Comedian, actor, and director Ben Stiller has kept a low profile over the last few years, with just a handful of film appearances and the brief return of his character Tony Wonder for the grim revival of Arrested Development. Now, more often behind the camera than in front of it, he will do both in his film adaptation of the 1968 British sci-fi spy series The Champions.
Stiller will star alongside two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett, who is signed onto the project as a producer.
“Champions is a long-forgotten gem that will excite a new generation in the same strange and magnificent way that the original series spoke to us. I’ve long wanted to work with Ben—the director and the actor. He is one of the most engaged and versatile directors working today. Anyone who can make both Zoolander and Escape At Dannemora is a creative force to be reckoned with,” Blanchett says in a statement to Variety.
Stiller adds, “I’m a huge fan of Cate’s for a very long time. I’m hoping this project will help people to finally take her seriously as an actress.”
In the original television show from Dennis Spooner, three United Nations agents end up stranded in the Himalayas following a plane crash. Found by an advanced civilization secretly living in Tibet, they gain enhanced intellectual and physical abilities.
Upon returning home, they use their new superhuman abilities to become champions of law, order and justice. Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo, and William Gaunt starred in the originally series, which ran for one season, spurring 30 episodes.
The only previous murmur of a film adaptation happened in 2007, when Guillermo del Toro signed on to adapt the series for United Artists, which was then swiftly never heard about again.