Rodriguez to direct "Barbarella"

Mon May 21, 2007 10:59pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Robert Rodriguez has signed on to direct "Barbarella," a new motion picture adaptation of the classic science-fiction comic book series, whose title character was immortalized in the 1968 movie starring Jane Fonda.

Dino De Laurentiis, who produced that film, will produce the update with Martha De Laurentiis for Universal Pictures, which aims for a 2008 worldwide release

"Barbarella" tells the story of a female mercenary who roams the universe in a distant future, undertaking missions that require her physical fearlessness, ingenuity and sensuality. The character, who made her debut in 1962 in a French graphic magazine written and illustrated by Jean-Claude Forest, was known for adventures that often involved sex.

"Dino De Laurentiis came to me and said, 'Barbarella' is a world where you are completely free to unleash all your fantasies, creativity and imagination -- where the possibilities are limitless,"' Rodriguez said. "I love this iconic character and all that she represents, and I'm truly excited by the challenge of inviting a new audience into her universe."

"Barbarella is the ultimate science-fiction adventure heroine: smart, strong and sexy," said Dino De Laurentiis. "In our vision, the future is female, and I can't wait to introduce Barbarella to a new generation of moviegoers."

Rodriguez is working with writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who are developing an original adventure for Barbarella. Purvis and Wade co-wrote "Casino Royale" and recently finished work on the next installment in the James Bond franchise, which has a working title of "Bond 22."

Rodriguez's coming on board puts to rest questions about what the in-demand director -- who last directed the "Planet Terror" segment of "Grindhouse" -- would do next. Although "Grindhouse" did not do well at the box office, the helmer was being courted by studios and was considering directing "The Jetsons" at Warner Bros. and "Land of the Lost" at Universal.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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