Flying machine designed by Leonardo da Vinci Photo: SCIENCE MUSEUMIn one of the most unlikely movie projects since Pride and Prejudice was earmarked for a zombie makeover, Warner Bros has announced plans to recast Leonardo as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer.
Leonardo da Vinci and the Soldiers of Forever will pit the Renaissance man against "supernatural enemies" in a swashbuckling tale involving Biblican demons, secret codes, lost civilisations and hidden fortresses, according to the Hollywood trade press.
If that sounds a bit like the Da Vinci Code, it is probably no coincidence, although the film is being touted as a cross between Raiders of the Lost Ark and Clash of the Titans. The Da Vinci Code may have been derided as hokum by film critics, but it took more than $750 million at the box office, which has not escaped the studio's notice.
Leonardo will deploy a fearsome arsenal of weaponry in the movie, based on his real-life inventions.
His 15th century designs for the helicopter, parachute, car and submarine may never have progressed further than the pages of his notebook, but they will be gloriously realised in the film.
The studio is searching for a scriptwriter to begin work on the project. The producer is Adrian Askarieh, whose previous credits include Hitman, a violent thriller based on a video game. One critic called it "numbingly unthrilling".
The Leonardo picture follows last week's announcement by Warner Bros of a "fantasy-adventure" about the 13th century travels f Marco Polo. It will take place "in the Orient of our imagination", according to writer Adam Cooper.
Executives at Warner Bros are keen to make more action-adventure films featuring historical figures after the success of its recent Sherlock Holmes update. Guy Ritchie, the director, reinvented Holmes as a "streetwise" martia arts expert and filled his scenes with explosions and CGI special effects.
Ritchie's next film for the studio is based on the legend of King Arthur. Other Hollywood films in the pipeline are a reinvention of Moby Dick and an all-action biopic of Moses.
Meanwhile, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, starring Natalie Portman, is set for release next year, offering a very different take on the Jane Austen classic.