DiCaprio eyes other dimension for big screen

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Could the eerie music of “The Twilight Zone” soon be playing again at the movies?

Leonardo DiCaprio poses at the premiere of "The 11th Hour" at the Arclight theatre in Hollywood, California, August 8, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Warner Bros. and Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, Appian Way, are seeking material for a feature take on one or more episodes from the classic TV series.

Appian Way is not known for sci-fi projects, but “Twilight Zone” is said to be DiCaprio’s favourite show.

The studio and production company are quietly putting out word that they’re looking for pitches and script ideas based on the show for feature development.

The companies don’t aim to make an episodic movie like the 1983 “Twilight Zone,” the only big-screen version of the series, but rather hope to build one continuing story line based on one or more episodes.

Warners owns rights to the Rod Serling-penned episodes, which account for the bulk of its 1959-64 run. The Serling shows include such famous episodes as “To Serve Man,” about giant aliens who land on Earth, and “Eye of the Beholder,” about an inverted society where the attractive are considered ugly. The original series contained about 155 episodes.

Thanks to syndication -- the show now runs on Sci Fi Channel -- and many pop-culture homages, “Twilight Zone” continues to have a devoted, if somewhat older-skewing, fan base nearly five decades after it left the primetime airwaves.

Twenty-five years ago Warners released a four-segment film based on the series. Each segment was helmed by a different director -- Joe Dante, John Landis, George Miller and Steven Spielberg -- with three of the segments direct remakes of classic episodes.

The movie drew modest boxoffice and was known mainly for the on-set accident that killed actor Vic Morrow and two child actors during production of the Landis-directed section.

There have been other attempts at “Zone” updates, among them CBS’ 1994 TV movie based on several Serling episodes. Summit is making a big-screen version of the Richard Matheson-penned story “Countdown,” which was turned into the “Twilight Zone” episode “Death Ship” and centres on astronauts who land on a planet only to find their dead bodies already there.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter