Neil Marshall Off 'Professionals,' But Has WWII Alien Invasion Film
by Ethan Anderton
March 28, 2011
Almost a year ago we learned that Centurion director Neil Marshall would be at the helm of a big screen adaptation of the 70's British TV series The Professionals. At the time the filmmaker was very excited about the project, though it wasn't clear when the film would get off the ground. Well, Deadline reports Lionsgate is moving forward on the project about tough guys Bodie and Doyle who bust crime and terror at home and abroad for law enforcement outfit CI5, but apparently Marshall won't be sitting in the director's chair anymore. However, the good news is Marshall recently mentioned another future project that should be interesting.
While speaking to Live for Films (via ComingSoon) at The Jameson Empire Awards, the director said he's currently working on a script that's "a World War II alien invasion movie." This was the first time he revealed the project, so he wasn't too forthcoming with details. Since he's working on the script right now, I wouldn't expect this to conflict with other commitments like his collaboration with Ghost House Pictures for Burst 3D. However, Marshall also notes (perhaps exaggerating slightly) that he's "chasing about 12 different projects," so who knows what's next. But the prospect of an alien invasion happening during WWII sounds intriguing to say the least.
As for The Professionals, the project is moving into pre-production and already has eyes on Tom Hardy, Gerard Butler and Jason Statham to play Bodie and/or Doyle while Liam Neeson and Gary Oldman have been shortlisted to play their boss. This sounds like more of a wishlist for casting than any official news, but Lionsgate UK CEO Zygi Kamasa says "The ambition is to make a powerful commercial movie with the best of British talent.” The story will be an origin story, showing how ex-Spec Ops mercenary Bodie and counter-terrorism detective Doyle unite to work for covert UK security unit CI5, so don't worry if you're not familiar with the series. Stay tuned for more news on The Professionals and Neil Marshall's future slate as information becomes available.