Earlier this week, Deadline revealed that seminal Dark Horse comic Hard Boiled is in feature development again. Warner Bros. has been circling an adaptation of Hard Boiled for years. Directors like David Fincher have come and gone. But now, High-Rise director Ben Wheatley has taken the reins. And he wants to bring his High-Rise star Tom Hiddleston with him.
Hard Boiled is a collaboration between Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) and artist Geof Darrow. Darrow is the winner of three Eisner Awards, and his hyper-detailed art had a massive influence on The Matrix. He’s a legend. Seeing his creations on screen is always interesting, even when the movies aren’t great. But a director like Ben Wheatley is a fascinating filmmaker. He’s more obtuse than a director like Fincher, and that could be a really great approach to material as strange as Hard Boiled.
Hard Boiled takes place in a dystopian Los Angeles, where a tax collector named Nixon is gravely injured on the job. When Nixon awakes after his trauma, he believes himself to be insurance investigator Carl Seltz. “Carl” appears to live a mundane life, but he soon learns the truth: he’s a robot assassin. And the future of robot-kind may be in his hands.
With Westworld, Blade Runner, and Ghost in the Shell all making strong reappearances in pop culture, now seems like the perfect time for Hard Boiled. Wheatley will have to find a way to separate the film’s dystopian setting from the others we’ll see next year, and I suspect that means setting it somewhere that doesn’t look like Japan or Los Angeles. London, perhaps? We’ll see. I’ve never read Hard Boiled, but I hope the comic’s fans can rest assured that Wheatley’s penchant for on-screen violence and dark humor will give them what they’re looking for.