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'Firefly' to become movie


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LOS ANGELES, California (Hollywood Reporter) -- The short-lived TV series "Firefly" is moving to the big screen.

After taking his "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" feature film and turning it into a successful TV series, "Firefly" creator Joss Whedon is about to do the reverse with his Fox cult hit, which will be released theatrically by Universal Pictures.

In addition to adapting it for the big screen, Whedon will also make his feature directorial debut with the project. Plans are to see "Firefly" go into production in first-quarter 2004.

Universal recently acquired the rights to "Firefly" from 20th Century Fox Television, where Whedon's Mutant Enemy Inc. production company has a television deal.

The action-adventure series was set 500 years in the future and centered on a crew aboard a spaceship. The feature version will incorporate the mythology from the show but will take on a more epic feel. Whedon hopes to enlist the entire cast to come back for the feature, depending on their previous commitments, with new characters added as well.

"Ever since the show went off the air, our fan base has grown even more," said Mutant Enemy president Christopher Buchanan. "We've had tremendous outpouring from the U.S. and Canada as well as the U.K., which just finished a run of 'Firefly' over there. Every comic book and sci-fi convention has had a 'Firefly' presence since the show first aired."

For the series, which ran this past season, Whedon produced 15 hours of television, including a two-hour episode. Three shows never aired on Fox but will likely be featured on the series' DVD release, due out in December. Buchanan said fans created such a demand that DVD presales on Amazon.com sold out within 24 hours.

Whedon's feature film screenplay credits include "Titan A.E.," "Alien: Resurrection" and "Toy Story."



Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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