In a move that could suggest a certain satisfaction with Tropic Thunder, DreamWorks has shelled out for another potential Ben Stiller starring/producing vehicle. It’s a graphic novel called The Return of King Doug, and the premise – a man returns to a “fantasy world” he left behind thirty years ago – is uncomfortably reminiscent of Hook. The Stiller of fifteen years ago would use this as an opportunity to parody the wretched excess of Spielberg’s folly and bad family filmmaking; now that he’s surrendered to the dumbed-down demands of the marketplace with uninspired product like A Night at the Museum, I’ve a feeling that he’s more than happy to make a thoroughly innocuous, utterly forgettable piece of crap if it means furthering his personal brand.
Of course, this is assuming the graphic novel written by Greg Erb and Jason Oremland is intended for a family audience; their tome isn’t due for publication (from Oni Press) until next year. In the meantime, they’ll be finishing the comic and adapting it for Stiller, who hasn’t committed to directing the film just yet. If Erb’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he used to be one-half of a dynamic screenwriting duo with Superhero Movie director Craig Mazin; together, they gave humanity Rocket Man, Marlon Wayans Presents: Senseless and a reason to get out of bed every morning. Jason Oremland has never killed anyone.