Out of this year’s five Oscar nominees in the Best Foreign Language Film category, Wild Tales is by far the most commercial. The winner of the award, Ida, has made more money in the US, but Wild Tales has a bigger worldwide take, and that’s more important to Hollywood these days. Ida’s Pawel Pawlikowski could possibly do a studio-produced romance picture, maybe with his My Summer of Love star, Emily Blunt. But Argentine filmmaker Damian Szifron, who wrote and directed Wild Tales, has the chops more suited for action. It’s only a matter of time before he’s tapped to helm a major tentpole like The Six Billion Dollar Man.
First, though, he’s been tapped to write that specific blockbuster, which is due next year. Based on the hit ’70s TV show The Six Million Dollar Man (and its original source material, the Martin Caidin novel “Cyborg”), the adjusted-for-inflation-titled movie already has a director in place, Peter Berg, as well as star Mark Wahlberg taking on the role originated on the small screen by Lee Majors. Although Szifron’s directorial work was far greater than his screenplay for Wild Tales, he displayed a knack for writing clever situations and I’m eager to see what he brings to a feature of this magnitude. I expect some ingenious set pieces and plot turns that will elevate this from just another unnecessary TV adaptation.
The Six Billion Dollar Man will follow a soldier (not a test pilot this time) named Steve Austin (Wahlberg) who gains some cybernetic enhancements following a terrible accident. As part machine, he then has super strength and speed. As quoted by The Hollywood Reporter, Szifron provided the following statement about the gig: “The themes surrounding this beloved property allow for the creation of a memorable sci-fi actioner as well as a bold spy thriller. Expectations are high and I’ll do my best to deliver the strongest basis for an amazing cinematic experience.”
Previous writers and filmmakers involved in the decades-long attempt to make a Six Million Dollar Man movie include Kevin Smith (whose draft was turned into a “Bionic Man” comic book), Trevor Sands and Scot Armstrong and Todd Phillips.