It doesn’t get much more epic than Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, the story of Odysseus’ harrowing quest to get back home to Ithaca and reunite with his wife and son. Given the story’s scale and significance, adapting it to the big screen is no small feat, but it’s one that Lionsgate is willing to tackle. The studio has entrusted the project to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence, and yesterday news broke that Lionsgate may have found the film’s lead.
It seems Hugh Jackman is in talks to play the oft-delayed and rerouted Odysseus, which makes sense for a few reasons: He’s roughly the right age, he’s played a hero before, and he’s a big-ticket, bankable star.
Considering that it takes Odysseus 10 years to return home in the story, it also stands to reason that it will take him several movies to do so. The studio is eyeing this project as a potential franchise and, frankly, it’s tough to see how this action-packed story could be handled any other way. Storms, wars, cyclops, sirens, witches, cannibals, and gods are difficult to squeeze into a single movie.
The last time this story was adapted for the big screen was in 1955. It was also retold in a big-budget 1997 TV mini-series produced by Francis Ford Coppola that starred Armand Assante. That said, as iconic stories go, this one is somewhat under-told — probably because it’s so ambitious and complex.
Jackman hasn’t signed on the dotted line yet but his final Wolverine movie is around the corner and this seems like the perfect role for him to transition to. Logan is, himself, an Odysseus-like character, and his story is epic in its own right. Hugh may not want to ditch that adamantium skeleton just yet, though. If he signs on for this franchise, he’ll have plenty of trials and tribulations ahead.