The last time that someone tried to construct an action film around the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci the result was Hudson Hawk, the 1991 Bruce Willis-starring disaster that was not only notable for being hated by critics, but for being a huge flop, pulling in only $17 million domestically on a $65 million budget. Apparently, however, Universal thinks that they have figured out what the problem was: that film didn't make Leonardo da Vinci the main character.

According to Variety, the studio is now developing a project called Leonardo, which will follow a young da Vinci as the central protagonist. Based on a spec script by Jonny Kurzman, the project will see the famous artist/inventor go on an adventure to "stop Renaissance Europe from returning to the Dark Ages." As the trade notes, the project is somewhat similar to a television series currently being developed at Starz by Batman Begins/Dark Knight writer David Goyer called Da Vinci's Demons, which is looking to premiere sometime in 2013. The film is being produced by Larry and Charles Gordon, who have some experience in the action-adventure genre, having individually previously worked on movies such as Watchmen, Hellboy and Hitman. The article doesn't mention a director being attached to the movie and doesn't say anything about a possible production target.

This project could have some potential if not for the simple fact that Leonardo da Vinci was an endlessly fascinating man. In addition to painting masterpieces like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, he also developed schematics for flying machines (he's credited as having invented the helicopter) and tanks, and came up with ideas about harnessing solar power (he also has a ninja turtle named after him, but I suppose that's a separate fact). If the character is an accurate reflection of the real man, this could actually be a lot of fun.

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