Originally Published: December 3, 2004
New Line Cinema and Marvel Studios have signed Nick Cassavetes to direct the highly-anticipated big screen adaptation of Iron Man, based on the Marvel comic. Cassavetes recent projects include The Notebook and John Q. The film is scheduled to be a 2006 tentpole release.
The project is being produced by Marvel Studios’ CEO Avi Arad, who also produced the hugely successful Spider-Man and X-Men franchise films and Angry Films’ Don Murphy. It will be based on a script by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and David Hayter. Casting has apparently already begun on the project. This is an ideal situation because Nick is a tremendous talent with a passion for the material, and we have had such incredible success working with both him and Marvel in the past, said New Line production president Toby Emmerich. Teaming up again to launch a franchise as promising as Iron Man is very exciting. Arad added, Being able to work with such an acclaimed writer/director as Nick Cassavetes to bring one of our pre-eminent Super Hero franchises to the big screen is really special. Nick grew up reading Iron Man and personally loves the character. He shares our vision of how to bring Iron Man to life in a way that will appeal to a mass audience as well as the core fan base. This deal with Nick marks the perfect way to launch our second big Marvel franchise with New Line, a studio that we have enjoyed a great relationship with in building the Blade character into a Hollywood heavyweight.
Iron Man tells the story of Tony Stark, the enigmatic heir to the Stark Enterprises fortune. A driven inventor and executive who seems to have it all, Tony is haunted by his dark side. Though he commands his empire by day, by night he secretly becomes Iron Man, the living embodiment of decades of defense spending and innovation. Strapping on billions of dollars worth of state-of-the-art armor and weaponry each night to fight crime, terrorism and corporate espionage, Tony begins to crack under the strain of his fractured lifestyle and must ultimately confront the one enemy he can never beat — himself.
Iron Man marks the second comic adaptation of a Marvel character by New Line, which was initiated with Blade in 1998. New Line is set to release the third installment of the franchise, Blade: Trinity, on Dec. 8.
Cassavetes’ last directorial effort, The Notebook, was one of this summer’s biggest hits at the box office. He also directed John Q in 2002, starring Denzel Washington, for the studio and is currently in production on the drama Alpha Dog, which features an ensemble cast including Bruce Willis, Justin Timberlake, Sharon Stone and Emile Hirsch.
Marvel is also currently in production on the adaptation of Fantastic Four, which hits theaters July 1, 2005.
Emmerich is overseeing Iron Man for New Line along with Stokely Chaffin, George Waud and Jeff Katz. Spearheading the production for Marvel Studios are Kevin Feige and Ari Arad.