The Spy Vs. Spy movie is finally moving forward with Rawson Marshall Thurber attached to direct. Warner Bros. hired the Central Intelligence director to take over the project. This will be a live-action adaptation of MAD Magazine’s Spy vs. Spy cartoon strip, which has been in development for well over a decade now.
Ron Howard was previously attached to direct back in 2011 from a screenplay by John Kamps. Brian Grazer and David Koepp were set to produce, but the project stalled.
With Rawson Marshall Thurber on board as director, Spy vs. Spy will be produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. One has to wonder if Dwayne Johnson will sign on next. The pair have made three hit movies together, including Central Intelligence, Skyscraper and Netflix’s upcoming Red Notice. So, will The Rock play one of the Spies?
In addition to directing, it is believed that Thurber will be writing the screenplay too. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn recently revealed that he wrote a script for the movie back in the late 1990s, which had Austin Powers director Jay Roach on board to helm. That iteration of the movie obviously did not make it past the development stage either.
Spy vs. Spy was created by Cuban expatriate cartoonist Antonio Prohías, who was looking to make a comic strip parodying the political ideologies of the Cold War. It debuted in MAD Magazine #60 in 1961. Prohías wrote the comic strip until the #269 issue (March 1987) and was only censored by the magazine one time for having the characters drinking and smoking. From there, Duck Edwing and artist Bob Clarke took over until 1997 when Peter Kuper started writing and drawing out the iconic strip.
Spy vs. Spy features two agents who are involved in stereotypical and humorous espionage activities. One of the agents is dressed in white, and the other is in black. Other than that, they are pretty much identical, each known for their long, beaklike heads and hats. They are always at war with each other, using a variety of booby-traps to inflict harm on the other one. The two agents were well ahead of Itchy and Scratchy from The Simpsons, who were more influenced by the early violence of the Looney Tunes cartoons. With that being said, the outcomes are usually similar, though not has violent and over the top for Spy vs. Spy.
In addition to appearing in MAD Magazine over the years, Spy vs. Spy popped up in a Sunday morning comic strip and have appeared in numerous video games over the years. Cartoon Network’s animated series Mad, which ran from September 6th, 2010 to December 2nd, 2013, featured a Spy vs. Spy skit in every episode. There are 103 of them in total with both spies claiming victory 51 times and one instance resulting in a draw. As for who will play these two iconic characters on the big screen, that is a mystery at the moment. Hopefully will find out some more information in the coming months. Collider was the first to announce the Spy vs. Spy movie news.
I believe I wrote that screenplay. Jay Roach was attached to direct. I wrote it more thinking Nic Cage/Eddie Murphy – never heard this pairing. Script was outrageous & never made, but it’s what got me most of the studio work that followed & why Warners asked me to do Scooby-Doo. https://t.co/S5wjmozDI5
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) April 29, 2020