Cast member Mark Wahlberg poses at the premiere of “Ted” at the Grauman’s Chinese theatre in Hollywood, Calif. on June 21, 2012. (Reuters)
EXCLUSIVE: Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg, the duo behind the critically acclaimed and box office success Lone Survivor, are re-teaming for the feature film version of The Six Billion Dollar Man with various writers circling the project for The Weinstein Co.’s Dimension Films label. (Yes, billion with a ‘b’).
Berg will direct and Wahlberg is attached to star in the film about former astronaut Steve Austin who, after a horrific crash of an experimental plane, is saved by doctors when he is fitted with bionic replacements — both legs, his right arm and left eye. With super-human power, he becomes a force to be reckoned with for the government as a secret agent for the Office of Scientific Intelligence.
The story is based on the sci-fi book Cyborg by Martin Caidin which became a bestseller when it debuted in 1972 and was partially used for the popular 1970s television series The Six Million Dollar Man.The show had a large fan base and spawned a spinoff — The Bionic Woman. With such a well-known brand, the film will appeal to those now-older fans of the show in addition to introducing the character to a new generation of kids.
Bob Weinstein is producing along with Berg and his producing partner Sarah Aubrey, Wahlberg’s production company Closest to the Hole Prods. and Wahlberg’s producing partner Stephen Levinson. Universal, which enjoyed the success of Lone Survivor, may also finance part of the picture.
Dimension plans to go before the cameras sometime next year for a 2016 release. Also on Wahlberg’s plate is the comedy Daddy’s Home opposite Will Ferrell for Paramount and Red Granite (which Paramount said will start production this year) as well as the anticipated Deepwater Horizon for Lionsgate/Participant and producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian, which is expected to start filming late spring/early summer.
On the TV side, TNT and Paramount areadapting the conspiracy thriller Shooter as a series with Wahlberg and writer John Hlavin. The actor can next be seen in Paramount’s The Gambler which bows on December 19 in time for an Oscar-qualifying run.
Wahlberg and Berg are repped by WME.