The comic book adaptation has been in development for more than 10 years.
Ridley Scott deftly manages to resist typecasting when it comes to choosing directorial projects. Of course, many associate him with pioneering sci-fi films with the Blade Runner and the Alien franchises. But between being in talks to direct a Disney film, finding new things to terrify us in one of his flagship series, and dabbling in a healthy sprinkling of crime dramas every so often, the director has done it all. Scott’s next film will reportedly be another adaptation, this time of a comic book.
It won’t be a superhero movie by any means, because remember when he implied that those aren’t smart or realistic enough to be considered good cinema? The Wrap has confirmed that Scott is instead in talks to direct Fox’s long-gestating graphic novel adaptation Queen and Country.
Written by Greg Rucka (“Whiteout”), the original comics — which won the Eisner Award for Best New Series in 2002 — provide a grounded look into the lives of secret agents, with a goal of demystifying spy missions and the bureaucracy and politics surrounding them. Queen and Country is led by British Intelligence spy Tara Chace. Although her storyline in the 32-issue long comic series takes her all over the world on a series of different espionage missions, The Wrap specifically states that in this film will have the character baiting a terrorist out of hiding after an attack in London.
Queen and Country has been in limbo for over a decade. Original script drafts were written by John Rogers (Leverage), Ryan Condal (Rampage), Olivia Milch (Ocean’s 8), and Rucka himself. Ellen Page was once attached to star and director Craig Viveiros (The Liability) would have spearheaded the movie. However, these names are in the wind now, and Fox is starting over. Hence, getting Scott on board will likely do wonders for the once-troubled project. He’s a fascinating director who ensures that his visions get from page to screen in one way or another, even if fans are frustrated over the constant re-edits of his own classics.
Although she is evidently no longer involved, Page would have been a great Chace. She has definitely portrayed characters with a more fluid sense of justice in the past. I’m thinking particularly of her role in Hard Candy, a young teenager who tricks a pedophile in order to expose him. Page delivers a fearless performance in such a controversial role that would have really worked for the part of Chace too.
But the search is on for another Tara, and literally any actress could get a big break in a role like this. The film industry is inundated with plenty of young up-and-comers who would benefit from a starring role in a movie made by the guy who turned Ellen Ripley into a household name.
Whether it’s the right time to revive Queen and Country — especially amidst the relative non-successes of Atomic Blonde and Red Sparrow — is up in the air for now. Atomic Blonde and Red Sparrow demonstrate that a lot of things about a movie could be on-point, including casting and directorial choices, but the lack of compelling and cohesive writing can hold it back significantly. The good news is no one’s giving up on the women-led spy thriller anytime soon, and Queen and Country could finally hit the mark.