‘I Am Legend‘, the 1954 novel penned by Richard Matheson, is a wonderful piece of horror fiction that has been adapted for the big screen several times and was even the inspiration behind George Romero’s zombie-movie pioneer, Night of the Living Dead. Most recently, the novel spawned a big budget movie of the same name, starring Will Smith as a virologist caught in the middle of an outbreak that has turned pretty much every other human on Earth into zombies. The tale of loneliness and survival managed to take in $585mil worldwide and rumors of another entry in the franchise have swirled for years now. According to Deadline, it appears that Warner Brothers has finally found a way to bring Legend back to the big screen, though in a completely different way than had previously been rumored. If you were hoping for a sequel or even a prequel, you can finally stop waiting. If the rumor is correct, WB will actually be rebooting the entire franchise. Again.
Deadline is reporting the WB has acquired a spec script from Hollywood newcomer Gary Graham entitled, ‘A Garden at the End of the World’, which has been transformed into a new script for a rebooted I Am Legend. At this point, Will Smith is not expected to participate in any respect, however, original Legend producers Akiva Goldsman, James Lassiter, and Joby Harold look like they are on board for the new film. At this point, there are very few details, as you would imagine, but the script is described as a sci-fi version of John Wayne’s The Searchers. For those who may not have seen the John Ford-directed classic, the movie centers around a Civil War veteran and his search to recover his niece after a Comanche attack leads to her abduction. If the new I Am Legend is being compared to Searchers, we will likely see a father on the search for his child(ren) amidst the zombie apocalypse.
For quite some time, WB seemed to be leaning towards a prequel that would bring Smith’s character back to the franchise. After hiring Arash Amel (Grace of Monaco) to pen the script, however, the idea was scrapped when a usable story turned out to be a bit beyond Amel’s grasp. Then, a crazy thing happened. An Apple Store employee posted his screenplay on Black List. After posting the script, Graham caught the attention of CAA and Brooklyn Weaver and was quickly signed. CAA sent the script out to several studios, all of whom wanted to grab the screenplay and adapt it for their own studios. WB won the bidding war but after bringing Graham in for some rewrites, ultimately decided that the script could serve as a new telling of the Legend tale. Graham adapted his script and is now on his way to Hollywood stardom. No word on whether or not he actually put in his notice at the Apple Store or if he went out like a boss.
Reboot news is almost a daily occurrence in Hollywood and this news may not feel all that fresh to you, which is understandable. In this case, the truly interesting thing about the news is how WB acquired Graham’s script in the first place. There are plenty of writers out there that dream of being discovered through their various online posts and this bit of news is truly inspiring. We congratulate Graham on his new course in life and hope we see some great things from him in the future.
Personally, my favorite adaptation of the story was 1971’s The Omega Man. Which adaptation did you enjoy the most? Are you excited about a new I Am Legend movie or should WB leave well enough alone?