Former Superman D.J. Cotrona on Canceled ‘Justice League’ Movie

Published 2 years ago by

DJ Cotrona Superman Justice League Former Superman D.J. Cotrona on Canceled Justice League Movie

For months, DC comic book fans and superhero movie lovers have been speculating about Warner Bros.’ planned Justice League movie – even though the studio has not offered a single official piece of information. Rumors and “reports” from insider sources regularly contradict one another – making it hard to know whether Warner Bros. is quietly lining up pieces for one of the biggest movie productions in history (produced by Christopher Nolan, directed by Zach Snyder, and starring Christian Bale as well as Henry Cavill) or simply sitting on their hands (waiting on Man of Steel returns and a possible Batman reboot).

Either way, no matter which reports are more plausible at the moment, fans should be cautious before counting their potential Justice League members – since this isn’t even the first time that Warner Bros. has attempted a JLA film. Long before The Avengers made shared-universe superhero team-ups the next big thing in Hollywood, George Miller was attached to direct a live-action Justice League movie, lining-up a tentative cast and starting pre-production design work with Weta Workshop, before the project was canceled.

The cancelation came as a major blow to DC faithfuls who had been eagerly following the production but no one was more disappointed than Miller’s choice for Superman, D.J. Cotrona. Last year, during a group interview on the set of Cotrona’s next film, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the actor discussed the ups and downs of his short-lived Justice League experience – asserting that Miller’s film would have been “incredible” and delivered “Lord of the Rings scale.”

That was a long slog. We were playing with that for about a year. That was during the writer’s strike time and it started and it stopped. That was a big bummer. I was really, really excited to work with George Miller and the script was really, really good. The stuff that Weta was doing was amazing. It’s just a shame that we didn’t get to finish that because it was going to be really, really cool […] It was a damn shame that we didn’t get to finish that. I promise you that it would have been amazing. It would have been incredible. The scale of this was fantastical. It was a Lord of the Rings scale. It would have been really cool.

Man of Steel Justice League movie Connections Former Superman D.J. Cotrona on Canceled Justice League Movie

In addition to Cotrona, Miller’s Justice League movie was expected to include Armie Hammer as Batman, Adam Brody (The O.C.) as the Barry Allen version of The Flash, Common (Hell on Wheels) as the John Stewart Green Lantern, Hugh Keays-Byrne (Mad Max: Fury Road) as The Martian Manhunter, model Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, and Santiago Cabrera (Merlin) as Aquaman.

Understandably, as anyone who follows pre-production casting reports knows, reaction to the choices was polarized – moviegoers celebrated or derided the entire team of potential talent while other fans supported certain cast members and condemned others. The back and forth threw the young actors into a very critical and public spotlight – only to see their superhero costumes unceremoniously yanked away.

Cotrona remains humbled by the experience – though it’s clear that he still laments not having a shot at playing one of the most iconic heroes in pop culture history:

Everybody in this business has seen that. For every project they have that goes, they have like five skeletons in their closet. Or a bloody corpse of something that never happened. I’m just excited — there’s so many elements that go into making a big film and so many elements that can go wrong along the way. I’ve learned that intimately. I’m just happy to get this one [G.I. Joe: Retaliation] to the finish line. I do now have this kneejerk reaction where, until I see it, I’m not believing anything. I’m just kind of halfway expecting the plug to be pulled every day. But yeah, it’s been great. I did the Justice League thing the wrong way. I read too much on the internet. You can’t do that. The internet is the devil. Or the internet is not the devil, the comment boards are the devil. Believe me, I’ve been on the opposite side on there, too saying, “You can’t let that guy be that character!” But really [in the case of Justice League] it was Weta, Weta, Weta, Weta, Weta. They are amazing and they can make anybody look like anything.

Justice League Alex Ross Former Superman D.J. Cotrona on Canceled Justice League Movie

Weta Workshop’s involvement in Miller’s Justice League attempt remains one of the most interesting and talked-about elements of the project. The prop house has been responsible for imaginative (and iconic) costumes and physical creations in numerous fan-favotire productions, including: Avatar, District 9, as well as the Lord of the Rings series. As indicated by Cotrona, the pre-production Justice League costume designs were reportedly pretty impressive and could have translated into captivating onscreen action – especially if Weta Digital, responsible for creating CG creatures Gollum (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) and Caesar (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), among countless others, delivered the film’s visual effects.

Of course, a great effects team, and grand Lord of the Rings scale, doesn’t necessarily translate into a worthwhile film experience – and it’s unclear exactly what caused Warner Bros. to lose faith in Miller’s Justice League film. No doubt, there was enormous pressure on the project from the outset, and the WGA Writer’s Strike stalled some of the movie’s momentum but 2008 also saw the launch of the Marvel cinematic shared universe – with the release of both Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Maybe the studio decided that they weren’t ready to place the future potential of their headlining superhero stable in the hands of one director in a single film – especially a film that was reportedly set to cost $300 million?

Regardless, hopefully the decision to pull-back was in service of a better JLA experience in the future (aided by DC’s New 52 reboot) but, even if the next Justice League project is actually filmed and delivers on all expectations, there’s no doubt that some viewers will still be morbidly curious about what Miller and Weta had up their sleeves.

DJ Cotrona Flint GI Joe Retaliation Former Superman D.J. Cotrona on Canceled Justice League Movie

We’ll be posting a full interview with D.J. Cotrona in the coming days – where he discusses his role as Flint in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. However, in the meantime, check out our full Retaliation set-visit report and check out our Justice League news archive for the latest DC superhero team-up rumors.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation releases on March 28, 2013.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Justice League and G.I. Joe: Retaliation as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
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  1. I’m sorry but people are complaining that Cavill isn’t American but at least he looks the part. This guy is very Hispanic looking and a Hispanic superman omg fans would flip. Not to mention probably not even bother seeing the film despite how good it might be. Bad casting alone can reuin a film and a Hispanic superman=box office bomb.

    • true. please dont think me racist, but if a iconic character has been represented as being of one race for decades, it seems a bad policy to change it to acommodate an acter’s tallent.

      example: will smith as superman. he turned it down, and went on to star in hancock…similar,and just as fun.

      likewise, Idris Elba as 007

      • The difference between Superman and Bond is huge. Bond is a codename for an agent. Not a person. Where Superman is a person.

        • No actually they revealed in the last movie that Bond was his actual name.

      • There is no difference in Bond or Superman. Both of them are fictional (made up) non realistic character. If it upsets you if they would change the race of a fictional unrealistic character then you are a racist.

    • Agreed.

      It’s taken awhile but I do believe we finally have a fine actor to play Superman. Cavill is certainly dedicated.

      Idris as Jon Stewart/ Green Lantern!

    • Matt or any idio fans remember: Superman is from another planet he can be Asian, spain, from america or any other part of the planet so make your mind clear about aliens movies he can be only one he can be just the man of steel

    • I think he would have been fine as Superman. I wish there was a book containing all the failed Superman/JLA projects, including pictures and sketches, etc.

    • I’ll be surprise if people go see the new Fantastic Four movie with the black human torch in it.

  2. D.J. Cotrona is actually not Hispanic. He’s white of part-Italian descent.

  3. Agreed. I always felt the same way about Dean Cain. Superasianman.

  4. This movie sounds like it might have been good. I wonder why if was canceled……..oh wait, it’s WB. Mystery solved.

  5. Yep, some commentators are d-evil

  6. Here is the funny thing about Superman.

    He comes from a Planet that is virtually void of anyone else of color.

    He is Talk, Muscular, Blue Eyed, Dark Hair.

    What was Hitler’s definition of Master Race?

    NOW THATS FREAKING SCARY ABOUT SUPERMAN if you actually want to put race into the equation.

    • I thought Hitler wanted people to have blond hair instead of the dark hair.

      • Yes. Blond hair, not dark. And as we all know, Supes has jet black hair.

        Hitler and his gang were in love with the idea of the “blonde beast” , as Nietzsche put it.

        Pretty ironic since Hitler and his gang of thieves were all dark haired.

    • Since Superman was created by two Jewish boys, I’m not too concerned about any potential, or even viable, connections to the Nazis or Hitler. Hitler, himself, was mixed up anyway (not even counting his philosophical idiocy), because he was brown-haired and brown-eyed AND a failed painter. According to his own spewed-bile beliefs, he should have been sterilized, jailed, and killed to avoid any appearance of hypocrisy.

      As for this early attempt to produce a JLA film, it actually seems like it might have been an interesting take…

    • Hitler believed in the ‘ubermensch’ or ‘superman’ (namely that he was it, thanks to Nietzsche’s sister doctoring his works as she was a proto-Nazi) and the first Superman comic (before Action Comics) had a ‘superman’ more in line with the Nietzsche vision that was essentially an evil genius. The joke behind Superman has always been that, according to a lazy view of Nietzsche’s writings, Lex Luthor is the ‘real’ Superman.

      I think that the physical description of Superman isn’t really too important in terms of being a superior race. He’s just gotta be attractive. I think it speaks volumes that in the past ten years, the two people that have portrayed Supes in live-action productions have previously been models (Brandon Routh, Tom Welling) and, frankly, studios don’t want unattractive actors/actresses because they think that less attractive people won’t get as many people watching.

    • Another funny thing about Superman. He was created by two jewish kids. They made a character that could fit Hitler’s definition of a master race.

  7. @Jeff W Hitler’s definition of Master Race was blond Hair

    • Two out of 3.

      But Aquaman really aint much of a threat.

      But if you ever see the movie “The Boys from Brazil”.

      Scary thought process there.

  8. How about Taylor Kishe (sp?) as Aquaman?

    • Taylor Kitsch?


      I dunno, I could see him as more of a Lobo than Aquaman.

      • sorry, this will sound dumb, but who the heck is lobo?

          • ah ha! thanks! yeah either taylor kitsch or the actpr for sawyer from lost.

  9. At least they didn’t consider having Aquaman, we all know that he’s a joke.

    • My fish shall smite thee with their fins.

      • @Aquaman… that made my day! so funny

    • I’m going to guess that you’re kidding. Aquaman is one the strongest members of the Justice League, and in current continuity, he also is one of the most interesting.

      • He sure is. I find it funny that people can move-on from the campy 1960’s Batman and call Batman a badass- which he is- but most cannot move one from Aquaman. This is why I hope after the Injustice video game and hopefully a new 52 inspired live-action interpretation would educate people.

        • @ The Archer

          True. Batman was much more of a badass in the comics when he killed people at random & used a gun before he had Robin as a partner. I only been told by two people that The Punisher is more badass than Batman between the two vigilantes.

        • Yeah ummmmmm he’s still pretty lame to me, the new 52 didn’t impress me either *shrugs*

          • In norrin’s defence, when i was young i considered CaptainAmerica to be pretty dumb. i almost didn’t watch the movie! in time he will come round.

          • It seems there is much that does not impress you. But hey to each his own. Personally I think pop culture just hasn’t let the character go away from the version of 1960’s.

          • From what I can recall, I do not know much of this actor so I cannot judge of whether he would or would not have been good as Superman. I do agree that Cavill does look more the part- but then again this is an alien from outer space; unless it is a major change such as a black man being Superman or blonde or whatever, does it really matter?

            I suppose it does a bit as there is a distinctive look to the character. Either way I do agree that there is an interesting aspect of what could have been. Personally I hope the cancellation of this Justice League and no real official report on the current film means that something special will be the end-product. But again-hope.

      • Thank you, Avenger…I, too, have been enjoying his series. His battles against the Trench showed precisely why he should not be taken for granted…

      • Aquaman can go toe to toe with Superman especially if he’s in water or near it. The New 52 made him a badass. I never understood the hate about Aquaman. Seriously. Can you all imagine an Aquaman film directed by James cameron ? Nuff said.

      • lol. You got that too ? Aquaman certainly did give all the haters the big F-U. Lol. The book is solid and Aquaman shows why he shouldn’t be striffled with.

  10. I’m beginning to wonder if their really is a need for warner Brothers to have a Justice League film until maybe sometime in the 20’s. They have so much they can do with individual characters that they haven’t brought to the screen that individual efforts will fill up years to come. If they bide their time and wait for Avenger’s titles to peter out then they have the market (what’s left of it) to themselves just when everyone will be tired of Marvel and will hunger for something different but in the same vein. Then it will happen and seem natural that it should finally happen . People will look forward to it because they waited so long for it..

    Well it’s a thought anyway…

  11. @The Archer I mean if you like crappy superheroes then that’s cool, I could care less to be honest but Aquaman will forever be a loser to me.

    • Okay, norrin…

      I’ll approach the subject differently: WHY do you think the Aqua man character is “lame”?

      • Sigh…I hate auto-correct.


      • Pardon me…that should be “Norrin”.

    • Norrin,

      Honestly I have never been a huge fan of his a few years back and every now and then I still make the same jokes about the character as always, but here is the thing- I keep an open mind. Personally I think most, if not all, stories and characters can be great if they are written as so.

      Aquaman’s body can withstand the pressures of the deep ocean and still able to travel insanely fast- that alone gives an insight to the massive strength the character and his near invulnerability. On land, he still retains these power levels but no longer has the ocean to impede him. He can stand toe-to-toe with some of the biggest comic book characters. He also has limited knowledge of water-bending, sorcery, and wield lighting with his trident which he knows how to use efficiently. Aquaman also has swagger and confidence that border on ego because of him being the ruler of Atlantis- which by the way meaning he has his own army similar in strength as he himself. Now the telepathic connection with marine life, has been updated to be really cool as well.

      That is just some reason’s that turned me around on the subject.

      My first post was directed to the love of Aquaman that other poster’s here have, but the one directed to you was not much about Aquaman itself rather than the trend of being less enthusiastic about certain topics. You commented recently on another forum about the lack of optimism due to fanboyism but here you negate the optimism of a character without offering your point of view while calling the hero lame.

      As I said: everyone has their own opinion (to each his own). You were the one that brought up Aquaman- a character not even listed in the line-up – and rightfully so, but just offer a point of view with supporting details as others did in reply to your general thesis. My comment was more based on you being hard to impress- funny which your namesake is a space surfer(mind you I like the Silver Surfer, hated the film). Keep your opinions open and engage when you can to talk to your fellow posters.

      Maybe something that you couldn’t wrap your head around can be something that pleasantly surprises you- like the casting of Chris Evans as Captain America.

      Archer ->

      • Thanks Archer! That was spot on!

  12. Warner Bros is such a weird studio when it comes to this stuff. What must their internal meetings be like? Maybe like Congress, I guess. Lots of arguing, not lots of results.

  13. I really liked this article. Its nice to hear from the person who was casted to play Superman in the JL movie. At least he isn’t like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite always talking about how great it would’ve been to get put in the game at the end lol.

  14. Okay, to set the record straight, Superman is not American, he is an Alien, therefore he is not any particular race, so I don’t understand why some people want Superman to be played by an american, it just seems so dumb and petty! I just want him to be played by a good actor who looks like the Superman we all know and love, whether he is british or american what does it matter????

  15. Superman(Clark Kent) was american. Till they changed that in the comics just as they changed Guy Gardner(Green Lantern) by coming outta the closet. You should know Nolan usually likes to cast british actors mostly as he feels they’re better actors/actresses.

    • Guy Gardner was gay??? When?

    • Superman is American. ? So he was born in Krypton, please tell me in which State is the PLANET Krypton located on an US map

  16. Maybe i got his name wrong, i get his name mixed up with someone elses for sometimes. But it’s the Golden Age Green Lantern., With the cape, purple mask, red shirt,etc. Google it ir find out when on Wikipedia.

  17. Sorry. It’s Alan Scott. Tired here.

  18. DJ Cotrona, Hispanic? LOL! He’s not even ”half” Italian. He’s 3/8ths Italian (don’t ask), and the rest from farther North in Europe. This guy is as white as white can get. The comments are just weird.