First MAD Magazine went to television with the FOX sketch comedy MADtv, now it seems that the big screen is next as Warner Bros. Is planning a live action version of the famous MAD comic strip “Spy vs. Spy”. Deadline reports that Ron Howard will direct the film to be produced by Howard, Brian Grazer and David Koepp who will oversee the script written by John Kamps (“Ghost Town”, “Zathura”, “The Borrowers”).
For those not familiar, “Spy vs. Spy” is a black and white comic strip that first appeared in MAD Magazine in 1961. The strip features two spies, the Black Spy and the White Spy, who are constantly at war with each other trading victories from one strip to another. The strip never had any other characters appear accept for an occasional appearance from the Lady in Gray who was always triumphed over her male adversaries. The strip appered in animated segments on MADtv’s run on FOX from 1995-2009.
The announcement of “Spy vs. Spy” as a feature length live action is a suprise for sure. Part of the appeal of the comic strip was its simplicity, no dialogue, no supporting characters, no sub plots and not even an explanation as to why the Black Spy and the White Spy were even at war to begin with. The strip is basically a silent film and a short silent film at that. However, if the simplistic storytelling is embraced, this could turn out to be a visually stimulating adventure. With Ron Howard helming, this could be another success like “The Grinch”.
Personally, I love the simple comedic nature of the strip and the animated segments on MADtv. A live action feature isn’t appealing to me at all. However, anything Ron Howard does will peak my interest. Jim Carrey made “The Grinch” and the right two actors may do the same for “Spy vs. Spy”. I admit there is potential and will save judgement.
Currently Howard is gearing up “The Dark Tower” and “Rush” so it may be a few years before the Black Spy and the White Spy hit theatres.