According to The Hollywood Reporter, 20th Century Fox has purchased Stan Lee’s life rights, and is moving ahead with a film very loosely based on Lee’s life. “Loosely based” is the key phrase here — Fox is reportedly taking an unusual angle with the project.
Sources close to the Reporter indicate Fox will use the life rights to make a 1970s period action movie with Stan Lee as the main character. Tonally, the film will reportedly crib from the Roger Moore-era James Bond films and Kingsman: The Secret Service. Unless Lee had a past as a quippy secret agent that he’s kept secret until this moment, the film will be a fictional account. $5 says there’s a scene where somebody refers to a female secret agent as a “She-Hulk,” Lee’s eyes bug out, and he writes that down on a notepad or something. “I gotta save that for later!” he’ll say.
(Speaking of The Secret Service, fun fact: the Mark Millar comic on which Kingsman is based featured a similar cameo from Star Wars star Mark Hamill as himself. Hamill would later star in the film adaptation as Professor James Arnold, filling a similar role as his fictionalized self)
The film will reportedly be produced by Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, of Temple Hill Entertainment. Bowen and Godfrey are primarily known for their work in the Young Adult scene, producing the Twilight and Maze Runner films, in addition to The Fault in Our Stars and the upcoming Power Rangers film. Stan Lee himself and POW! Entertainment CEO Gil Champion will executive produce the film. Currently, no other talent has been attached to the project.
Stan Lee is no stranger to film, nor to fictional versions of himself getting into larger-than-life scrapes. Several different versions of Lee have appeared before in Marvel Comics, and Lee’s well-publicized Marvel film cameos have historically been well-received by fans. The Hollywood Reporter published a retrospective of Lee’s comic cameos to go along with the report — including the obvious (Lee and Kirby are turned away at Reed Richards & Sue Storm’s wedding) and not-so-obvious (a negative caricature found in the pages of DC’s Mister Miracle)
Curiously, neither Marvel Studios nor Marvel’s parent company Disney are mentioned in the Hollywood Reporter’s story as alternates for the life rights. Although a hypothetical Disney-produced Stan Lee biopic would assuredly be less interesting than whatever this Fox project ends up being, it also seems like an easy home run — a Saving Mr Banks for the families who grew up around Spider-Man. It’s unclear if these life rights are exclusive to Fox, or if the door is open for Disney to produce a more traditional Stan Lee biopic.
In recent years, Lee has diversified his efforts, creating the story for the TV show Stan Lee’s Lucky Man and writing a digital graphic novel about the relationship between man and God, entitled God Woke.