John Woo Prime for Metroid Pic

According to The Hollywood Reporter, legendary action auteur John Woo has optioned film rights to Nintendo’s Metroid video game franchise. The filmmaker will produce under his Tiger Hill shingle and may direct the big-budget sci-fi film planned for release before 2006.

Metroid first surfaced in 1986 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and was relaunched in 2002 with Metroid Prime for GameCube. Metroid Prime 2 will be unveiled on May 11 at E3.

The movie will reportedly delve into the origins of sexy bounty hunter Samus Aran as she battles Mother Brain and her army of life-sucking Metroids. Terence Chang and Brad Foxhoven will also produce with Nintendo as a partner.

In addition to harvesting the game world for feature material, Woo is developing three original games through Tiger Hill. The director is overseeing the cinematics, story, voice work, character designs and motion capture for the titles, which will roll out in 2005 and 2006. Tiger Hill is also working on a game for Sega through a first-look deal and a second title for another publisher. Details will be announced at E3.