A long-lost movie starring Mark Hamill is emerging from the vaults later this year. Variety reports that the 2013 action-comedy Virtually Heroes, which was an official selection at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, but subsequently failed to find a distributor, has been acquired by distribution company Screen Media.
The film was executive produced by legendary Hollywood B-movie producer/director Roger Corman, who is no stranger to unreleased films – Marvel fans may remember his famously-unreleased 1994 Fantastic Four movie. A statement by Screen Media describes the picture as “a perfect blend of action and campy, tongue-in-cheek comedy, and will be sure to delight viewers – whether this is their first foray into the world of Roger Corman or fiftieth.”
The film’s premise, which mirrors that of last year’s Ryan Reynolds hit Free Guy, centers around two characters in a military video game, à la Call of Duty, who become aware of their virtual nature and attempt to break the endless cycle of their lives by winning love and the game. Helping them in this task is Hamill, playing a wise monk in a role that precedes his turn as an aged Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Executive producer Corman is responsible for cult classics like Death Race 2000, Rock’n’Roll High School, and the original Little Shop of Horrors. Famous for consistently delivering films on-time and under-budget, Corman‘s eye for talent is also notable, as he often hired up-and-coming young filmmakers to helm his projects; Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and James Cameron are only a handful of the prominent directors whose careers Corman helped launch. Still only “semi-retired” at age 96, Corman continues to work on new projects.
Virtually Heroes was directed and produced by GJ Echternkamp, who also wrote and directed Corman‘s Death Race 2050; in addition to Hamill, the movie also stars Robert Baker (Supergirl‘s Otis Graves), Brent Chase (Animal Kingdom), and Katie Savoy (Sequestered). Reviews of the movie from its Sundance premiere in 2013 note that it reuses footage from a number of Roger Corman-produced war movies. The legendarily budget-minded Corman is not shy about making use of his vast film library by recycling footage from his past films. Director Peter Bogdanovich‘s acclaimed feature debut, Targets, was built around reused clips from the Jack Nicholson–Boris Karloff horror film The Terror.
Virtually Heroes will be released in theaters and digitally in December, with a streaming release on Popcornflix, a Crackle Plus platform, to follow in February 2023.