Columbus Discovers Marvel Superhero

In the wake of the blockbuster success Sony Pictures’ has had with its Spider-Man franchise, many of Hollywood’s top talents are keen to get a piece of the superhero action. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chris Columbus, director of the first two Harry Potter films, has been tapped by Universal Pictures to helm a big-screen adaptation of Sub-Mariner, one of Marvel Comics’ older and lesser known properties.

The Sub-Mariner comics follow the heroic exploits of a half-man/half-amphibian citizen of Atlantis named Prince Namor. The character first graced comics pages in 1939 and later surfaced in issues of Fantastic Four during the 1960s. There is no word on who will be cast in the title role, though Leonardo DiCaprio was floated as a possibility when the project was first announced.

Marvel Studios’ Avi Arad and Columbus have reportedly been discussing a film version for six years. David Self (Road to Perdition, The Haunting) was hired to write the screenplay, which takes a fantastical look at a whole unseen world concealed deep within the oceans of the Earth. While no effects houses have yet been named, the production team is sure to employ plenty of computer animation and digital visual effects to bring the ambitious script to the screen.

Under his 1492 Prods. shingle, Columbus will also produce the film, along with Arad and Kevin Misher of Misher Films. Vice chairman of worldwide production Mary Parent and vp of production Damien Saccani will oversee the film for Universal, while Arad and Kevin Feige guide production for Marvel.

Before making box office magic with Harry Potter, Columbus made a splash with the hugely successful Home Alone Movies and the Robin Williams hit, Mrs. Doubtfire. Currently on his plate is a feature adaptation of the popular stage musical, Rent.