Jon M. Chu in negotiations to direct He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

It would appear that filmmaker Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never) has a bit of a thing for 80s action figures… Fresh from directing the action sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation – which of course has been pushed back nine months from its original June 2012 release date to allow for 3D post-conversation (and the alleged addition of more scenes featuring Channing Tatum) – Deadline is now reporting that Chu has entered negotiations with Sony Pictures and Escape Artists to helm the long-gestating live-action Masters of the Universe adaptation.

Created by Mattel way back in 1982, the Masters of the Universe toy-line was popularised by the Filmation cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, which ran for 130 episodes between 1983 and 1985. In 1987, Cannon Films produced the live-action movie adaptation Masters of the Universe, which starred Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables 2) in the lead role as He-Man and Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) as his arch-nemesis Skeletor, but the film was poorly received by fans and critics and failed to recoup its $22m budget at the box-office.

Plans for a Masters of the Universe reboot can be traced back to 2007, with the project passing through the hands of producer Joel Silver (Bullet to the Head) and director John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda) before landing at Sony in 2009. The latest script, which was written under the working title of Grayskull, has been penned by Alex Litvak (The Three Musketeers) and Mike Finch (Exclusively Yours), and the film is set to be produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch, whose recent credits include Seven Pounds, Knowing and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.

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