As Riggan Thomson in Birdman, Michael Keaton fought to uphold his artistic scruples in the face of the encroaching, brain-dead homogeneity of the comic-book film. He has been rewarded for his creative crusade with the highest honor any actor can receive: a role in a comic-book film. In what must feel like a complete abandonment of the thespian’s integrity that made Birdman one-and-a-half stars’ worth of genius, Keaton has agreed to take on the lead role in a cinematic adaptation of Boom! Comics staple book Imagine Agents. If Riggan could see Keaton now, he’d hang his head in sorrow. Then, he’d probably dump on Twitter and jump off a building.
THR notes that Fox only recently acquired the rights to the indie comic book from Brian Joines and artist Bachan, and has yet to find a scribe to translate the concept to the screen. But they’ve got Keaton in place as star and producer, and the film should make a fine complement to Fox’s slated adaptation of the hilarious, righteous Lumberjanes, another Boom! property. Imagine Agents centers on a fictitious organization called I.M.A.G.I.N.E., an agency responsible for handling and controlling children’s imaginary friends. The childhood playmates are all too real, it turns out, and they’re not all as friendly and selfless as Inside Out’s Bing Bong. In classic Men In Black fashion, the comic pairs a 20-year squad veteran with a young archivist. As the elder shows his new charge the ropes of the job, what should be an average day becomes far more dangerous.
It certainly sounds like an enticing concept, though it could go one of two ways. THR makes the Men In Black comparison, an association that studio executives are likely eager to promote. But Imagine Agents could just as easily turn out like the much-reviled RIPD, another comic-book adaptation based on a secret paranormal peacekeeping society with an unwieldy acronym. But this property is completely different from both of those! Men In Black had aliens, RIPD had ghosts, and now Imagine Agents has imaginary friends. Those first two things are real, and that last one is fake.