TROUBLE CITY

DAVID BENIOFF: TALL, HANDSOME, GEMINI

Movie NewsJeremy SmithComment

http://chud.com/nextraimages/benioff.jpg"Gemini Man, with its special effects elements, is simply the best action concept in Hollywood right now."

Thus enthused Jonathan Hensleigh six years ago when he was hired by Disney to rewrite Darren Lemke's futuristic screenplay about an aging hitman being hunted by a clone of his younger self. Shockingly, Hensleigh failed to deliver as he did so memorably with his exemplary drafts of Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Saint, Con Air, Armageddon, The Punisher (The Tom Jane Variation), Next and the controversial Welcome to the Jungle (which, curiously, is without an IMDB page ); now, after paying Mr. Anne Hurd somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million to soup-up this high-concept actioner, Disney (with the help of some hot shot producer named Jerry Bruckheimer) has revived the long-dormant project. And they're all set to shell out another $2 million to David Benioff in order to ensure that the job gets done right this time.

Back in 2001, Gemini Man was being talked up as a groundbreaking CG showcase that would feature a major movie star like Mel Gibson doing battle with a more youthful version of himself (Harrison Ford might've been a possibility, too). After the de-aging of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in X-Men 3, I guess we're finally ready to go there. I'm always wary of high-concept pitches that require this degree of rewriting, but Benioff wrote The 25th Hour, so I am in his corner for the long haul (he also knocked out a really nice script for The Kite Runner). It'll be interesting to see if his voice survives the Bruckheimer by-committee process.

It should be noted that producer Don Murphy has been with this project from jump; judging from everything I've heard over the years, this is his baby. And while I imagine he has an opinion on this most recent development, I've every confidence he'll keep it to himself.