Filmmaker Rawson Marshall Thurber is about to take on a different kind of secret agent for his next movie. The director of espionage comedy Central Intelligence and the upcoming action-thriller Red Notice has been hired by Warner Bros. to direct a live-action feature film adaptation of MAD Magazine's Spy vs. Spy, according to Collider. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment will produce the film, which was previously in-development as a film for Howard to direct. The script for the film was previously being drafted by John Kamps (Premium Rush) but it seems likely that Thurber will take a crack at it himself.
For those unaware, the Spy vs Spy comics hail from MAD Magazine and were created by Antonio Prohías in 1961. The comic strips depicted an all-white clad spy and an all-black clad spy attempting to frequently one up each other in ever escalating and deranged bouts of sneaky combat. A parody of Cold War era tactics and fiction, Spy vs Spy quickly became a staple of the publication and would go on to be featured in video games, Mountain Dew commercials, a board game, and even with their own animated sketches on MAD TV.
After directing the Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart vehicle Central Intelligence, Thurber became one of The Rock's go-to filmmakers, going on to direct Johnson in Skyscraper and the upcoming Red Notice. Thurber was in the midst of filming that movie with Johnson and co-stars Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds when the coronavirus pandemic began to spread across the globe, with production on the film being one of the first major movies to halt in mid-March.
Adapting the Spy vs Spy strips into a feature length movie could prove to be a difficult one since the entire set-up and punchline experience of each strip is entirely dialogue free and exclusively on the action. Perhaps that's why the film has taken so long to get made as the initial announcement of it being in development came nearly a decade ago. Thurber has previously proven himself capable of delivering on comedies and action-comedies, with his other credits including the likes of Dodgeball and We're the Millers. His four major studio films have a combined global gross of $957.7 million.
The journey to get Spy vs Spy on the big screen has been a long one with Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn previously revealing that he wrote a screenplay for a movie adaptation back in 1999.