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Mark Hamill to Finally Direct ‘The Black Pearl’

Over a decade ago, Mark Hamill wrote a screenplay about how media had become more exploitative and sensational, and how people obsessed with fame were more susceptible to exploitation. Movie studios weren’t interested, but it had a superhero in it — The Black Pearl — so Dark Horse Comics made it into a five-issue limited comic book series of the same name. In 1996, when the first issue of “The Black Pearl” hit comic book stores, Hamill began to promote it as an idea for a movie with himself as the director.

In 1997, “Batman and Robin” came out. Game over.

Now, thirteen years and a dozen very popular and lucrative comic book movies later, it looks like “The Black Pearl” will be going into production at last.

The comic, which was written by Eric Johnson and Hamill, and drawn by H.M. Baker, focused on the creation and marketing of heroes by society. Luther Drake, a less-than-mentally-stable man, foils the abduction of a woman on the street. The media immediately dubs him a hero, and he believes the media, so he takes on the identity of The Black Pearl, a street-level vigilante. People love him, but they love the money they can make off of him even more, and things soon spiral out of control.

The whole movie will be completed for a mere $7 million dollars, according to Joblo.com, so don’t expect gigantic explosions and Batpods. Don’t expect focus groups, either. Berkeley Square Films apparently wants to put the film in the hands of the creators, one of which will hopefully — for us ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ fans — at least do a voice in the film. Hamill is clearly passionate about the project, and with any luck that passion will show up on screen, making ‘The Black Pearl’ stand out from by-the-numbers action movies.

It will also be interesting to see, after fourteen years, how well the film holds up. Obviously, the media saturation angle is prescient, but will this new, dark, mentally unstable hero make as much of a splash post-”Watchmen” as he would have in the nineties? Only time will tell.

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