Maguire, WB attack the big screen with 'Robotech'

By Borys Kit
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The anime "Robotech"

TORONTO -- After slipping on a mask for Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire might be slipping into a giant robot for "Robotech."

After a lengthy negotiation, Warner Bros. Pictures has picked up the rights to bring anime classic "Robotech," which featured giant robots known as mechas, to the big screen. Maguire is producing through his Maguire Entertainment banner and is eyeing the lead role in what the studio plans on being a tentpole sci-fi franchise.

"We are very excited to bring 'Robotech' to the big screen," Maguire said. "There is a rich mythology that will be a great foundation for a sophisticated, smart and entertaining film."

Drew Crevello also is producing through his Supercool Hollywood BigTime Prods. Craig Zahler ("The Brigands of Rattleborge") has been tapped to write the screenplay.

"Robotech" was a cartoon series during the 1980s from Harmony Gold USA and Tatsunoko Prods. It was re-edited and re-dialogued to combine three Japanese anime series to give the producers enough episodes to air as a daily syndicated series.

A sprawling sci-fi epic, "Robotech" takes place at a time when Earth has developed giant robots from the technology on an alien spacecraft that crashed on a South Pacific isle. Mankind is forced to use the technology to fend off three successive waves of alien invasions. The first invasion concerns a battle with a race of giant warriors who seek to retrieve their flagship's energy source known as "protoculture," and the planet's survival ends up in the hands of two young pilots.

Frank Agrama of rights-holder Harmony Gold will exec produce; Jason Netter will serve in a producer capacity.

Matthew Reilly brought the project to Warners and is overseeing. Daniel Shafer brought the project to Maguire and will shepherd for the company.

The success of DreamWorks/Paramount's $311 million-grossing "Transformers" has other studios looking to assemble a giant robot movie of their own. Last month, Regency picked up 1980s Japanese anime series "Voltron," with Mark Gordon attached to produce. Ironically, Warners had the first giant robot movie back in 1999: Brad Bird's animated feature "The Iron Giant."

Maguire is repped by CAA, Management 360 and attorney Steve Warren. Zahler is repped by UTA and attorney P.J. Shapiro.

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