Fifth Season Sets ‘Button Man’; ‘The Fall Guy’s David Leitch & Kelly McCormick In Talks To Turn Famed John Wagner Graphic Novel Into TV Series

EXCLUSIVE: As they open The Fall Guy, a TV series-turned-feature, director David Leitch and his 87North producing partner Kelly McCormick are eyeing a beloved graphic novel for a TV series.

Fifth Season has acquired Button Man, an adaptation of the graphic novel by John Wagner, who co-created Judge Dredd and created A History of Violence, latter of which was turned into a terrific action film by David Cronenberg. The graphic novel was illustrated by Arthur Ranson.

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Deals are making, but the plan is for Leitch to direct, and he and McCormick will be executive producers alongside Alex Jackson, Roger Kass, Dan Seligmann, and Wagner and Ranson.

While The Fall Guy plays as comedy, Button Man shapes up closer in tone to John Wick, the first installment of which Leitch co-directed with Chad Stahelski.

Button Man focuses on Harry Exton, a former elite soldier who is brought into a covert life and death game that involves other elite killers battling each other. Sometimes the match ends with the winner walking away with two severed fingers of their opponent, but other times it ends when one Button Man is killed. The pay is huge and draws in the elite soldiers and mercenaries who otherwise have no useful employment opportunities for their great skills.

These games are covertly waged for the pleasure of “Voices,” wildly wealthy folks who bankroll their Button Men and pit them against other elites who are sponsored by super wealthy friends. Exton thrives in this arena, but when he decides to hang it up, his Voice backer won’t hear of it. Exton finds himself the hunted, and he decides to turn the tables and figure out who his Voice is, and kill him. Even that might not end his days as quarry. It strays into A History of Violence territory when Exton tries to disappear into a normal life. Trouble is, his exploits have made him an ultimate trophy target.

Button Man once had Nic Refn planning to make it, back when he was coming off Drive. Later, Brian Helgeland tried it. The project started at DreamWorks and then was at Netflix. Now, they are looking for a high end writer to draft it before Fifth Season shops a series that will give Leitch, McCormick and 87North a new outlet for the stunts and action they are so good at.

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