The live-action remake of the 1983 animated fantasy-adventure Fire & Ice that filmmaker Robert Rodriguez has been developing for years has finally found a home at Sony Pictures, according to Mike Fleming Jr. at Deadline.
Rodriguez will direct the film based upon his own screenplay and the production company Bold Films, which in the past has brought us such features as Drive and Nightcrawler, will take an important role behind the scenes.
Released in August 1983 by 20th Century Fox, the original Fire & Ice was a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between film animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi and legendary fantasy illustrator Frank Frazetta. The script for the film was written by Marvel Comics scribes Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas, both bringing their considerable experience writing Conan the Barbarian stories for the company to the ambitious project. Bakshi achieved the unique fluidity of the animation through “rotoscoping,” a process where live actors are filmed performing the movements of the characters and then traced over with animation cels. Bakshi had used this process on several of his past films. Fire & Ice didn’t cost much to make, but failed to earn back its budget at the box office. In the decades since its release, the film has acquired a cult following through cable airings and video rentals.
Sony is hoping that Fire & Ice can kickstart a new franchise for the blockbuster-starved studio. Rodriguez began developing the live-action remake in honor of his friendship with the late Frazetta, who produced the original and provided the animation team with inspiration and guidance. The plot of the original focused on a young warrior who teams up with the mysterious Darkwolf to rescue a princess from the clutches of evil sorcerers who wield the ability to control vast ice formations.
The original Fire & Ice is currently available to buy on Blu-ray and DVD from Blue Underground and is also streaming on Amazon Instant Video. Check it out because it’s great fun from two masters of the medium who weren’t afraid to take risks and expand their artistic horizons. Below I have provided the original trailer and a vintage featurette about its making.