Weta gets involved in the Band of Brothers meets Hellboy film: Panzer 88

Weta has brought Middle Earth as well as District 9's alien slums to life, and now they want to help make a World War II horror film, Panzer 88. A German tank crew falls afoul of a supernatural war beast.

There's not a ton of information about Panzer 88 yet, but what is known is intriguing enough to drum up geek press nationwide. Besides the fact that the movie is basically a supernatural WWII film, the talent behind this picture is interesting all on its own.

Gary Kurtz, the producer of the first two — and best — Star Wars films, is producing the project with director Peter Briggs (screenwriter, Hellboy). And that's not all the latest news. The L.A. Times is reporting that the two are being joined by Weta's Richard Taylor. So yes, the concept art that you see above might actually resemble the finished product. Which would be amazing.

The LA Times also got a chance to sit down with the legendary producer Kurtz and talk about why he wanted to make this WWII horror movie a reality. In the interview he calls Panzer 88 a "spooky wartime adventure," saying: "It's a visceral, reality-based story with horror overtones, and the idea is to have be like the best of the graphic novels these days."

Director Briggs shared more on the actual plot. Thankfully he's aware that he's already tread the "WWII with monsters" territory in Hellboy, and is aware that this time it will have to be different. And from the way he tells it, it sounds much more visceral.

"Our military aspects are more realistic, and mostly akin to the claustrophobic action and tension of 'Das Boot.' We're aiming to do for the tank genre what 'Hunt For Red October' and 'Crimson Tide' did for submarine flicks. Only, with a supernatural twist. We're upping the ante with visuals, equipment, and scenes that have never been seen in a World War II milieu. In retrospect, it's strange nobody's thought to do this in quite this way before..."

It seems like a good sign that the whole crew seems hell-bent on making a quality $20 million budget film as opposed to a gawdy tent-pole 3D feature. But as of right now Panzer 88 is still just in pre-production. More awesome concept art at the link. [L.A. Times]