It was announced last year that Mark Wahlberg and his Lone Survivor (2013) director Peter Berg were looking to bring a re-imagining of cult 1970s action TV series The Six Million Dollar Man to cinemas. Now news arrives via Variety that while Wahlberg is still attached in the lead, Damián Szifron (Wild Tales) has written and will now direct The Six Billion Dollar Man.
This TV to film transition has been stuck in development limbo for years as directors, writers, stars and even concepts have come and gone ranging from all action to a comedy reboot. Exactly how Dimension Films plan to exploit the idea is currently anyone's guess at this point, because Szifron has worked on a new script.
Though Wahlberg has experience in comedy, he and the director are probably planning a more straightforward drama, based on Martin Caidin's 1972 tome Cyborg, which also fuelled the Lee Majors starring 1970s Six Million Dollar Man TV series. Wahlberg will be Austin, a former astronaut who barely survives a horrific experimental plane crash. To save his life, he is given high-tech enhancements by scientists who replace his legs, his right arm and left eye with bionic systems. Gifted with super human abilities, he is drafted in to work for the government as a secret agent.
"Writing the screenplay was such a fantastic ride and embarking on this journey with Mark, Bob and Stephen to take this story to a whole new level is simply spectacular," says Szifron. "Growing up, these kind of films left an indelible mark on me and now it feels so good to be making one." The film will be out, in the US at least, on 22 December 2017, with a September 2016 shoot on the books.