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Taika Waititi’s Flash Gordon Adaptation Is Now a Live-Action Film

Highly sought-after filmmaker is writing the script and could step behind the camera as well

Taika Waititi flash gordon live action movie
Taika Waititi (photo by Ben Kaye) and Flash Gordon (Universal)
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    The ever-prolific Taika Waititi’s planned animated adaptation of Flash Gordon has grown into a full blown live-action film.

    “Taika is writing it. It was a movie that was a huge influence on him growing up. It is one of his favorite movies,” producer John Davis told Collider in a new interview. “He initially said to me, ‘Let’s do it animated.’ Then we got into it and started developing it and he said, ‘No, let’s do it live-action.’ I said, ‘Even better.'”

    Back in 2019, Waititi was first hired by Disney to “crack” the long-gestating project, which was previously attached to directors like Matthew Vaughn and Julius Avery over the years. At the time, the Thor: Ragnarok filmmaker’s take was said to be more faithful to the original source material than the camp of the original ’80s live action movie starring Sam J. Jones and Melody Anderson.

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    Flash Gordon first appeared in a 1934 comic strip created by Alex Raymond, followed by a number of live-action serials starring Buster Crabbe. Queen would later compose and performed the space opera soundtrack to the 1980 adaptation, with its title theme remaining a popular entry in their repertoire. The latest attempt to adapt the comic was a short-lived 2007 TV series on SyFy, which was axed after one season.

    Over the past two years, Waititi has become one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood, but Davis believes that Flash Gordon remains a passion project and is far enough along that it might have a “leg up” on Waititi’s other work.

    “We’ve been through the development process, not the writing process, but he’s laid out in great detail the characters, the movie, the way in, what it’s about, the tone, all of that stuff,” Davis explained. “When somebody writes a script that they’re going to direct, they’re obviously going to really like the script, right? So you get a big leg up, right? A lot of times, you go to a huge director with somebody else’s script and he’s got to reinvent it.”

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    Currently, Waititi’s soccer movie, Next Goal Wins, is awaiting release, while Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder is in post-production, leaving a sliver of room to lock him down on his next job. “Look, he does a lot of movies, right? Believe it or not, he can do a couple of movies a year,” Davis said hopefully, before admitting they would “wait for him.”

    However, Waititi still has plenty of other major projects in his queue. He’s been confirmed to write and direct a new Star Wars movie, while also reimagining Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for Netflix. He is also playing Blackbeard in the HBO Max pirate comedy Our Flag Means Death.

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