Sgt. Rock, a long-gestating movie project based on the DC Comics World War II hero, is moving forward -- by going into the future.

Sgt. Frank Rock was the leader of his infantry unit, Easy Company. He first appeared in a 1959 issue of Our Army at War. In 1977, the comic was renamed Sgt. Rock and ran until 1988.

Until now, the feature version has retained its World War II setting, with producer Joel Silver and Warner Bros. trying to make a big-budget action adventure movie that was a throwback to flicks like The Dirty Dozen, which feature acts of American derring-do.

But a big budget always was an obstacle and, Inglourious Basterds notwithstanding, period war movies have not been in vogue in Hollywood for years, unless it was a more serious contemplation of the subject like Saving Private Ryan.

Also, American jingoism went out of style after 9/11; even this summer's G.I. Joe movie dropped the toy's A Real American Hero tagline and made the action team internationally focused.

The studio hopes moving the time period to the future solves the dilemma. Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) is attached to direct the film, which has been in development for nearly 20 years. Chad St. John will write the script.

Guy Ritchie most recently was attached to Sgt. Rock, having worked on the script he was attached to direct. He has moved on to work with Silver on DC Comics' anti-hero pic Lobo.