Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Panda director 'for He-Man movie'

Dolph Lungdren
Dolph Lungdren starred as He-Man in a 1987 version of the film

Kung Fu Panda director John Stevenson is to direct Masters of the Universe, a live-action version of the hit 1980s cartoon He-Man, according to reports.

Action film producer Joel Silver will work on the film with Warner Brothers and toy company Mattel, Variety said.

The hero was previously turned into a film in 1987 with Dolph Lungdren as He-Man and Frost/Nixon star Frank Langella as the villainous Skeletor.

He-Man tells of a prince who transforms into a warrior to defend his planet.

The cartoon, also made in partnership with Mattel, was known for the image of blond-haired Prince Adam on top of a mountain uttering the magic words, "by the power of Grayskull, I have the power," and turning into the heroic He-Man.

He-Man and his allies, Battle Cat, Man-at-Arms and Orko defended their planet Eternia from the evil forces of Skeletor, who tried week after week to conquer Castle Grayskull, which gave He-Man his powers.

It is thought the script to the new film will feature more gritty fantasy and re-imagines Adam as a soldier who sets off to find his destiny, happening upon magical world called Eternia.

There, a being called Skeletor raises a technological army and is bent on eradicating all traces of magic.

The 1987 film flopped at the box office and was nominated for a Razzie, the mock awards given to the worst movies of the year.

It is the latest toy to have been given a big-screen outing, following the success of Transformers.

A Transformers sequel is due for release this summer and GI Joe and Hot Wheels films are also to hit cinemas.

Stevenson received an Oscar nomination for Kung Fu Panda, which he co-directed with Mark Osborne.

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