'Flash Gordon' reignited by Columbia

Breck Eisner to direct; Neal Moritz producing

Columbia might be rocketing a redo-update of "Flash Gordon," entering talks to acquire the film rights for a big-screen adaptation that has Breck Eisner attached to direct and Neal Moritz set to produce. Eisner also will exec produce.

"Flash" originally was a science fiction newspaper comic strip drawn by Alex Raymond in the 1930s and was created to compete with another sci-fi strip, "Buck Rogers." "Flash" was first adapted to the screen via Buster Crabbe serials and was made into a lavish 1980 film starring Sam Jones but remembered more for its Queen score. More recently, it was a Sci Fi Channel miniseries that was seen as a critical and ratings failure.

Storywise, Flash was an athlete who travels to the planet Mongo with his lady love, Dale Arden, and the mad scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov. There, they discover a world ruled by Ming the Merciless and meet such strange inhabitants as the Hawkmen and the Sharkmen.

No writers are on board to adapt.

Moritz is becoming something of a favorite son at Columbia, with plenty of plum projects in his stable. The producer is developing for the studio a live-action adaptation of the "Goosebumps" book series, a remake of "21 Jump Street," and an adaptation of "The Green Hornet."

Eisner, repped by CAA, is developing a remake of "Creature From the Black Lagoon" as a directing vehicle, and developing a remake of the 1973 George A. Romero horror movie "Crazies." He also directed the premiere episode of NBC's horror anthology "Fear Itself."