Y: The Last Man is a graphic novel created by Brian K. Vaughn that details the adventures of the last man on Earth, his pet monkey, and the hordes of women who alternate between wanting to bear his children and attempting to murder him in gruesome fashion. Portal is a video game created by Valve Software about a mute heroine who learns to combat a malevolent, omnipresent AI using nothing but affection for an inanimate cube and a tangibly poor understanding of the laws of physics. Superficially you’d think there would be little crossover between these two media properties, yet as of this morning they found themselves linked by a common thread. Specifically, Dan Trachtenberg, a successful director of television commercials who is about to make a big leap into the world of film.
According to Deadline Hollywood, New Line Cinema has selected Trachtenberg to direct the studio’s upcoming adaptation of Y: The Last Man. What does that have to do with Portal, you ask? Though Trachtenberg makes his living shooting TV commercials, he’s actually more famous for a project he completed pro bono. Much like many of you, Trachtenberg is a huge fan of Valve Software’s Portal franchise, and in 2011 he filmed a surprisingly excellent fan film dubbed Portal: No Escape that was both true to the spirit of Valve’s games, and quite impressive given its nearly non-existent budget.
You can find that film embedded at the bottom of this text, though we will warn fans of Y: The Last Man that it does little to establish Trachtenberg as the perfect candidate to turn Brian K. Vaughn’s masterpiece into a theatrical film. Don’t get us wrong, it’s an awesome movie, especially given that it was a labor of love, but the plot of Y: The Last Man is far less fantastic than that of Portal. We appreciate that Trachtenberg is handy with special effects, but we’re curious as to how well the man can frame an extended action sequence or a brutal fist fight. Those are the sorts of big, dramatic moments you find in Y: The Last Man, so hopefully Trachtenberg has the chops for such things.
Beyond that though, this is some of the most exciting film news we’ve reported on in recent memory. Trachtenberg obviously knows how to set up scenes and frame moving images, but more importantly he seems like a genuine geek who is capable of handling Y: The Last Man with the respect a property of its caliber deserves. Anyone who creates something like Portal: No Escape in his free time has exactly the kind of dedication to “geeky” media that we’d hope to see in the director of a graphic novel film adaptation. We’re still intensely worried that the eventual film will make a mockery of its phenomenal source material (inherent cynicism demands as much), but at least with Trachtenberg on board we’re able to breathe a bit easier.