Screen Talk: Rich pickings

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The Independent Culture

Guy Ritchie has signed up to direct his first superhero movie, 'Lobo', a big-screen adaptation of the DC Comics anti-hero. Backed by Warner Bros, the story follows the antics of the blue-skinned cigar-chomping alien Lobo, an interstellar mercenary and bounty hunter. Introduced in the 1980s by creators Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen, Lobo was a parody of violent comic book heroes such as Wolverine and the Punisher. With stories featuring a nihilistic streak tinged with dark comedy and excessive violence, Ritchie will certainly have his hands full. Doug Liman was attached to direct the project, but the film's producer, Joel Silver, wanted to work with Ritchie again after their recent team-up for 'Sherlock Holmes'.

Three's a crowd

Write a script and they will come. At least that's the hope for a third instalment of the Bad Boys franchise, backed by Columbia Pictures. The studio hopes Peter Craig's script will bring together producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Michael Bay and stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, pictured, for their third outing together. The previous two films took more than $400m (£267m) at the global box office between them. But at this point, with the project being in its early stages, the costliness of putting the old team back together is a significant hurdle to the third outing getting a green light.

Got the shakes

The uber producer Jerry Bruckheimer has just snapped up the movie rights to 'Shake', a short story penned by screenwriter Derek Haas. Bruckheimer has secured the services of his regular collaborator, the writer Michael Brandt, to expand it into a feature screenplay. Haas' story originated on a recently launched website called that he created for television and film writers to showcase their pulpy short fiction. According to Hollywood lore, Bruckheimer visited the site, loved the story of an FBI agent chasing a killer while he begins to lose control of his own body, and bought the idea with the intention of making a Disney film.

Cowboys, aliens and Downey

Robert Downey Jr must love bringing comic book characters to life. Fresh from working on 'Iron Man 2' (due to hit cinemas next year) he will continue his collaboration with Jon Favreau on 'Cowboys & Aliens'. The adaptation of the Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley graphic novel is set in a sci-fi Western world and looks at what would happen if cowboys and Native Americans found the prairie attacked by aliens in mid-1800s Arizona. Downey is attached to the DreamWorks/Universal backed project with Favreau lined up to make it his next directing duty. The project has long been in development having originally been set up at Universal and DreamWorks in 1997. It later moved to Columbia before returning to DreamWorks/Universal.

Big-screen Ponzi

Investors around the world and especially America are still reeling from the aftermath of the giant Ponzi scam by Bernard Madoff. So the timing is right to make a film based on the real-life story of Barry Minkow. Justin Baldoni, right, has been cast in the title role and joins James Caan, Armand Assante, Mark Hamill and Ving Rhames in the bizarre story of a teenage entrepreneur running a successful carpet company, ZZZZ Best, who gets busted for running a Ponzi scheme. After experiencing a religious conversion in prison, Minkow becomes a pastor doing anti-fraud work with the FBI. Written by Jonathan Meyers, 'Minkow' will be directed by Bruce Caulk.