Del Toro, UA redo Brit TV 'Champions'


Director Guillermo del Toro has signed on to bring the cult British science fiction TV series "The Champions" to the big screen for United Artists.

Del Toro will write and direct the adaptation, which is in the early stages of development. He also will produce the film along with Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner's C/W Prods. UA president of production Don Granger is overseeing for the studio.

The series, which ran for 30 episodes in 1968-69, revolved around the adventures of a trio of secret government agents whose lives were saved when their plane crashed in the Himalayas and they were rescued by an advanced civilization. The civilization also bestowed them with superhuman abilities. The series originally was produced by ITC, the company behind such British shows as "The Saint," "The Prisoner" and "Thunderbirds."

Granada International, which owns the ITC library, optioned the rights to the television series to UA. Granada's Robert Green is executive producing.

This is the fifth high-profile film that has been set up at UA since Cruise and Wagner have taken its helm.

Del Toro, who saw his "Pan's Labyrinth" nominated for several Academy Awards last year, is in production on "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army." A horror thriller produced by del Toro, "The Orphanage," is set for a Dec. 28 release from Picturehouse.

Del Toro is repped by Endeavor.