios, which Disney purchased last March, has been working for several years to move forward on a feature film with comic book science fiction hero Flash Gordon as its protagonist.
Directors Matthew Vaughn, known for the action comedy saga “Kingsman,” and Julius Avery, who directed “Overlord” last year, have been linked to the attempts to get a Flash Gordon project out of the planning stage.
The new effort, in contrast to earlier projects, is that Disney wants this adaptation of the Flash Gordon saga to be an animated feature film.
The space adventures of Flash Gordon, who first hit US comic books in 1934, have already made it to the small and large screens via several series and films, among which the 1980 film “Flash Gordon,” starring Sam J. Jones and Max Von Sydow, stands out.
Waititi caused a sensation with “Thor: Ragnarok,” the third film in the saga about the Marvel Comics hero Thor, which has raked in $854 million at the box office worldwide.
With Chris Hemsworth once again starring at Thor, the feature film also includes among its excellent cast Cate Blanchette, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson and Anthony Hopkins.
Waititi – whose career credits also include the films “What We Do in the Shadows” (2014), which is now being remade as a series in the US, and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (2016) – in October will screen the dark comedy “Jojo Rabbit,” an Adolf Hitler satire based on the novel “Caging Skies,” by Christine Leunens.
The plot surrounds a member of the Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany who finds out that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic, thus spurring him to deal with his nationalistic ideals through his friendship with an imaginary Hitler, played by Waititi.
“Jojo Rabbit” stars Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and Rebel Wilson.