XIII: The Conspiracy

While looking up some other comic book movie connections in A History of Violence, I stumbled across the fact that a XIII mini-series is in the works. If you're not familiar with it, that's the Belgian comic that the Ubisoft game is based on. Don't know why this is so under the radar (unless it's because it's not a done deal - though that never seems to stop anyone), but after a little hunting, and translating of French web pages, I finally came across some information.

The series is called XIII: The Conspiracy (even if you Google that, there are only 20 hits: second-hand news sources, foreign-language web pages, and the text of a book with a 13th chapter that starts out "The conspiracy..."). The mini is slated to be in production right now, starring Stephen Dorff (as XIII) and Val Kilmer (as Mongoose). The best information came from the British production company Power, which seems to be one of the companies involved in making the XIII mini-series. Here's their October 2007 story. Unfortunately, Google must not crawl their sites - I had to translate a French blog to find this (my French isn't that good - I had to use the Google translator).

The series starts out like the game (and I'm assuming the comic). XIII washes up on the beach with amnesia, only to find out he's being hunted for the assassination of the president. Judging from the cult following, it makes for a great comic book; from personal experience, it makes for an amazing game. If you don't know the story, here's a more complete synopsis of the adaptation from Power's page:

XIII: The Conspiracy opens with the assassination of the first female US President Sally Sheridan who is shot dead by a sniper during her Independence Day speech. Her assassin narrowly escapes the scene with his life, national security hot on his heels – or so it seems.

Three months later, an elderly couple discover the body of a wounded man washed up on a beach. The young man (Stephen Dorff) cannot remember the slightest thing about his own identity. The only clue is a tattoo on his neck, “XIII.” Meanwhile, in the Whitehouse, government intelligence is still conducting the search for the President’s killer. With the elections just weeks away, a confirmed suspect could swing the vote for the administration. Hours after XIII’s location is picked up by covert intelligence, elite special ops forces are swarming the couple’s house in Cape Fear. Running on adrenaline and instinct, XIII tactically takes out the soldiers one by one. Is this who he is – a killer?

On the run, clinging to one desperate clue after another, XIII begins to piece back his life, fragments of his memory returning. Finally captured, he learns that he has been given a stolen identity and placed undercover to flush out a group of conspirators threatening to overthrow the government. Ensconced within the highest echelons of power the conspirators run their own security agency alongside the Government’s. Both are out to find him.

The only way for XIII to get his own life back is to play bait. A dangerous game, especially when you don’t know who you really are.

The official IMDB page lists a number of actors attached to the series (including Greg Bryk from History of Violence), but doesn't include Dorff and Kilmer.

If anyone has any more current info, I'd love to hear about it.


Lisa said...

Dear Jim - here's the start of production release that was sent out yesterday (today is first day of principal photography)

Prodigy Pictures and Cipango Announce
Start of Principal Photography on the
Miniseries "XIII"

- Starring Stephen Dorff, Caterina Murino
and Val Kilmer -

Toronto, ON (November 19, 2007) — Prodigy Pictures and Cipango, in association with Power, have announced that principal photography will begin November 20, 2007 on the miniseries “XIII.” The $20-million, four-hour, two-part miniseries stars Stephen Dorff (World Trade Center, Blade), Caterina Murino (Casino Royale, L’Amour aux Trousses), Jessalyn Gilsig (Nip/Tuck, Heroes), Stephen McHattie (300, A History of Violence) and Val Kilmer (The Saint, Batman). Based on the 1984 Franco-Belgian cult comic book series XIII written by Jean Van Hamme and drawn by William Vance, and later adapted into a video game, the action-packed miniseries is written by David Wolkove (La Femme Nikita, Relic Hunter) and Philippe Lyon (The Trail, Alive) and will be directed by Duane Clark (CSI, Meadowlands). “XIII” will shoot in Hamilton and Toronto, Ontario through January 30, 2008.

The political thriller opens with the assassination of the President of the United States during her Veterans’ Day speech. Three months later, with the case still unsolved, a young man (Stephen Dorff) is found unconscious in the woods. Suffering from amnesia, a tattoo of the Roman numeral “XIII” his only clue, he soon finds himself on the run, not only from government agents and the police, but also from the determined mercenary “Mongoose” (Val Kilmer), and his men. Shocked to learn he is being accused of assassinating the President, a high stakes game of suspense, intrigue and action unfolds as XIII attempts to stay alive, uncover the real conspirators, and discover his true identity.

“XIII” will also star Ingrid Hart (Saw IV, The Summit), Jonathan Higgins (The Dresden Files, Housesitter), Ted Atherton (Hollywoodland, Sue Thomas F.B. Eye), Greg Bryk (The Incredible Hulk, Poor Boy’s Game) and Mimi Kuzyk (The Day After Tomorrow, The Human Stain).

“We have been developing this project with Cipango and the support of Canal Plus and M6 for a number of years and are extremely excited to finally bring it to fruition with such an incredible script, a fantastic director and talented cast,” said Prodigy’s founder, Jay Firestone.

Executive producer Edouard de Vésinne, who also co-produced “Largo Winch: The Heir” based on another Van Hamme graphic novel, commented: “XIII has been the most successful cult novel in France and French-speaking countries for 20 years which is why we are both proud and thrilled to begin principal photography, bringing to life the character created by Jean Van Hamme and William Vance.”

"I am delighted that Power, together with our production partners, is able to bring a story which has already achieved cult status in other formats to global television screens for the first time, particularly with such ambition, a stellar cast and a terrific director," said Power's CEO, Justin Bodle.

Prodigy Pictures’ Jay Firestone, Cipango’s Edouard de Vésinne and Thomas Anargyros and Power’s Justin Bodle serve as Executive Producers. Additional production credits include Co-Executive Producer Peter M. Lenkov, Producers Ken Gord and Frédéric Burneel, Associate Producers Zenon Yunko and Alexia de Beauvoir and a talented group of key creative department heads including Director of Photography David Greene, Production Designer Craig Lathrop, Costume Designer Anne Dixon and Editor Yann Hervé.

“XIII” is an official Canada/France co-production, developed and produced by Prodigy Pictures and Cipango in association with Power. Prodigy holds North American distribution rights and international distribution rights are retained by Power.


Jim said...

Thanks, Lisa - I'm glad to hear it's in production. It was hard to find anything out on-line.