Warner Bros. has brought on Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Constantine) to direct and exec produce an untitled Marco Polo feature, currently being penned by the writing team of Adam Cooper and Bill Collage.
Story details are being kept under wraps, but the film will follow Polo's extensive travels and serve more as a fantasy-adventure rather than a biopic.
Cooper told Variety:
We see this as something that takes place in the Orient of our imagination amid the cultural clash of the East and the West.
Polo, a Venice merchant, traveled with his father and uncle through Asia for 24 years at a time when the Mongol empire of Kublai Khan stretched into Eastern Europe, menacing the Holy Roman Empire. According to Polo's "Il Milione," Khan asked Polo to serve as an ambassador, leading to his extensive travels throughout Asia on behalf of the Khan. When Polo returned to Europe, Venice was at war with Genoa and he was imprisioned and dictated his stories to a cellmate before he was released in 1299.
I'm curious how big of a time period this will cover. I'm guessing they'll introduce Polo as a child, but then fous on one grand adventure.
It will be interesting to see Lawrence take on the open seas. I loved Constantine, but I've yet to bring myself to watch his I Am Legend remake.
The sale of Cooper and Collage's Marco Polo pitch marks their third consecutive reimagination of a classic story purchased preemptively, having sold a pitch to Fox to tell the story of Moses, and they also made a deal in 2008 to reinvent Herman Melville's Moby Dick for Universal, which will be directed by Timur Bekmambetov.
The writing duo is most famous for their 2006 comedy Accepted, but they've since moved into reimagining classic stories and personalities as potential tentpoles. That's awesome for them, but these reimaginings have yet to be tested. They also scripted Brett Ratner's Tower Heist, which is likely to star Ben Stiller.