In the midst of all the hackers/ ‘The Interview’ drama, it seems Sony is continuing to be a regular movie studio, as seen by their recent team-up with Robert Rodriguez (who has long been a Sony fan since the studio picked up the ‘El Mariachi’ film) to launch a live-action ‘Fire and Ice’ franchise. For anyone not in the know (which includes me before I began writing this article), ‘Fire and Ice’ is the brainchild of beloved Hollywood artist Frank Franzetta, and is a remake of a movie of the same name that was made by Franzetta and Ralph Bakshi (yes that Ralph Bakshi) in 1983. The story revolves around an Ice Lord who destroys a small village with his Glacial Fortress (and has done so before), and then kidnaps the daughter of the Lord of the Fire Keep, inciting a young man named Larn (the sole survivor of his destroyed village) to become a warrior, and attempt to save the girl and bring down the Ice Lord. For Rodriguez, it seems almost like a dream come true, as he has long been a friend and fan of Franzetta, and wants to see his vision done right. In Rodriguez’s words:
“I’m a lifelong Frazetta fan who was inspired by his work, like so many people…It was my dream to work with him, and the first thing I did when I got to Hollywood was call him. I got him to do a From Dusk Till Dawn poster for me, and I got to work with him and know him over the years. When I’d visit him at his museum and see his artwork, I tried to figure what would the ultimate Frazetta movie be. I remembered the movie he did, Fire And Ice, back when I was a kid. I thought, ‘I wish they could have made it look more like the paintings, but I guess they’d have had to paint each frame.’ Now, you could do that. You could make it look like you were in his imagination. He didn’t use models, he didn’t use swipes. He painted purely from his imagination, and the characters and the colors made you feel like you were in a dream, and a fully realized and completely imagined world. It was so visual and arresting.”
And while it is news that Rodriguez is now working with Sony, he has been working on this project for awhile (since 2010), even while making ‘Sin City 2,’ (which might explain some of the mediocrity of that movie, his heart was elsewhere at the time).
“I started developing it independently with Bold Films. The more we started putting it together, we realized it could be something much bigger and it started attracting A-list talent. I thought, ‘Let’s partner with a studio,’ but which would give it the rocket fuel it deserves? I’d heard Mike De Luca was looking for franchises, and I thought this could fit the bill because of the subject matter and the talent that was interested, people who’d seen the presentation I had and wanted to. Turned out Mike was a big Frazetta fan, and the studio was the perfect place. I’d started out with them with El Mariachi,and I had a long relationship with the studio and it seemed like the perfect rocket fuel for this. We’re actively interviewing to hire A-list writers to do another pass to get this going next year. I’m excited.”
With the passion that Rodriguez clearly has for the project, this could be huge, perhaps even on par with his work on the original ‘Sin City’ or with his earlier films like ‘El Mariachi.’ Only time will tell, but I know I will be rooting for the man to be able to do his friend’s work justice.