Cate Blanchett to star in a movie adaptation of The Champions

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The film, based on the 1960s ITC show, will be directed by Ben Stiller, who will also co-star. 

Cult classic series The Champions, originally made by Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment, is getting the big screen treatment.

The Champions followed the exploits of a spy team who gain special abilities when their plane crashes in the Himalayas and they are rescued by a secret Tibetan civilisation. The trio, Craig Stirling (Stuart Damon), Sharron Macready (Alexandra Bastedo) and Richard Barrett (Willian Gaunt) gain telepathy, as well as enhanced physical and mental skills. Equipped with these new abilities, they go on to defeat villains who threaten world peace. The show originally ran for thirty episodes, between September 1968 and April 1969,

Talking about the project and her director/co-star, Cate Blanchett said:

“‘Champions” is a long-forgotten gem that will excite a new generation in the same strange and magnificent way that the original series spoke to us. I’ve long wanted to work with Ben — the director and the actor. He is one of the most engaged and versatile directors working today. Anyone who can make both ‘Zoolander’ and ‘Escape at Dannemora’ is a creative force to be reckoned with.

Blanchett’s Dirty Films and Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Productions are producing the new movie. Additional producers include ITV Studios America and New Republic Pictures.

Cult Connections

Created by Doctor Who writer and script editor Dennis Spooner, The Champions had plenty of familiar cult names on the writing staff; Terry Nation, Ian Stuart Black (Doctor Who) and Brian Clemens (The Avengers) all penned scripts. The show has enjoyed recent re-runs on both Talking Pictures and ITV4.

Previous names linked to movie adaptations of The Champions, in reports from the late 2000s, include Guillermo del Toro and Christopher McQuarrie.

Natutally, CultBox will keep you posted on the movie as it progresses. In the meantime, if you fancy a taste of the original, here’s a wry little trailer from its recent Talking Pictures debut: