Universal Pictures is making some big moves with two upcoming titles based on toys by Hasbro: Stretch Armstrong and Battleship.
The biggest announcement comes in the form of Taylor Lautner, star of The Twilight Saga, who has yet again been cast as a superhero of sorts with incredible abilities: Stretch Armstrong. Just in the past few months, we’ve discovered that Lautner was being cast in the title role of teen hero flick, Max Steel, and also that he might be showing up in the not-so-superhero-based remake of 1985’s Vision Quest.
Aside from this casting announcement and the shocking reveal that the movie will be in 3D, not much has been said of the Stretch Armstrong movie. It, like so many other toy-based movie projects, was simply announced and then ventured off to do whatever it has been doing. All we do know is that Steve Oedekerk (Bruce Almighty, Kung-Pow) has written the screenplay, and that mega-producer Brian Grazer is one of the names behind the production.
Here is what Universal Co-Chairman Donna Langley had to say about Lautner:
In the past two years, Taylor has emerged as a real star at the global box office. He brings the perfect balance of energy and athleticism to the role of an unlikely super hero with a fantastic super power.
We couldn’t be more pleased that he has agreed to be our Stretch.
Also announced by Universal is the fairly significant push-back of Peter Berg‘s Battleship movie. Originally scheduled for a July of 2011 release, the movie is now going to hit us on Memorial Day weekend in 2012. This move is to ensure that Berg can take his time and really concentrate on bringing a massive nautical action adventure to us. Stretch Armstrong is also looking at a release some time in 2012.
President and CEO of Hasbro, Brian Goldner, also shared his thoughts on the announcements:
Universal has put all the elements in place to successfully launch two of our classic Hasbro brands on the big screen. The addition of Taylor Lautner and the 3-D twist to Stretch Armstrong, in addition to giving Pete Berg and the filmmakers the extra time and resources to make Battleship an even bigger summer blockbuster, is sure to pay dividends when the film is released in 2012.
I’m actually quite surprised at the casting. I had a Stretch Armstrong myself back in the good old days, and I most-definitely wouldn’t have associated someone as young as Lautner for the role. Hell, I always imagined him more like a Dolph Lundgren or maybe even Nick Nolte if you go old school Stretch. I assume those guys probably wouldn’t have worked out too well.