Sony Pictures’ long-in-the-works adaptation of the short film Pixels is finally moving towards a production start. The studio teamed up with Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company to adapt Patrick Jean’s short film of the same name three years ago, but movement on the video game-themed project has been slow. Now, after setting family friendly filmmaker Chris Columbus (Harry Potter 1 and 2) to direct last year, Josh Gad and Kevin James are in line to possibly lead the pic as champion arcade gamers who are needed to help defeat alien attacks who have an affinity for 80s arcade games. Hit the jump for more, including the original short.
[Update: The Wrap adds that Sandler will also be leading the cast of Pixels with Jennifer Aniston in the mix for the female lead, though scheduling may ultimately prevent her from signing on.]
Deadline reports that Gad and James are in early talks to star in Pixels as the film gears up to finally go in front of cameras this summer, though this is still an early stage as schedules need to be worked out. Scripted by Tim Herlihy (Happy Gilmore) and Tim Dowling (Just Go With It), the story kicks into gear when aliens attack Earth by staging versions of classic 80s video games like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and Frogger. The world’s only hope is to recruit champion arcade gamers to help defeat our 8-bit loving overlords.
The short film is quite fun, but it’s clear that Sony has had trouble turning it into a feature. Sandler looks to have a heavy hand in development by enlisting his longtime collaborator Herlihy to pen the screenplay and now casting James, but Gad has showed great promise in his recent roles so hopefully Columbus puts together a fun adventure pic. There’s no release date just yet (Sony prematurely had the film slated for 2013 and 2014 before hiring a director), but this will likely be a visual effects-heavy effort so a holiday 2015 release date feels like the earliest Pixels might hit theaters. Watch Jean’s short film below.