Writer/director Frank Miller has cast Gabriel Macht (THE GOOD SHEPHERD, upcoming WHITEOUT) as the title character in WILL EISNER'S THE SPIRIT, reports VARIETY. Lionsgate and Odd Lot Ent. are co-funding the film, which starts shooting in October, eyeing a 2009 release. Odd Lot heads Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete are the producers along with Batfilm Prods.' Michael Uslan.
Additionally, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group has purchased international rights in France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia and various locations in Latin America from Odd Lot. In addition to the U.S., Lionsgate also holds rights in the U.K.
THE SPIRIT is comic legend Will Eisner's story of a masked detective believed to be dead and operating out of a mausoleum, fighting crime in the dark shadows of Central City with his fists, cunning and ingenious forms of punishment. Samuel L. Jackson will play the villain Octopus, a meek lab assistant who becomes a murderous crime kingpin in Central City.
Eisner's character first appeared in 1940 and ran as a comic strip for decades, many of which have been collected and reprinted in hardcover form by DC Comics in recent years.