Adapt This: “The Expendable One” by Jason Burns and Bryan Baugh

the expendable one

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a new comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find thoughts from various comic creators and other industry experts about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.

This Week’s Book: The Expendable One by Jason Burns & Bryan Baugh (Viper Comics)

The Premise: Twigs Dupree is just another average guy with a below-average lifestyle, but all that changes when accidentally becomes a test subject for a chemical that makes him immortal. After discovering that he’s unable to die no matter how hard he tries, he decides to fight crime with the help of his amateur scientist pal and a police radio scanner. His new, weird life takes an even weirder turn when he gets caught up in the search for a killer who might actually be a werewolf.

The Pitch: A potent mix of gory horror and clever humor, The Expendable One is the sort of comic that echoes the feel of such films as the “Evil Dead” movies and the recent “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil,” which manage to be both scary and funny. The story also shares a lot of similarities with the tone of early Dylan Dog comics (and to a lesser extent, the disappointing “Dylan Dog” movie), in that it doesn’t shy away from presenting gory imagery one moment and sex appeal the next.

While the comic itself is a fairly under-the-radar project, Burns has created a nice little introduction for his hero that serves as both his first big adventure and origin story. The cast of characters in The Expendable One is relatively small, and the comic is short enough to give a screenwriter room to expand and tweak certain elements on its way from page to screen.

Any adaptation of the book also benefits from the fact that the characters of Twigs and his wannabe-scientist pal Jerry are so loosely defined in the original 2006 series that the net can be cast far and wide for potential actors. Twigs need only be a somewhat goofy everyman with a (relatively) noble heart, while Jerry is the stereotypical science nerd, complete with bad hygiene, a big brain, and a complete lack of social skills. The only other character necessary to cast would be the mysterious Agent Armstrong, a sexy investigator tasked with recruiting Twigs for a special mission.

While the casting shouldn’t be too difficult, the real trick in bringing The Expendable One to the screen is finding a filmmaker who can walk the line between slapstick, occasionally gross-out humor, and genuine, nightmare-inducing horror. Twigs’ secret power isn’t a pretty thing, and the right director will have to find a way to inject humor into horror, and horror into the story’s humor. Pairing up the right filmmaker with an actor who can be funny while his character’s brains are spilling out of his head certainly won’t be easy, but it will be worth it in the end, as a film based on The Expendable One has a lot of potential to give audiences something that should feel very, very different from anything that’s come out of Hollywood lately.

The Closing Argument: It’s rare to find a film that achieves the right balance of humor and horror. Certainly, movies like “Shaun of the Dead” and the aforementioned “Evil Dead” films have had success in that world, but for every good blend of funny and scary, there are hundreds of movies that miss the mark entirely. The Expendable One offers a great foundation for a quirky, unique spin on the horror-comedy genre, and ample opportunity for a director and his/her cast to have some fun while making the audience squeal.

A little bit gorier and darker than some of the more recent examples of that genre mash-up, The Expendable One still manages to have a sharp sense of humor that should serve it well on the screen. Here’s hoping this 2006 series can find itself resurrected for some live-action scares (and laughs), because if nothing else, Hollywood could use a few more heroes like Twigs Dupree.

Would “The Expendable One” make a good movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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