The Six Billion Dollar Man lands a director and a new release date

The movie adaptation of the classic TV series has taken a surprising new turn.

The Weinstein Company announced today that The Six Billion Dollar Man, a big-screen reboot of the classic (and lower-budgeted) 1970s TV series starring Lee Majors, has landed a director and nailed down a release date.

I'd kind of forgotten that this one was happening until The Playlist reminded me of it today -- it's been a long time since we heard that Mark Wahlberg had climbed on board to play Steve Austin, whose makeover as the world's first bionic man has had its price tag upped a thousand times over since he first appeared as The Six Million Dollar Man in three 1973 TV movies (which led to a five-season series run on ABC from 1974 to 1978). Nevertheless, the movie is still happening and the director will be not Peter Berg as reported a year ago, but Damián Szifron.

Who is Damián Szifron? He is an Argentinian filmmaker whose last film, Wild Tales, was nominated last year for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Wild Tales was a dark anthology of six short stories, most of them in the black comedy vein and largely dealing with revenge, outrage and social grievances. It will be interesting to see what Szifron -- who was tapped to write The Six Billion Dollar Man first before adding "director" to his job description -- will bring to a premise that's squarely been in the action-adventure mode (I wonder if he'll draw anything from the original Martin Caldin novel Cyborg as well).

Weinstein -- through its genre arm, TWC-Dimension -- has now scheduled Dec. 22, 2017, as the movie's release date, with production to begin in September 2016. Wahlberg said in a press statement, "I’m thrilled to assemble The Six Billion Dollar Man for the big screen with the likes of Bob Weinstein and Damián Szifron. We look forward to creating a Steve Austin for the 21st century.”

Added Szifron, “Writing the screenplay was such a fantastic ride and embarking on this journey with Mark, Bob and Stephen to take this story to a whole new level is simply spectacular. Growing up, these kind of films left an indelible mark on me and now it feels so good to be making one.”

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