With Dwayne Johnson facing demons in the upcoming SEAL Team 666, I’m glad to see that vampires and zombies are getting more competition in paranormal thrillers these days, and that legitimate stars aren’t afraid to take on those projects. (R.I.P.D. may not have made that much money, but it wasn’t horrible.) Peter Briggs’ long-awaited WWII-set creepshow Panzer 88 is back in action, and is reportedly in talks with Gary Oldman, one of the finest actors in cinema, along with This is the End’s Jay Baruchel and Thomas Kretschmann, who plays Van Helsing on NBC’s Dracula. Are you kidding me? This is fantastic! I sincerely thought that Sean Bean was going to end up being the lead in this one.
The deal is being made at this year’s American Film Market, according to Bloody Disgusting. This news comes just a couple of weeks after mega producer Ivor Powell (Alien and Blade Runner) joined Gary Kurtz (Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back) behind the scenes, putting the first bit of life back in this project.
Panzer 88 is set in 1944, as the German Army is pulling their forces out of Eastern Russia, and follows a beaten but unbroken 5-man crew of the German King Tiger tank dubbed Ilsa, retreating across an icy tundra. When they pick up a stranded SS officer involved in the massacre of a local Jewish village, they unwittingly enter into battle against an unstoppable golem-like creature that will stop at nothing to see them die. It continues to sound intriguing, and picturing those three actors as part of the crew makes it sound too good to be true.
Oldman’s weakest film in recent years, The Unborn, was also a paranormal thriller, and Kretschmann stars as Dracula in Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D, which is getting some truly awful early reviews. But this is next level supernatural, and Briggs wrote Hellboy. So there. Just check out some of the concept art, which you can find in bulk at the film’s Facebook page.
Oldman is hitting the genre trail hard, starring next year in RoboCop and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, with the child murder thriller Child 44 on the horizon. The German Kretschmann, no stranger to WWII films, filmed the pilot for a reboot of The Saint but it doesn’t look like anyone has picked that up. Baruchel, who rarely takes on a bad project, will also star in RoboCop, along with the drama Don Peyote and Jonathan Sobol’s comedy The Art of the Steal, in which Kurt Russell plays a character named Crunch Calhoun.
I’ve made a golem out of Gary Oldman’s facial hair from past films in hopes that this doesn’t all turn to dust. In the meantime, check out the sales art poster below.