By Brionna Rivers
“The Rocketeer” is blasting into theaters again, as Walt Disney Studios is prepping a brand new sequel/reboot of the 1991 action-adventure movie that captivated numerous fans. However, this Rocketeer, still in the early development stages, will offer audiences with a modern-day twist, as the new hero is an African-American woman.
Max Winkler and Matt Spicer have signed on to pen the script. Winkler’s previous work includes both writing and directing the 2010 indie comedy “Ceremony” starring Michael Angarano and Uma Thurman. He also has helmed episodes of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “New Girl.“ Spicer is his producing and writing partner.
The production team includes Blake Griffin of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and Ryan Kalil of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. The two are now working as partners under a new company called Mortal Media and approached producer Brigham Taylor with the idea for the reboot. Taylor is producing alongside Griffin and Kalil.
The original Rocketeer, set in 1938 Los Angeles, California, tells the story of a stunt pilot named Cliff Secord who discovers a rocket powered jet pack that enables him to fly without an aircraft. His heroic deeds soon attract the attention of Howard Hughes and the FBI, who are hunting for the missing jet pack. Secord’s adventures also get him entangled with mobsters as well as sadistic Nazi operatives.
The original film directed by Joe Johnston and starred Billy Campbell as Secord/The Rocketeer, Jennifer Connelly as his aspiring actress girlfriend, Timothy Dalton as a Nazi spy, and Alan Arkin as Secord’s mechanic. It was a modest success at the box office but since then, it’s enjoyed a cult following for its exciting effects and wonderful score.
In 2011, Disney hosted a 20th anniversary screening of the movie at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre and numerous fans — many in Rocketeer costumes — lined up for blocks. When the studio realized the films huge fan base and potential it began considering a way to bring the character back to life, but sources said it sought a way to differentiate it from another rocket-propelled flying hero: Iron Man. This may explain the choice of a female rocketeer.
Spicer and Winkler’s also have a coming-of-age drama titled “Flower,“ with Zoey Deutch and Adam Scott, in postproduction, which Winkler directed. The pair also wrote “Magic Camp” for Disney and “The Adventurer’s Handbook for Focus.“