Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a new movie called Snitch hitting theaters soon, and while doing his promotional tour for the film he dropped some new updates on Warner Bros.’ adaptation of DC Comics’ intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo, as well as his upcoming stint as the titular Greek hero of Brett Ratner’s Hercules film adaptation of the Thracian Wars comic book series.
Lobo is a character who’s experienced a lot of starts and stops on his way to the big screen. Back in 2009 it was announced that Guy Ritchie would direct the movie – until Ritchie dropped out in order to helm Sherlock Holmes 2 instead. The project lay dormant until summer 2012, when Dwayne Johnson announced that he was indeed attached to the headlining role of a Lobo movie being developed by super-producer Joel Silver (The Matrix) and Journey 2 director Brad Peyton. That set off all kinds of fan buzz (including whether Johnson’s Lobo would appear in a Justice League movie) – but at the very least, the casting seemed like a great match.
Well, Johnson spoke with MTV recently, and let it be known that the window of opportunity for Lobo has passed:
“It was [there] for a minute, but then it kind of just went away. As things happen in Hollywood sometime. For a minute I was interested in it (Lobo), then it went away.”
This evaporation of potential superhero films is a growing trend for DC/WB: In the late 2000s, the Justice League movie by Mad Max director George Miller died in the stages of pre-production; it now seems that the Justice League movie by Gangster Squad writer Will Beall could be facing a similar fate. In 2006, Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns failed to relaunch that character in the new millenium – a challenge now resting on Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Green Lantern was a non-starter in 2011, while countless other potential character films – The Flash, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Aquaman, Deadman – have all sputtered along without gaining much traction.
In short: if you aren’t talking about Batman and/or Chris Nolan, DC superheroes have not had any strong movie franchises since this century began. We can now add Lobo to that pile of bodies. Will the film get another look? For the foreseeable future it seems like Batman and Superman are the two heroes we’ll be seeing.
Johnson also has Brett Ratner’s Hercules movie on the horizon – a part the actor has been excited to play for some time:
Next shoot, is a passion project I’ve had on my mind ever since I got into Hollywood almost over 15 years now, Hercules. I can’t wait, we are going to shoot that in Croatia and Budapest. I’ve been preparing for this role now for a good part of a year.”
He also confirmed that Brett Ratner is indeed still in the director’s chair:
“It’s still Brett Ratner directing, Beau Flynn producing, Paramount, and MGM are on board. For me when I was a kid Hercules was a hero of mine and there was Steve Reeves to multiple guys who have played Hercules. This man, Hercules, was always a hero of mine. So when I first got into movies I thought ‘gosh I would love to do that one day.’ I always felt that the version of Hercules I wanted to play, was one that was more dramatic, and more survived in baron lands. Not necessarily slick in any way, or anything like that, but it’s been around and been on my mind for quite some time.”
Most people would agree that Johnson is a fine pick to play the mythical Greek hero – though whether director Brett Ratner will get the same kind of approval is another story. Ratner has many, many (many) detractors; however, excluding the Charlie Sheen / Chris Tucker film Money Talks, he also has a track record of cracking the $100-200 million (worldwide) barrier with his films – often earning considerable profits in the process.
That’s all to say: In terms of making Hercules a blockbuster hit, there are probably worse choices in a director (from a studio standpoint, at least).
Check out Johnson’s full Video Interview with MTV:
Lobo is now in Limbo.
Hercules opens on August 8th, 2014.