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Modern Soldiers -vs- Historical Warrior Dudes!! ARENA Has A Director Now...

Merrick here...
In April 2008, we learned that Summit Entertainment had picked up a script called ARENA by writers Toby Wagstaff and Darren Howell (HERE) . Now comes word that the film is inching closer to actually happening, with the involvement of director Jeff Wadlow (NEVER BACK DOWN, CRY WOLF, and the perpetually in pre-production POINT BREAK sequel ).
"Arena" revolves around a group of modern-day soldiers transported to a shifting landscape, where they are forced to face off against the best warriors from different eras in gladitorial battle. Frosh scribes Toby Wagstaff and Darren Howell wrote the screenplay, which Summit optioned in April 2008.
...says THR. I've recently been watching a History Channel series called WARRIORS, hosted by Terry Schappert. It discusses techniques, technologies, and psychologies utilized by warriors from different clutters and time periods throughout history. If Wagstaff & Howell's script even touches on the wildly varied ways peoples approach combat, violence, and death - there could be some fascinating material in their film. You can find more about said series HERE.

Readers Talkback
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  • July 17, 2009, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Please no "Show My Breasts For Attention Girl" this weekend!

    by NeilF

  • July 17, 2009, 10:43 a.m. CST

    I second the no script girl call

    by ackack

  • July 17, 2009, 10:43 a.m. CST

    This sounds like a pretty kick ass idea

    by We_Are_Trapper_Keeper

    Also, NeilF is gay and annoying

  • July 17, 2009, 10:43 a.m. CST

    warrior from different clutters...

    by bhu987us

    I think it's important to study and be respectful of other people's clutters. It is by understanding all the various clutters in the world that we can begin to build whirled peas...

  • July 17, 2009, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Bill O'reilly

    by Magnum Opus

    Clutter Warrior?

  • July 17, 2009, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Wasn't this

    by Flyingcircus

    an old Star Trek episode? Also, Trapper_Keeper, I agree. I wish he would die a horrible, crotch-rot death and take Wampa1 with him. Then, the two of them could sit in the fires of hell and repeat their signature posts back and forth for all eternity.

  • July 17, 2009, 10:46 a.m. CST

    I have often played out this concept in my head

    by YackBacker

    What if modern day troops faced Genghis Khan or Hannibal... how fucking freaked out would they be by heavy artillery, etc. It's probably not as enduring a concept to suffice for a whole movie, and let's be honest- a modern army could cut down even the best warriors from antiquity in a matter of minutes. Imagine a platoon of Marines chilling out in 300? Different fucking movie...

  • July 17, 2009, 10:48 a.m. CST

    Oh and EVERYONE involved in this Script Girl war- SHUT UP!

    by YackBacker

    I purposely do not go into the SG talkbacks so I don't have to hear both annoying sides on this shit. Y'all need to get a fucking new hobby.

  • July 17, 2009, 10:48 a.m. CST

    G.I Samurai

    by GetEveryone

    Is very much how this sounds. Still haven't watched any of that Sonny Chiba boxset. Beers and action, when I get my new flat it seems.

  • July 17, 2009, 10:53 a.m. CST

    That NeilF's a strange one isn't he?

    by Righteous Brother

    I personally never watch the script girl thing, though I am quite partial to breasts.

  • July 17, 2009, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Wildly fascinating material...?

    by Hint_of_Smegma

    Well, I like the optimism Merrick. Why do I have the feeling though that your hopes for an exciting yet intelligent and well thought out movie about the varying forms of competence in combat through the centuries in counterpoint to modern warfare will actually end up being discount-bin fodder that even Steven Seagal will be glad he didn't star in?

  • July 17, 2009, 10:55 a.m. CST

    No NeilF this weekend or any weekend.

    by savagedave

    Shouldn't this film be a Sci Fi channel original? If they cast Lorenzo Lamas I may see it.

  • July 17, 2009, 10:59 a.m. CST

    sounds like "deadliest warrior"

    by Toe Jam

    which was a pretty awesome show on spiketv. the best episode was "ira vs. taliban." not much anachronism there, but still very entertaining.

  • July 17, 2009, 10:59 a.m. CST

    I've seen this show it's called: Deadliest Warrior!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by crackerfarmboy

    Samurai beat Viking. Spartan beat Ninja. Should I go on?

  • July 17, 2009, 11 a.m. CST

    My money is on the guy with the gun..

    by Ironmuskrat

    The idea of warriors from different times fighting sounds bad ass on paper. But after watching series like Warriors or Deadliest Warrior on Spike, it's pretty evident that once you enter the gun powder era Knights,Vikings, and Spartans don't bring much to the table. <p> It could be a cool movie, but you sort to have to assume that a soldier with a assault rifle will kick the shit out of every warrior from the past. Unless they take away his rifle, in which case what is the point.

  • July 17, 2009, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Yeah, this sounds gimmicky, but they could make it cool

    by YackBacker

    If they had the modern soldiers split on engaging the historical armies, etc. Or if they were hired by someone with bad intentions, etc. There's a bunch of different ways you can create conflict here. But I'm with Merrick, show me some insane "what if?" warfare.

  • July 17, 2009, 11:03 a.m. CST

    deadliest warrior is a crime

    by thinboyslim.

    how can you air a show that pits The Taliban against The IRA to see who is the "best", unbelievably sick.

  • July 17, 2009, 11:03 a.m. CST

    "Warriors" and "Deadliest Warrior" are awesome fun.

    by Raymar

  • July 17, 2009, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Ironmuskrat, modern soldiers are not just about rifles

    by YackBacker

    Tactical training, survival training, etc. all favor the modern warrior. I think what would be cool is to see historical armies adapt in response to the modern soldiers' tactics. They would probably lose the formation marching all together after the first massacre. And then, they would resort to innovations on their own. I doubt this movie will go that far, but in a conceptual sense, I love this kind of shit.

  • July 17, 2009, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Not a Fan of Script Girl...

    by KosherWookie

    Because she just tries too hard and it shows. That said, kudos to Harry for the REAL ballsy call: No Yoko for the last month! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

  • July 17, 2009, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Battle with a Gorn?

    by Dasinfogod

    The flick sounds like it's being designed around an accompanying video game, eh?<p>As for the omnipresent whinings of NeilF, if you haven't noticed, ScriptGirl has apparently changed her release schedule to fortnightly, so your sensibilities and apparent misguided sense of possessive ownership of AICN likely won't be offended this weekend. Of course, the following weekend you'll have cause to stamp your wee li'l feet and hold your breath until you turn blue because of a hyperlink that nobody is forcing you to click.<p>Ass.

  • July 17, 2009, 11:17 a.m. CST

    I think a lot of soldiers from history would be in better...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...shape than we can imagine....just swinging a sword all day would be incredibly difficult even for a dedicated gym's just a different kind of work.

  • July 17, 2009, 11:18 a.m. CST

    That would be a good movie YackBacker

    by Ironmuskrat

    The scenario you describe sounds like much better movie then what was posted in the original article.

  • July 17, 2009, 11:19 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a Siffy Saturday Movie

    by decypher44

    This ounds really bad.

  • July 17, 2009, 11:20 a.m. CST

    My guess is that if you standardize the weapons...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...modern soldiers win against a tribal or individual combat type of warrior from history, but lose against one of the organized kick ass infantries like Romans or Greek Hoplites. That's my bet.

  • July 17, 2009, 11:20 a.m. CST

    Professor Wagstaff?!!!

    by JohnSpartan

  • July 17, 2009, 11:21 a.m. CST

    I don't like AICN showing ScriptGirl

    by D.Vader

    I couldn't care less about her. I just care about Harry showing her vids and pretending they're original content.

  • July 17, 2009, 11:27 a.m. CST

    Starring Reb Brown and Louie?

    by Mennen

  • July 17, 2009, 11:27 a.m. CST

    Wagstaff must surely be a flasher


    If not, it's a missed opportunity.

  • July 17, 2009, 11:28 a.m. CST

    will there be Gorns?

    by baba-lou2

    well? will there?

  • July 17, 2009, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Mortal Kombat Ripoff!

    by Dhaemon

  • July 17, 2009, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Deadliest Warrior is awesome!

    by Pops Freshemeyer

    Where else can you find the Taliban randomly running into the IRA at a junkyard? The whole Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner ending with the Taliban kid trapped on the bus while IRA guy laughs with the detonator is some of the greatest tv ever. Hell, I'm hoping they go with more historical figures putting up their dukes. Who wouldn't want to see Dick Marcinko vs Cliche Guevara? The Red Baron vs John McCain? Hulk Hogan vs Goliath?

  • July 17, 2009, 11:55 a.m. CST

    i liked this better the first time, when it was on Sega

    by jackknifed_juggernaut

    Genesis... and they called it Eternal Champions. but whatever. the battles should prove interesting once/if the modern-day soldiers run out of ammo. Feudal Japan's warriors ftw.

  • July 17, 2009, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Another no-name director

    by Logan_1973

    Gets a decent project. Where do they keep on finding these guys? <p> Am I the only one who thinks Bay would be perfect for this?

  • July 17, 2009, 12:08 p.m. CST

    but if they do go the historical figure route, then

    by jackknifed_juggernaut

    there *must* be some Hitler v Reginald VelJohnson action. it's pretty much essential.

  • July 17, 2009, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Bloodsport to the Future!

    by Shut the Fuck up Donny

  • July 17, 2009, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Who is this NeilF? It seems the banHammer has struck again!

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    lol <p> *pfft* then he was gone!

  • July 17, 2009, 12:25 p.m. CST


    by uberman

    I remember the cable show where they pitted hippo against croc and such. That stuff us sooooooo stupid. And the Warriors show, to show who would win. That is equally stupid. Sounds like something two 3rd grade boys would debate...but then, thats the audience.

  • July 17, 2009, 12:46 p.m. CST

    I thought that read "Never Cry Wolf" . . .

    by Royston Lodge

    . . . which would have been a REALLY strange credit on that guy's resume! LOL!

  • July 17, 2009, 12:49 p.m. CST


    by Alientoast

    You know Spartan warriors will be making an appearance. Conditioning wise, they would probably be among the best since they devoted their entire lives to that. However, modern armies would have the advantage of thousands of years of history to study. Of course, the twist in this movie will no doubt be that history was wrong!

  • July 17, 2009, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Hey, is Abe Lincoln and Captain Kirk in this?

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • July 17, 2009, 1:04 p.m. CST

    It's narrated by that guy from 300 and DEADLIEST WARRIOR

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • July 17, 2009, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Remember the video game TIMEKILLERS?

    by MrMysteryGuest

    Well, this is it!

  • July 17, 2009, 1:15 p.m. CST

    A semi rip-off of David Drakes "Ranks of Bronze"

    by Fred

  • July 17, 2009, 1:21 p.m. CST

    who cares if this is a ripoff just make it awesome

    by drturing

    a pit, filled with a samurai, a cowboy, a spartan, a caveman, and a Fedayeen. this shit writes itself.

  • July 17, 2009, 1:33 p.m. CST

    The Gorn would own everyone's ass.

    by classyfredblassy

    "captain kirk, surrender and die mercifully". What a badass. I don' even know if Kamala the Ugandan Giant could take him.

  • July 17, 2009, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Alientoast, I like your post

    by YackBacker

    That was a great little twist at the end. Cracked me up.

  • July 17, 2009, 1:55 p.m. CST

    MrMysteryGuest, that guy is David Wenham

    by krullboyisback

    of Faramir fame from LOTR

  • July 17, 2009, 1:58 p.m. CST

    So Far The Apache and The Ninja...

    by zinc_chameleon

    are tied for first place on 'Deadliest Warrior'. The Apache have the edge, because they don't need as many fancy tricks as do the Ninja.

  • July 17, 2009, 2:06 p.m. CST

    would be a short movie if the modern guys have rifles

    by HaterofCrap


  • July 17, 2009, 2:15 p.m. CST


    by classyfredblassy

    Is that Apache Chief from the Super Friends they are using? If so, that is not far, he can grow to 50 feet tall.

  • July 17, 2009, 2:34 p.m. CST

    Ring of Fire Series…

    by rxse7en

    by Eric Flint touched upon this concept. You can read the first book in the series for free here:

  • July 17, 2009, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Is this a remake

    by Series7

    Of the Timur Bagalvoickchnicoff film? The one he did before Nightwatch? With chicks?

  • July 17, 2009, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Three words, "Heroscape The Movie"

    by Geomancer21

    A better option anyway. Not just Vikings Vs Samurai, Or Navy Seals Vs Mongols, but then you get stuff like Dragons Vs Fighter Jets, Dinosaurs Vs Aliens, Cyborgs Vs Civil War Soldiers, Knights Vs Zombies, etc etc<BR><BR>If you are going to go with a story like that don't fuck around, go all out, make it big and epic and damned fun as hell.

  • July 17, 2009, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Ripoff of Pournelle's "Tran"

    by ravenloff relation to Tron. Every few hundred years, aliens show up on Earth and take a bunch of soliders off with them. The last batch are a group of CIA-hire mercs. Already on the planet in question for a few hundred years are Romans, Medieval types, an swarms of white, blonde Apache types out on the plains. The aliens were using them to grow alien narcotics and the whole planet is rigged to blow if they're ever discovered...of course the humans have their own plans... Now that's a movie I'd like to see

  • July 17, 2009, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Good script

    by Darth Fart

    I read the draft that sold. It was entertaining but needed some work. I can't wait to read it again.

  • July 17, 2009, 6:02 p.m. CST

    old sf short story

    by Philo

  • July 17, 2009, 6:06 p.m. CST

    Depends on ammunition

    by David Cloverfield

    and the terrain. If it's an ARENA as the title says, and there's no sufficient cover, our soldiers will get some arrows in their throats before they could reload.

  • July 17, 2009, 6:35 p.m. CST

    Anyone remember TIME BANDITS?

    by Logan_1973

    Just wanted to throw that in there. GREAT movie.

  • July 17, 2009, 6:37 p.m. CST

    Heroscape: The Movie

    by johnnysunshine


  • July 17, 2009, 6:44 p.m. CST

    Hitler v Reginald VelJohnson

    by finky089


  • July 17, 2009, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Let's see Time Bandits vs Ice Pirates

    by finky089

  • July 17, 2009, 10:15 p.m. CST

    Another remake?

    by ShabbyBlue

    Sounds a lot like that Star Trek TOS episode with Lincoln and Atilla the Hun.

  • July 17, 2009, 10:21 p.m. CST

    Ancient vrs. Modern

    by Hipshot

    Modern weaponry and armor would be too much an advantage. There will have to be some kind of leveler. My guess is that we have advantages in some arenas, disadvantages in others. Be interesting to compare hand-to-hand, that's for sure.

  • July 17, 2009, 10:33 p.m. CST


    by lockesbrokenleg

    Kirk and Spock and Abraham Lincoln.

  • July 18, 2009, 3:38 a.m. CST

    Fredric Brown

    by conbarba

    well, this looks like is coming straight from the short story ARENA by Fredric Brown, story that was the originator of that Star Trek episode.

  • July 18, 2009, 4:16 a.m. CST

    Future Warrior sneezes on tissue, flings it

    by Dingbatty

    at Past Warrior, defeating PW with his microbes to which PW has no immunity. The End.

  • July 18, 2009, 4:28 a.m. CST

    Well since Wesley Snipes always bets on black

    by Gerriatrix

    He would put his money on the Zulus.

  • July 18, 2009, 11:17 a.m. CST

    "Do the Astronauts have weapons?"

    by StatelyWayneManor

    Y'know...Astronauts vs Cavemen? From Angel? Nevermind.

  • July 18, 2009, 12:11 p.m. CST

    where do weekend warriors fit into this movie?

    by crazybubba

    a bunch of old guys with potbellies wearing chuck taylors and trying to recapture those glory days.

  • July 18, 2009, 6:53 p.m. CST

    just do a STARGATE movie!

    by dioxholster

    or i'll trash ur lights!

  • July 18, 2009, 7 p.m. CST


    by lynxpro

    Hey Hollywood, stop poaching Classic Doctor Who and come up with something new.

  • July 19, 2009, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Spike TV's IRA vs Taliban

    by Blast_Hardcheese

    They made that one to be funny on purpose. No American TV show is going to show the Taliban win anything, even if it is a victory over another terrorist group. That part where the IRA guy blew up the bus with the Taliban on it was hilarious. Or when the IRA guy jumped out of the way and the Taliban blew up another Taliban with an RPG.

  • July 19, 2009, 10:44 a.m. CST

    mongols vs. ticonderoga..

    by nolan bautista

    the Pencil Wars!!

  • July 19, 2009, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Tidal Wave vs. Tornado..

    by nolan bautista

    ..the Climate Conflicts

  • July 19, 2009, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Ebola vs. Aids

    by nolan bautista

    they become friends and team up about halfway into the movie to combat elephantitis

  • July 19, 2009, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Rob Cohen's Medieval

    by Super Rabbi

    What's the difference? Sounds like the same movie.

  • July 19, 2009, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Fun script.

    by MaxTheSilent

    But waaaay too expensive to give to a hack like the NEVER BACK DOWN guy.

  • July 20, 2009, 6 a.m. CST


    by The Amazing G

    that actually sounds pretty cool, color me interested

  • July 20, 2009, 10:37 a.m. CST

    I was gonna mention Troughton's Dr. Who...

    by Damned if I can login

    ...but lynxpro beat me to it, dadblast it. But I'll say it again:<p>Done already in the late 60's! The War Games, Troughton's final story as the Doctor (not counting reunions, etc).

  • July 20, 2009, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Thanks, krullboyisback...

    by MrMysteryGuest

    I forgot David Wenham's name. :)

  • July 20, 2009, 5:09 p.m. CST

    Never Cry Wolf

    by Shitzngiggs

    was a fucking great movie. No studio would dare make a movie like that now. By the way, Hitler vs. Reginald VelJohnson, very funny to see.

  • July 20, 2009, 5:09 p.m. CST

    Never Cry Wolf

    by Shitzngiggs

    was a fucking great movie. No studio would dare make a movie like that now. By the way, Hitler vs. Reginald VelJohnson, very funny to see.