Many have tried and failed to bring the so-called “next Harry Potter” to the big screen. The Chronicles of Narnia came close, but interest in the second film, Prince Caspian, considerably waned from the first. (The first grossed $291.7 million domestically, compared to the second’s $141.6 million – still impressive, but less so.) Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events should have been promising, but suffered in transferring the series’ sardonic tone. And The Spiderwick Chronicles probably was too similar to Potter itself to reach blockbuster status.
So now we have news that Pierce Brosnan and Uma Thurman have joined the cast of the Percy Jackson movie adaptation…which is being directed by Chris Columbus…who directed the first two Potter pictures, Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. (Nevermind they are often considered the weakest entries in the series.) Brosnan, Thurman and a host of other actors will play Greek gods in the adaptation of Rick Riordan’s first Percy Jackson novel, The Lightning Thief. In it, the half-human son of Zeus (Percy, to be played by Logan Lerman) embarks on a quest to prevent war between the gods of Mount Olympus. Thurman will play Medusa, which already seems like a stroke of genius. All of which leads to the question: Could this finally be the next big family fantasy franchise?
With Columbus at the helm, Percy Jackson will certainly be big, loud, noisy and not at all subtle, but there’s hope: Lerman is a talented young actor (you might’ve seen him in 3:10 to Yuma, or the short-lived series Jack & Bobby), and the film’s premise sounds fresh. There will be no goblins or trolls or Christ-like lions, just awesomely-powerful Greek gods. Sign me up! The fifth and final book in author Riordan’s series, to be titled The Last Olympian, is due in stores in May – plenty of time to generate buzz for the movie’s February 2010 release. But what do you think, Percy-philes? Are you excited for your beloved series to hit the big screen? And for those of you who haven’t read, do you think Percy Jackson has the makings of a Harry Potter-sized hit?