Argonauts, The: Historical Epic Scripted by Zak Penn

August 12, 2008–Sword-and-sandals movie are back. Zak Penn, who adapted comicbooks like “The Incredible Hulk” and “The X-Men” for the bigscreen, will write and produce “The Argonauts” for Fox. He's now writing “The Avengers,” which is based on the Marvel comicbook.

Foxs version of “The Argonauts” is based on Penns original take on the classic Greek tale. In Greek mythology, the Argonauts were a band of heroic sailors who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. The Argonauts name comes from the sailors ship, the Argo.

John Davis (“Alien vs. Predator”) is on board to produce “The Argonauts.” The Argonauts tale has spawned a number of projects, including the 1963 film “Jason and the Argonauts,” as well as a 2000 NBC miniseries. DreamWorks is developing a project, also titled “The Argonauts,” about a group of treasure hunters who discover the wreck of the mythological sunken ship thought to have been captained by Jason, and are transported back in time to ancient Greece.

There was a popular cycle in the the 1950s which began with “The Robe” and “Quo Vadis” and contiunued with the smah hit “Ben-Hur.” In 2000, DreamWorks-Universals “Gladiator” made $458 million worldwide at the box-office and won the Best Picture Oscar. After the success of last year's “300,” sword-and-sandals picture have become hot commodities.

Warner will remake “Clash of the Titans,” with Louis Leterrier at the helm, as well as a “300” sequel. Joining the group is Relativity Media, which has fast-tracked “War of Gods” about Greek warrior Theseus who led a fight against imprisoned titans.

At least two or three Hercules movies are in development around town, including Universal Pictures and Spyglass Entertainments “Hercules: The Thracian Wars,” which Peter Berg will direct. Universal also has a “God of War” movie in the works, based on the epic Greek myth-inspired vidgame, with Brett Ratner as director.