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New film to ask what if Merlin were alive today, when things are all modern and stuff

Although the approaching deluge of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, the BBC's ongoing Merlin series, the promise of NBC’s “adult Harry Potter” series, the sight of Helen Mirren in The Tempest, the witch-heavy next season of True Blood, Sam Raimi’s probably-happening Wizard Of Oz prequel, and a possible series based on Practical Magic aren’t quite enough (yet) to declare that sorcerers are the new vampires, this may put them over the top: Working Title is developing a big-screen film around Merlin, the wizard of Arthurian legend, with an eye on bringing him into “a contemporary setting.” Ancient magic clashing with modern technology, Merlin’s medieval sensibilities brushing up against the confusing hustle and bustle of the big city—well, the possibilities for dramatic and comedic conflicts are legion, and yet none of the plot details have been revealed thus far, leaving The Hollywood Reporter to talk instead about the short-lived 1981 sitcom Mr. Merlin (where the legendary wizard hid out as an auto mechanic) and the recent failure of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which had a very similar premise.

But true, even though the basic outline sounds hacky and stale, promisingly, author Jay Basu is handling the script; his work thus far includes the critically acclaimed novel The Stars Can Wait, the similarly thoughtful film Song Of Songs, and an upcoming adaptation of the British crime novel Bad Traffic—none of which suggest this Merlin-related project will be necessarily cheap or predictable. The question is whether by the time it arrives we’ll be as sick of dudes pointing wands at things as we are of the sexy undead.

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