It’s official: Director David Yates will bring the BBC’s time-traveling Time Lord to the big screen. The announcement came today via the Hollywood industry trades. The Doctor Who film, which still has an undetermined release date, will be an entirely new take on the popular franchise.
The Doctor is In
Yates is teaming up with Jane Tranter, head of L.A.-based BBC Worldwide Productions to develop Doctor Who into a feature film – with the same idea to make Doctor Who a multi-film blockbuster series – much like the Harry Potter films. ”We’re looking at writers now. We’re going to spend two to three years to get it right,” Yates told Variety. “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.”
Doctor Who is the BBC’s most popular television series ever, with the original Dr. Who series running from 1963 to 1989. The latest version, which was rebooted in 2005, stars Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor Who. The show is the BBC’s most lucrative franchise and airs on BBC America.
What Came Before
For the uninitiated, Doctor Who is a traveler, a super-intelligent alien who battles universal enemies across time and space. Yates is obviously intrigued by the character: “The notion of the time-traveling Time Lord is such a strong one, because you can express story and drama in any dimension or time,” but while the director appreciates what has come before, Yates acknowledged, ”Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat (the series re-booters and writers) have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch.”
The movie version would not follow the TV show and the film’s makers are looking for writers who will understand a fresh approach, while at the same time capturing the essence of the TV show. “We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too,” he explained.
Two previous films were based on the TV series: Doctor Who and the Daleks (1965) and Doctor Who: Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966), both of which starred Peter Cushing as the Doctor. And while BBC had attempted to remake the show into a film before, the clout that Yates and Tranter bring to the table promise the film should be fast-tracked.
The Digital Filmmaking Frontier
Director David Yates is no stranger to blockbuster franchises. In fact, Yates helmed the last four Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Parts 1 & 2), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The director uses state-of-the-art cameras and special effects to make his blockbusters but he also understands story and character development. Learning special effects and high-end production are just a few of the requirements for movie-making. The movie-making craft can take a lifetime to master; looks like Mr. Yates certainly mastered it.
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