While the first phase of DC Entertainment’s Justice League plans don’t truly begin until after Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot The Man of Steel releases, fans are already chomping at the bit to know how the DC superhero team-up movie might play out. We’ve seen several different rumors pop up over the course of the month – including a discussion about whether or not Joseph Gordon-Levitt should assume the Batman role – but the most intriguing has been DC’s reported courting of Ben Affleck to direct Justice League.
Unfortunately, though, those rumors about Affleck directing weren’t true – he was never planning on the directing the film, and news of him doing so were purely rumor-filled gossip. That same rumor mill is now churning with word that several other high-profile directors are in the running for the Justice League director’s chair. Read on to find out who.
In an interview with 24 Hours Vancouver, Affleck confirmed he is not set to helm The Justice League, but says it sounds “really exciting”:
“I’m not working on the Justice League. One of the problems with entertainment web sites is that they need to fill pages, and that’s how rumours get started…Justice League sounds really exciting, but it’s not something I’m working on.”
Like Marvel’s Avengers, it appeared that DC was looking for a proven director to assume control over what should be a very prized property. Affleck’s connections to the role of Superman in the biopic Hollywoodland were only slight, but his skills as a director were nothing to scoff at, and his newest film, Argo, looks to be a serious awards season contender. That’s all to say: it’s something of shame that this rumor didn’t pan out.
Dreams of Christopher Nolan (who has numerous times said he is uninterested), Guillermo Del Toro, or Brad Bird directing the film have already begun to manafest, but for now we know as much as fans do, which is pretty little. During the Warner Bros. panel at Comic-Con, Man of Steel director Zack Snyder suggested that the success of his superhero film would determine the future of more DC Comics properties, saying that after they get Superman’s “house in order” anything is possible.
And as it stands with Justice League, some of those ‘possibilities’ for a director are apparently more likely than others…
According to Moviehole, Warner Bros. (which owns the rights to DC Superhero movies) is “jazzed” with the work that Matrix trilogy directors Andy and Lana Wachowski have done with their upcoming film Cloud Atlas - so much so that the studio is considering them for Justice League.
For those who don’t know, Cloud Atlas is a sweeping look at the lives of over a dozen characters (some re-incarnated versions of one another), which intersect and influence each other over the course of centuries, via everything from written journals to music and dreams. Based on the bestselling novel by David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas was long thought to be one of those “unadaptable” tomes that could never work as a feature film; however, the Wachowskis (along with co-director Tom Tykwer) seem to not only preserve the story in full – they’ve apparently done so in spectacular blockbuster fashion. Check out the six-minute Cloud Atlas trailer to see what we mean:
Justice League is a movie that will require a complicated mix of epic drama and grandiose spectacle, while simultaneously balancing screen time between a large ensemble of characters. With The Matrix - and even Speed Racer to certain extent – the Wachowskis have proven themselves to be masterful builders of spectacle, and Cloud Atlas certainly seems to provide plenty of dramatic heart. But are they right for a film that collects arguably the most recognized and celebrated superhero icons in the world?
Despite obvious connections to The Avengers, Justice League will need to be much more strategic in its approach to world building if it wants to be successful. Several key members of the superhero group have already attempted solo films, to mixed results (see: Green Lantern), with only Batman knocking it out of the park. Snyder’s reboot of Superman has potential – but even it has the bad taste of Brian Singer’s Superman Returns to wipe off, first.
The solo film stumbles could give DC/WB pause about awarding Wonder Woman, The Flash, or Aquaman their own films, rather than kicking off a Justice League franchise first. Of course, leading with JL also carries the risk of audiences being unaware of specific characters – but if the studio is already talking about directors, it’s a strong possibility that we could be looking at a Justice League movie as the next DC Entertainment film on the dock.
How did you feel about Ben Affleck directing a Justice League movie? Are the Wachowskis a promising choice?
Justice League Artwork by Alex Ross