Remake & Reboot: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Movie

Out of all the comic-to-film adaptations in recent years, one of the most disappointing (for me at least) was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The concept itself was eye-opening in its reach, but the story given life by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill gave a world of rich possibilities for a movie adaptation. Sadly, the Stephen Norrington-directed film failed to live up to that. There was a multitude of reasons, from studio pressure leading to a maligned screenplay, casting issues, and failure of imagination from the director himself. An Alan Moore story is a hard thing to translate to film (just ask any of the directors who’ve tried), but it’s not impossible.

For a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film to work, producers need to not only invest in a talented staff and special effects budget but also to stay true to the source material and its authors. Although Kevin O’Neill signed off on the movie during project, Moore had a contemptuous relationship (or lack thereof) which has continued to other movie adaptations of his work from Watchmen to From Hell and V for Vendetta. A refashioned LoEG should pursue a more straight adaptation of the concept and the story of the first book, bringing in both creators during the screenwriting, filming and even casting portion of the film. You might argue that Alan Moore’s name might not carry much weight with the mainstream movie-going public, but when you contrast it with his non-participation in others and the geek cred it would give the movie, that’d be something. Plus, Moore & O’Niell tell a great story in the comic series, so why change it?

The Concept

Plain and simple. The LoEG movie should take the first volume and adapt it for the screen. Work out the issues with the rights-holders of The Invisible Man and take on the “yellow peril” stigma of Fu Manchu head-on. iFanboy has given high marks to the LoEG from day one; if you haven’t read it yet, you should.

Another thing that works in the favor of a new LoEG movie is its ability to cast a worldly set of actors, comprising a who’s who of the international stage like an international version of Ocean’s Eleven. By not just limiting its casting to American & British hands, this movie based on classic literature could find audiences worldwide in a way films like the recent Green Lantern could only hope.

Plus, if done well… imagine the sequels and spin-off solo films for some of the major characters.

The Director

Although you wouldn’t know it from the first film, on paper LoEG is a blockbuster movie on paper pulling together a who’s who of classic genre literature. That epic nature co-exists with a firm historical context that has proven tough to balance for most any director. The director we need is Steven Spielberg.

Spielberg’s history of work speaks for itself, so the real challenge would be getting him to do the film. He’s currently embroiled in post-production on War Horse and the Adventures of TinTin series; for producers to get Spielberg in the director’s chair, they’d need to appeal to his sense of adventure and the inherent challenge this book would provide. It’s a long shot, but imagine what could come of a movie boasting the credit sequence of “Story by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Niell / Directed by Steven Spielberg”.

The Cast


Mina  Harker / Rachel Weisz: Weisz is no stranger to big budget affairs given her work on The Mummy, but since then she’s become a much better actor. As Harker, she’d serve as a lynchpin to the film.


Allan Quartermain / George Clooney: Clooney might be as hard to get on the film as Spielberg, but if successful Clooney could further cement this as an action film that can be serious. 


Captain Nemo / Akshay Kumar: Although a complete unknown to U.S. audiences, Akshay Kumar is one of Bollywood’s top actors and could deliver both on the acting side and the authenticity of Nemo’s heritage.



Dr. Jekyll / Clive Owen: Although I’m a big fan of Jason Flemyng who played Jekyll in the first film, I think Owen could deliver a more two-faced performance as a doctor and a madman.



The Invisible Man / Kevin Spacey: He’s so good at being bad, putting Kevin Spacey (or at least his voice) in this pivotal role for the film would be perfect.


Fu Manchu / Tony Leung Chiu-Wai: One of the reasons the Fu Manchu character failed to appear in the movie was the racist overtones of the character’s early 20th century portrayals. But for this movie to work, I think they should approach the character head-on the way Moore & O’Neill did in the comics.  Although Leung hasn’t done a “Hollywood” film in his career, he’s expressed intent interest in doing so and this could be the perfect project to start and turn the negative Fu Manchu character around.


  1. This is a book that is in SERIOUS need of a remake. Unfortunately I think “LXG” may have tainted the League’s image beyond repair

  2. Alan Moore is standing over a bubbling cauldron, casting a spell to ensure this never happens and hexing Chris.

  3. Do want.
    Imagine that I used to be fine with LXG, until I actually read the books :S
    Sad that it’ll never happen. Or at least not in the coming couple of years. 

  4. YES! Please!!!

  5. Love this casting. It’s transcendary.

    Remember when no one ever thought there would be an Avengers movie? Now I’m imagining a world where the top actors in Bollywood, Hong Kong, and Hollywood can star in the same film.

    What’s next, world peace?

  6. The original film, although terrible, was one of the motivating factors (along with Smallville and Batman Begins) that got be into comics. I also used to have immense fun recasting it in my head. Here’s mine:

    Director: Tim Burton
    Allan Quatermain: John Hurt
    Mina Murray: Helena Bonham Carter
    Captain Nemo: Erick Avari
    Dr. Jekyll: Robert Carlyle
    Hawley Griffin: Jeremy Irons
    Campion Bond: Robert Coltrane
    Fu Manchu: Ken Wantanabe

  7. Director:  Edgar Wright
    Qatermain:  Nathan Fillion
    Mina:  Emily Blunt
    Captain Nemo:  Aamir Khan
    Jekyll:  Michael Rosenbaum
    Fu Manchu:  I have to go with Watanabe
    Griffin:  Bill Nighy or Alan Rickman (voice at least)
    Bond:  I have to go with Coltrane as well.

  8. Re Akshay Kumar: Can you say Douchebeard?

  9. I would love to see a remake but I doubt this will happen in my lifetime. I think Stephen Chow would make an awesome Fu Manchu.

  10. The studio/filmmakers would also need to clear the rights to using the Fu Manchu character, who also remains under copyright internationally. This is why Shang-Chi’s father remained conspicuously unnamed in the first arc of Secret Avengers, and was referred to only as “the Doctor” or “the Devil Doctor”in LoEG. The rights issue and the cultural baggage surrounding the Fu Manchu character would be enough for any studio to steer clear of using him in a possible big screen adaptation.

  11. To say that this is the ultimate dream team of a movie cast & director is an understatement

  12. Eh.  LXG was a fine movie;  not the greatest ever; but enjoyable enough for me.  Like any Alan Moore property that’s been made into a commerical movie, I’m all for a remake some 25 years after the original try, but I don’t think League, as it’s base concept, is as a universal enough idea to really attract a mass auidence, especially when you’re throwing around names like Spielberg & Clooney.  Just those two, as examples, prefer to do their “own” thing & The League, in it’s nature, the opposite of being ANYBODY’S “own” thing.

  13. Uhh tho is playing Tom Sawyer?

  14. Awesome, this type of article reminds me of the best part of those old Wizard Magazines… but no way in Hell will this movie ever be made. Good list though.