You know what Steven Spielberg hasn’t made enough films about? World War Two. Apart from Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, 1941, Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade he’s done very little about it. And executive-producing Flags Of Our Fathers. And its companion piece Letters From Iwo Jima. But apart from those few things - oh, and the ten-hour miniseries Band Of Brothers - he’s barely touched upon it.
He should be putting that to rights with his newly announced projectBlackhawk, based on a reasonably obscure DC comic.
Blackhawk is the name both of an ace World War Two pilot and his squadron, a multinational team of fliers based on a secret island, battling both Nazis and more mystical/unusual forces (including Killer Shark and King Condor).
Trademarks of the series, which began in 1941 while the war was actually on, included impossibly buxom Nazi femme fatales, implausible enemy vehicles shaped like giant versions of things like wheels/sharks/spikes and the squadron singing songs as they entered dogfights.
It definitely feels like there’s a film of the type that has “rip-roaring adventure” written on the poster to be made from it. That same kind of pulp-inspired derring-do that made Indiana Jones such a hit.
Something Spielberg will hopefully not translate straight to the big screen is the incredibly racist caricature that is “Chop-Chop”, the group’s sole Chinese member. While later incarnations of the comic reinvented him as a more three-dimensional character, the early versions of him are pretty shockingly offensive, complete with an almost surreally racist accent.
Obviously they’ll update/de-awful it for the film, but anyone who really likes the film and is inspired to seek out the old comics that inspired it is in for a bigoted awakening. The past was dreadful.
Screenwriter David Koepp (of Jurassic Park fame) is writing the script, and the film will be part of the DC Extended Universe, although it’s not known how much it’ll tie in with the rest of it. It might be to all intents and purposes standalone, or there might be a few Easter eggs that suggest one of the characters is Deadshot from Suicide Squad’s granddad or something.
Spielberg has a few projects on the go that he’s working on before this - a fifth Indiana Jones film, a remake of West Side Story, a possible collaboration with Stephen King and an adaptation of Henry James’ The Turning Of The Screw that he’s producing - so it’ll be a while yet.
(Pic: DC Comics)