American actor-director Ben Stiller and Australian actress Cate Blanchett are uniting for the movie adaptation of the 1960s espionage television series The Champions. Besides starring, Stiller is attached to direct the movie, as reported by Variety.
The Champions movie, paying homage to the TV show from Dennis Spooner, follows three United Nations agents whose plane crashes into the Himalayas. Upon being rescued by an advanced civilization secretly living in Tibet, they are granted enhanced intellectual and physical abilities. When the agents return to the outside world, they use their new superhuman abilities to become champions of law, order and justice.
The small-screen version of The Champions ran in the U.K. on ITV. The series, which consists of 30 episodes, aired in the U.S. on NBC starting in the summer of 1968. Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo, William Gaunt and Anthony Nicholls starred in the show.
“’Champions’ is a long-forgotten gem that will excite a new generation in the same strange and magnificent way that the original series spoke to us. I’ve long wanted to work with Ben — the director and the actor. He is one of the most engaged and versatile directors working today. Anyone who can make both ‘Zoolander’ and ‘Escape at Dannemora’ is a creative force to be reckoned with,” said Blanchett
Stiller said, “I’m a huge fan of Cate’s for a very long time. I’m hoping this project will help people to finally take her seriously as an actress.”
Blanchett will also be producing the project through her company Dirty Films, and Stiller is producing through his label Red Hour Productions. Additional producers include ITV Studios America and New Republic Pictures.
On the work front, Blanchett is currently starring in Todd Field’s drama Tar and recently wrapped filming on Eli Roth’s video game adaptation Borderlands. She will be seen next in Guillermo del Toro’s thriller Nightmare Alley for Searchlight Pictures and Adam McKay’s environmental satire Don’t Look Up at Netflix.
Ben Stiller is working on the Apple Plus workplace thriller Severance, a drama series he’s directing and co-starring with Adam Scott and Patricia Arquette. He’s also set to direct Bag Man, based on Rachel Maddow’s podcast; London starring Oscar Isaac; and High Desert featuring Arquette.
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