Captain Canuck to hit big screen
Canada lags far behind its neighbour to the south when it comes to big-screen super-heroes, but Arne Olsen plans to give Captain America a run for his money. The Vancouver screenwriter will adapt Richard Comely’s comic book crusader, Captain Canuck, for a live-action feature film by Regina-based production company Mind’s Eye Entertainment.
“The superhero genre, which you would think is played out by now, is hotter than ever,” said Olsen. “With The Avengers and Spider-Man doing so well … I think it’s really fortuitous for us in terms of timing.”
Mind’s Eye announced, Thursday at San Diego’s Comic Con, Olsen would pen the script. An American Film Institute graduate with 12 film credits to his name, Olsen was selected out of hundreds of writers across Canada who sub-mitted 15-page sample scripts to the company.
“Ninety-nine per cent [of the answers you get] is bad news,” says the 50-year-old Olsen. “It’s so rare where you get some-thing like this. And right now the industry is very tough, so it’s doubly exciting.”
Olsen, whose writing credits include Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie and the Genie Award-winning Here’s To Life, says the Captain Canuck film will not follow the “comic book, cartoony vein” of The Avengers or Captain America.
“I’m much more interested in the grittier [films] – where there’s a much more realistic approach,” says Olsen, who teaches screenwriting at Vancouver Film School.
“The way we’re going to approach this is – more of a visceral action thriller in the [style] of the Bourne trilogy.”
Captain Canuck was created in 1975 by illustrator Richard Comely, and later continued by George Freeman. The hero’s real-life identity is Tom Evans, a Canadian International Security Organization officer who is seized by aliens and exposed to Zeta rays during a camping trip. Evans suddenly develops super-human strength and speed and takes on the code name Captain Canuck.
The fiercely patriotic super-hero, who wears a maple leaf-emblazoned mask, is best known for protecting Canada from the evils of communism and the occasional zombie, but Olsen warns fans not to expect too many old-world comic book battles.
“We’re trying to take him to more of a 21st century sensibility,” says Olsen.
“Hipper, with a bit more of an interest in contemporary issues and characters, and the technology and information we have access to.”
The screenwriter hasn’t started writing the script yet, but predicts the film will start production in about a year and a half.
As for which actor Olsen hopes will squeeze into Captain Canuck’s red and white tights? “Ryan Gosling,” he says with a laugh.
“Whether we could get him? Who knows.”