One of the biggest Classic TV shows of the 1970s was The Six Million Dollar Man, starring Lee Majors as astronaut Colonel Steve Austin who, after barely surviving the crash of an experimental vessel, finds himself equipped with a bionic arm, legs and eye. A big screen version has been in the works since 1995, the latest of which is called The Six Billion Dollar Man with Mark Wahlberg signed to play Austin and Bumblebee‘s Travis Knight now signed as director.
Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma) wrote a screenplay for a movie version in 1995, which seemed like it would be going into production. It didn’t, and that script ended up serving as the basis for a comic book series The Bionic Man. In October 2002, Trevor Sands was hired to write a new script, which elevated Austin’s worth from $6 million to $6 billion. That version fell apart as well when Jim Carrey came to the studio with a comic take on the material, filling fans of the property with nightmares of bionic penis jokes. Mark Wahlberg was announced as star in 2014, with Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, The Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon) expected to direct. Five years later, it looks like things could actually be progressing.
The Six Million Dollar Man was based on the novel by writer Martin Caidin, and it eventually had a spin-off series in the form of Lindsay Wagner’s The Bionic Woman, inspiring a wide variety of memorabilia based on the shows. More recently, Dynamite Comics has sporadically been publishing comic book adventures featuring the character.
As to the delays, in an interview with Screen Rant for Instant Family, Mark explained, “It’s a matter of finding the right director. We’ve been close many times. It’s very reminiscent of The Fighter. It’s one of those things where you have to keep pushing, you have to keep plugging away and eventually it’ll come together. Hopefully we’ll be in a situation where I find myself making the best possible version of the movie.” In a video interview with Hey U Guys, he added, “It’s an action film, but it’s very character-driven. I would say we’ll be more like a Bourne movie than a Marvel movie. Real grounded and edgy.”
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