According to a report over at The Wrap, Vin Diesel (pictured above; you’re welcome ladies) is currently in talks with the Lionsgate Entertainment/Summit Entertainment conglomeration to assume the lead role for the studio’s upcoming The Last Witch Hunter. As the name suggests, the film revolves around a man with a knack for bumping off witches, or, as The Wrap puts it, The Last Witch Hunter “follows the last remaining witch hunter who must stop a witch uprising in modern day manhattan.”
Neat concept, right? Apparently Hollywood thinks so too, as the script for this thing, written by Cory Goodman (whose only prior writing credit was on 2011’s Priest), found its way on to the 2010 edition of the Black List. For those of you currently scratching your heads, the Black List is a short roster of the best scripts in Hollywood that have yet to be made into films. Former Black List scripts that eventually spawned movies include Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network (it made the list in 2009) and Joe Penhall’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (which is featured on the 2007 list.) If you’d like to learn more about the List or read through the entire collection of Black Lists dating back to its inception in 2005, have a look at the List’s official site.
Anyway, back on topic: Vin Diesel as mankind’s last hope against the apparently terrifying menace of witchcraft. As much as we’d like to have something cynical to say about this idea, we can’t really come up with anything. We like the premise, we like the idea of Diesel as an action movie star, and we like everything we’ve heard about the script. The only possible problem we can see with this project is that the concept of witches doesn’t seem to generate much excitement among prospective viewers.
Remember 2011’s Season Of The Witch? Of course not, you didn’t see it. Very few people did. The movie, which starred Nicolas Cage as a world-weary knight devoted to routing demonic evil, pulled in a little less than $25 million here in the US, and nearly earned $67 million worldwide. On a production budget of $40 million, those figures leave a lot to be desired and may indicate that contemporary audiences just don’t care about angry women who can vomit pestilence and spin their heads all the way around.
Then again, Season Of The Witch may have been stymied by its lack of long-term, pre-release advertising, or the overexposure of its male lead. Vin Diesel, by comparison, is far more suited to being an action star than the 48-year-old Nicolas Cage. Likewise, he hasn’t been headlining three movies a year for the past decade. Maybe audiences will more readily accept Diesel as a hunter of the wolfsbane and eye of newt set.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be a while before we see how this project turns out. Diesel has yet to sign an official agreement to star in The Last Witch Hunter, and even once that’s completed the film will likely need at least a year of production prior to its theatrical debut. Fingers crossed that this project can avoid any unforeseen roadblocks.