Captain Planet may have just found an ally in a real-life, Oscar winning environmental superhero.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions has teamed up with Paramount to negotiate a deal to purchase the lapsed rights to the green-themed 1990s cartoon series. A live adaptation, first announced way back in 2011, was previously in development at Sony; with veteran Hollywood producers Susan Montford and Don Murphy leading the charge.
With that chapter in the "Captain Planet" saga now apparently closed, THR is citing sources that say DiCaprio and Co. are interested in hiring Jono Matt and "Scream Queens" star Glen Powell to write the script. If a deal is made, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, who co-produced DiCaprio's Oscar-winning turn in "The Revenant, will team up with the actor to helm the project.
Created in 1990 by media mogul Ted Turner, the "Captain Planet" cartoon franchise ran for six seasons, with celebrity guests such as Jeff Goldblum, Whoopi Goldberg, Meg Ryan, Martin Sheen, and even Sting lending their voices to the characters.
"We started the Cartoon Network or were in the process of doing it and I said, you know, there ought to be a cartoon series that has some meat on the bones," Turner told MNN in 2009. "And I said, 'We need a super hero for the Earth.' And I came up with a kind of Superman-type, Superman-, Batman-type character who was green."
Complementing the series was the formation of the Captain Planet Foundation, which currently funds environmental projects in all 50 U.S. states and more than 20 developing countries around the globe.
As for the movie's plot line, here's where things get strange. According to sources, Powell and Matt have pitched a script that "takes place years after the adventures of the show, with the captain now a washed-up has-been who needs the kids more than they need him." That's a rather interesting take, since especially in today's world, it seems like Captain Planet would be pushing overtime to prevent environmental catastrophes.
What's unclear is if the current treatment draws any inspiration from a scrapped 1997 film-adaptation featuring a script from writer Michael Reaves.
"It was going to be a theatrical feature, called simply 'Planet,' and it was a good 180 degrees different from the TV series," Reaves said in an interview. "It was quite dark, set in a post-apocalyptic future, and I think it was one of my better efforts."
You can see some of the behind-the-scenes artwork from that effort exclusively on MNN.
As you might expect, everyone is once again excited and amused by the potential of seeing the blue-skinned hero on the big screen.
"DiCaprio announced that he will be playing both Ma-Ti and Kwame, while Gi will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch."https://t.co/F7tuLxU3h4
— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) October 18, 2016
For those who remain skeptical, DiCaprio's participation in this whole affair offers potentially the best shot we're going to get at seeing this project become a reality. The 41-year-old star is nearly as committed to environmental activism as he is to acting, having raised tens of millions of dollars over the years for dozens of green-themed nonprofits. In addition to producing more cause-focused documentaries in partnership with Netflix, DiCaprio also recently debuted a new climate change film titled "Before the Flood," which you can watch a trailer for in the video below:
His participation would no doubt draw top talent to the "Captain Planet" project.