Will Beall’s WB Script Deal Raises ‘Justice League’ Questions

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 9th, 2013 at 2:04 pm,

will beall justice league Will Bealls WB Script Deal Raises Justice League Questions

It’s been a tedious road to travel, reporting on Warner Bros. attempting to launch a Justice League franchise in reponse to Marvel’s game-changing success with The Avengers. The studio hasn’t confirmed or denied anything, going back to the story about Will Beall (Gangster Squad) working on a script – meaning, all the analysis and discussions conducted over the past eight months were, ultimately, based on unverified reports and rumor, not fact.

The recent claim that WB is scrapping Beall’s screenplay renewed speculation about what the plan is (assuming there IS a firm plan in place), after director Zack Snyder reboots the Superman movie franchise this Summer with Man of Steel. We’re now hearing Beall is signing a two script deal with the studio, suggesting the situation with his Justice League movie isn’t as clear-cut as thought (hoped?).

Variety is reporting Beall’s freshly-inked deal with WB, which assures the writer is remaining in business with the studio in the foreseeable future. However, it raises a good question: If his Justice League script was never that impressive (even before meddling executives with conflicting interests weakened it further), then why go and hire Beall on for additional work? He’s already 0-for-1 at the studio, following Gangster Squad earning lukewarm box office and failing to inspire confidence in Beall’s screenwriting talents.

One possible explanation is that WB doesn’t consider either Gangster Squad or the Justice League script a proper measurement of Beall’s potential. The former was forced through reshoots and delayed until a January release after the Colorado theater massacre, which is partly to blame for the lackluster outcome. Similarly, the proposed Justice League story wasn’t sensible for jump-starting the movie franchise, given its scale even outranked The Avengers (without also having five movies of plot and character development to draw from).

Justice League Movie Character List Will Bealls WB Script Deal Raises Justice League Questions

The other explanation is that WB executives are still putting together a game plan for its DC universe, which includes tackling such issues as whether or not they should make Green Lantern 2, how long to wait before rebooting the Batman movie franchise, and waiting to see if Snyder’s Man of Steel reboot performs well enough financially and critically to justify moving forward with a new Superman movie trilogy. In other words, keeping Beall around could be partly motivated by the idea they might want him to revisit his Justice League script in the future.

It’s obvious WB isn’t alone in feeling Beall has not peaked as a screenwriter, seeing how the Variety report concludes by mentioning Universal approaching him about writing The Legend of Conan for Arnold Schwarzenegger (before his new WB deal was settled, of course). Unfortunately, as far as Justice League is concerned, this update essentially moves us back to the same place we were before those reports about Beall’s script being dumped – leaving us scratching out heads, in an effort to figure out exactly what WB’s playing at, anyway.

What do you make of WB’s decision to secure a two script deal with Beall? Should this be interpreted as relevant news, as far as Justice League is concerned? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Source: Variety

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  1. It’s more likely that another studio wanted him to come over and WB decided to keep him there because studios just don’t like losing POTENTIAL talent to other studios. They live in perpetual fear of being known as “that guy” who let that movie or that star go somewhere else. People don’t understand that to a studio throwing money at a writer to “develop” or “adapt” a film is like average Joes like us picking up pennies on the street. It’s nothing to them. Keeping a writer onboard is cheap unless they’re one of the VERY few high-profile script doctors out there. Most new writers like Beall hire out cheap.

    • I’ve written extensively on the Warner Bros./Justice League subject at dreamerchant.com/blog and this “update” doesn’t require an addendum for the text presented there.

      The studio is skittish, clearly, and here again proves the William Goldman adage that in Hollywood “nobody knows anything.” Sydney Pollack said something similar. The diminutive community that is the film industry is also “incestuous”–meaning, they will not breed outside their species. If you’re “in” then the degree of your talent is less a concern, because there are others who can “clean up” whatever mess you leave on the page; and if they “really like you”, well, there’s always someone to clean up.

      Honestly, as a writer, I must chime in with this: The call to engage writing a narrative for the half-dozen members that make up DC Comics Justice League is formidable but far from insurmountable. It’s the level of expertise and depth of imagination that allows a scenarist to generate a workable (serviceable) screenplay for collaboration involving so many others.

      The first hurdle for any scriptwriter are those skittish executives.

  2. Man I hope they get it together. Seems like WB is being so reactionary. I understand they want to see how things pan out with MOS. But how can they expect audiences to embrace their vision for a DC universe if the studio itself comes off as lacking confidence in it’s properties. To be fair, “Superman Returns” was underwhelming and “Green Lantern” was severely lacking so they’ve been burned.

    • Can’t really say “how can they expect audiences to embrace their vision for a DC universe if the studio itself comes off as lacking confidence in it’s properties” because the majority of moviegoers won’t have known about any of this so they’ll only base their judgment on trailers and actually going to see it (usually the latter since we generally see horrible movies get big box office numbers because it seems as though people don’t bother watching trailers any more before going to see something).

      • that’s very true. i suppose i was implying that the timidness being displayed at this early age would translate into timid marketing to mass audiences in an effort to cover their butts in anticipation of flop. hopefully this is all moot anyway and WB/DC will deliver. at least, that’s my hope.

        • *stage not age

    • What I wanted to point out, more than anything else, in my article on the Justice League at dreamerchant.com/blog is that Superman, Batman and Green Lantern have been established in the films already produced.

      Little doubt this notion of rebooting Batman and GL, and the anxiety over the impending success or failure of Superman, has the Warner Bros. executives chewing their fingernails: “Should or shouldn’t we….” do the Justice League flick. The cost of those reboots alone would be astronomical, if done well and competitively, also time consuming–with THE AVENGERS 2 ready to take a huge slice of the marketshare in a couple of years. That would be about the time a rebooted Batman and Green Lantern would be coming to the theaters.

      So where would this put the Justice League? As I said here and on my blog post, Batman/Superman/Green Lantern have been established. Justice League has a “greenlight”, so what’s needed here is a storyline that will persuade the suits at Warner Bros. a JL film to go before the camera NOW (before that light turns amber…and with the success of MAN OF STEEL) is the only hope that there will be a collaborative film for these superheroes.

      Time changes things. Let enough time go by, Justice League will be what it has always been–a cartoon.

      • I agree. They need to establish a vision and execute. Disney is kicking ass. They have the Star Wars universe and they hiring the best talent and pushing forward – period. They’re not waiting to see if the first star wars film will flop or not they’re simply pushing forward with what they believe is the best vision. As a result, they’re generating an amazing amount of positive buzz around it even though the first film is years away. I think that’s what’s lacking from WB. They’re so concerned about numbers that they’re hurting themselves with all the timidness. Hell, even fox has hired the ‘Chronicle’ guy (great choice) to get Fantastic Four reboot moving forward and have at least hinted at a shared universe with X-Men.

  3. I always wonder who is more at fault for bad movies… the director, screenwriteror Studio Executives/Producers. The director can be playing catch up with a bad script, the screenwriter tone could be radically changed by the director or is it the Executives/Producers fault for meddling with screenwriters/directors ideas.

    • I’m going to say Studio Executives and Producers tops that list.

      • +1 That’s usually the case.

      • for any given movie it can be any one of those (or a combination) but i agree that execs are probably at the top

  4. 2 part JLA movie in the works. BAM! I’m starting that rumor here and now.

    • Best way to do it IMO

    • I was thinking sort of the same thing. Perhaps the studio thinks Beall’s script is better as a two part JL 2 and 3.

    • Honestly, I think that was mentioned in comments on previous JL articles. I’m sure I was one of them.

      • It has. There’s been a few ranters supporting the LOTR style, myself included.

  5. I have to say, as a big fan of Supes, the new Man of Steel film looks awful. Batman worked in a grounded gritty world because he’s just a normal man in a very realistic bleak city. Superman is…. well, a dork. Not just as Clark Kent mind you, but Superman is the ultimate Cheesy Boyscout. For WB to try passing this starving Calvin Kline model wearing a pigskin suit and hipster beard as Superman hurts.

    • If you think that Superman is just a cheesy Boy Scout, clearly you haven’t actually read Superman comics in a while (if ever).

      • Oh, and if you think this guys is just some model, go watch the Tudors.

        • I wouldn’t worry about it, his comment was totally off anyway.

          Real Superman fans would embrace Man Of Steel as looking awesome (and I’m not one of them, I find the character boring but I am looking forward to the movie cause it looks great)

          • NO-ONE Really likes DC’s Characters anymore, thats why Marvel is having all of the movie success DUHH LOL.
            Most of DC’s Superheros are quite lame IMO!
            DC- Great for Cartoons and kids
            Marvel-Great characters For MOVIES, adults and kids alike.

            its funny because before all the CBmovies the last 5-6 yrs I was honestly more of a DC fan (of the characters) but now i can see DC is run by a bunch of clowns and they are a deffinite buzz kill, NOW MARVEL ON THE OTHER HAND KNOWS HOW TO MAKE A GREAT CBM

  6. Ya know what I’d like? I’d like it if WB would just friggin say something about this movie. Is Beall’s script in our out? Are they looking at potential directors yet? Is the 2015 release date still a possibility? Is the movie even still in production?
    [Screams like crazy person] SAY SOMETHING ALREADY!
    What’s up with the silence?

    • I read somewhere that Will Beall is writing a 2 part Justice League script.

      • LOL

  7. It’s a Zack Snyder film. It’s not a grounded and gritty world. It’s just a modern world. And the only realism in the film it’s how would people react to a bring of his power and caliber. this movie and real people of the same caliber USA what our real world need. People are to greedy and cynical.

  8. It’s a Zack Snyder film. It’s not a grounded and gritty world. It’s just a modern world. And the only realism in the film it’s how would people react to a bring of his power and caliber. this movie and real people of the same caliber IS what our real world need. People are to greedy and cynical.

  9. WB needs a Joss Whedon or a Mark Millar to oversee their DC universe. But it will never happen, because that would require wrenching control away from the no talent lawyers and accountants that currently hold the purse strings in a white knuckled grip.

    Maybe if Man of Steel is successful, WB will consider handing the reins over to Christopher Nolan. At least Nolan has a creative mind and has made some good (but flawed) movies under his belt. Zack Synder would be ok too.

    I think Will Beall is a poor (but cheap) choice IMO…… Goyer is even worse. Please no. Not Goyer.

    • I think Goyer has solid scripts but his directing abilities are lacking also I think he lacks for foresight to pull off what DC needs. I think he should participate in the writing process though. I agree the ideal person would be Chris Nolan but he has some projects coming up – not sure he’d be available to do it. Maybe as just a consultant. I honestly think with zack in the director’s chair and goyer at the writer’s table things will be good.

      • I strongly disagree about Goyer. Solid scripts? More like stinko scripts. Look at Goyer’s partial track record:

        Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)
        Jumper (2008)
        Ghost Rider (2007)
        Blade: Trinity (2002)
        Blade II (2002)
        Zig Zag (1998)
        Nick Fury: Agent of Shield Starring David Hasselhof (1998)

        I give Nolan the credit for the Batman Trilogy. Goyer was only riding on his coattails.

        Goyer writes the worst dialog of any scriptwriter. Watch “Jumper” or the 1998 Nick Fury if you can stand it.

        • I thought Blade II was directed by Guillermo del Toro…

    • Except Nolan has already said no.

    • Personally I think Goyer, like Snyder, can go either way in terms of project when it depends on the creative team who helps him out. That and the actual subject at hand. I loved the first two Nolan/Bale Batman films in which Goyer had much more input- especially Batman Begins which has more comic book look and tone- and just barely like the third one (enjoy pieces but have reservation on the details connecting said pieces) which has less of Goyer input because he went to write Man of Steel. Jonathan Nolan arguably came up with most of the concepts that had a negative impact on the script such as the inclusion of Selina Kyle in arguably not important role (despite Anne Hathaways good performance) and the structure of the prison as a Pit in the middle of a desert.

      Although this has still yet to be proven, but Man of Steel does seem to go in the right direction, for me and some others at least, and Goyer had a huge input and Snyder has full reign with Christopher Nolan having minimal input.

  10. Why not have people who actually wrote good comics or go animated superhero movies write this thing? Yeah, the guy was a cop and wrote on Castle. How exactly does this make him in anyway a good choice going forward?

    • JK Rowling was unemployed when she wrote the Harry Potter books and was most definitely not drawing on experience of wizards and the like when she did so I don’t see how former cops can’t write movie scripts if they have the ideas.

  11. With Young Justice on its way to its grave by Cartoon Network, I think the writing team should be considered as overseer of sorts. The got the right balance of grounded fantasy on the show that can be fun and entertaining, yet mature and complexity that one does not find much in animation (or tv for the most part in general).

    The writers also have been able to design separate storylines that are the taken full advantage of and written to the best of the potential -or really damn close to it- that seem to be fully distinct from one another and not held back to another story; yet, in the end all these plots and distinct stories combine head on to an explosive climax and revealed to closely intertwined. That is how the set up for the Justice League should be done if they go the route of solo films first in the end.

    Marvel Studios got it first, but there was stumbles on the way. Most of the solo films were handicapped of great standalone stories on to make obvious hype for the Avengers film. The Avengers hype is what sold the films as audience wanted to see what all the noise was about and why they should be excited. The Avengers film was actually designed as the mainy story–there was no pieces coming together or anything– it did not need the solo films to make sense for the audience who just wanted to see a cool film. I feel that each film should be designed to be stand on its own without depending the knowledge of any previous film, especially if those other films are supposed to be separate franchise that happen to exist in the same universe.

    Instead of making solo films/ franchises that feel like sequels to one another, DC should make the film feel like distinct stories that compliment each of the other films’ narrative without holding back their own. Pick for example great five separate scripts for each major hero that NEEDS an introduction and arc that stand well on their own, and have an overseeing writer- consultant -Sheppard, etc to weave in through the various plots certain details that connect each film to each other and overarching plot -WITHOUT RUINING OR CHANGING DRASTICALLY THE PLOT.

    Then all these seemingly separate storylines will collide and be revealed to only be stepping stones of a much grander scheme of things, pieces of a plan, that will require these heroes to work together. Make the film into an epic 2 Part film to devote times to explore the fully realized characters and their individual stories within the context of these greater plot by the film’s villains. Legion of Doom/the Light should work.

    The Avenger’s had to spend time fixing or addressing some of the faults of the other films while still trying to maintain its own plot and goals. WB/DC can definitely learn from the competition. Marvel learned from its mistake and is seemingly doing what I stated in Phase 2. DC can start with the first phase.

    The problem is just starting it and doing it.

    • They could have DC movies in the same continuity but with various different tones for each standalone solo movie (Superman would be brightly lit, Batman would be more noirish etc). That’s how I’d do it.

      • That is my general line of thinking. Have each character played to his or her own strengths. Of course there should be some common ground in which the idea that these so vastly different stories are occurring within the same universe and that these characters inhabit the same space and time as the others.

        The Dark Knight Trilogy played to the film’s inherent strength and style of the script: Batman Begins was more of a pulp origin story adventure while The Dark Knight took a step down played as an urban crime film with elements of a Shakespearean tragedy and The Dar Knight Rises was hybrid of each style for better or worse. The Man of Steel recent trailers, descriptions, and fan reaction paint the film to boldly distinct from Nolan in terms of scale and fantasy but it compliments its predecessor by treating the world grounded as possible. Get rid of the gimmicks and more campy elements of the character’s world and give the world gravitas and a sense of tangibility, then the audience will feel all that more invested in the story.

  12. Can’t have a DC article without mentioning Marvel i see. A JL movie won’t happen, give me Doom Patrol.

    • Well that’s because there’s a solo DC movie coming out soon and the potential to do the same for other characters leading to a big team up movie.

      • So basically you’re saying that DC should be like Marvel, it’s funny because Marvel has been knowingly coping DC’s characters for years.

        • If it works…

          Your comment seemed incredibly hostile though. Might wanna tone it down a little next time. Great ideas are copied all the time, that’s how we get genres of music, movies and television.

          Pocahontas was copied to make the Disney version, Dances With Wolves and Avatar.

          John Constantine came into existence because the creator wanted to write a comic book starring Sting.

          Judge Dredd was created as a futuristic Dirty Harry.

          It’s nothing new so again, why the hostility?

          • LMAO, I wasn’t being hostile. Maybe you should check your tone.

  13. I think Warner Bros. should stick with what they got right and that was the dark, gritty and realistic version of their heroes. If the Man of Steel does good than hand over the reins to Snyder and hope for the best but I am against a Justice League movie anyway but not because I hate the Justice League because I actually like it. I just think introducing heroes because the Avengers came out is wrong and WB should do something new. A Suicide Squad movie is able to be made realistic which can appeal to more Nolan fans along with the DC comic fans plus the extra movie lovers who fell like they need to watch something cool

  14. WB Exec: Mr.Beall, come in and sit down.
    Beall: Hello, sir.
    WBE: Gangster Squad did terrible, and the Justice league script was awful.
    Beall: Yes, I’m sorry, sir.
    WBE: We’d like to give you a two picture deal to write more movies for us.
    Beall: Wow, thank you , sir. I accept your offer.
    WBE: This is a great day here at Warner Brothers.

  15. Sheesh, what is it with this guy? Does he have dirt over the execs or something? He was signed to write Justice League after having no screenwriting credits to his name besides one unreleased movie. Now, after a disappointing movie with a reportedly sub-par script, as well as reports that his Justice League was absolutely terrible, they sign him to 2 pictures???

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the way it usually works is a writer pushes a script, and different studios buy it/work with him. When the studio signs a deal for him to write 2 movies without any actual scripts in place, doesn’t that just mean he can write whatever he wants and the studio now has to do 2 movies with his scripts?

    Either way, why is this guy getting so much work? If you’re a good writer, or if you have a good script, then prove it. Otherwise, good riddance. I don’t get Warner Bros.

    • Yep, that’s the way it works. personally, i think they feel they gave him to tough stories to write and they want to see what he can do if he does his own thing.

      • But who is he? He’s a nobody. He’s written one script, and he’s been the “executive story editor” on a few episodes of Castle. That’s it. I’m honestly baffled why WB is putting so much trust into a man who has yet to prove himself with anything. Either they somehow know he’s a brilliant writer who has yet to do anything significant, there’s some sort of sketchy under-the-table deal going on here, or WB is just filled with morons.

  16. DC/WB = A BUNCH OF MORONS? MAYBE? or maybe the script was in-fact GREAT and the wanted to get Beal all signed up for 2 GL movies….. LMFAO!! OMG THAT EVEN made me laugh! Sorry, but hese guys are a bunch of CLOWNS run by a few ROLLING TURDS, JESUS CHR**T DC GET YOUR SH*T together and make the damn movie

  17. Wasn’t Beall also hired by WB to write the Lethal Weapon reboot and logan’s run. Although, I wouldn’t trust him with the Lethal Weapon script because original Letha was a classic. I’ll give him Logan’s run. Even if its a good story I doubt it will be a hit.

  18. To Whom it may concern:
    I didn’t read the JLA script. I couldn’t tell you if it was good or bad. The knee-jerk reaction from “fans” has been predictable to say the least. Gangster was a hot script that got mauled in post. What seems to be the case is that Beall worked his tail off on JLA and simply could not make it work with what the studio wanted.

    The “Wonder Woman” movie was never made. Did that make Joss Whedon a horrible writer? Of course not. Kevin Smith wrote a ‘Superman’ script once. Is Kevin Smith a bad writer? Didn’t think so. How about JJ Abrams? Of course not. So why are we dumping on Beall? I don’t get it.

    But here’s what I can understand — it’s highly possible that Beall is a great writer. JLA wasn’t for him but he can write and/or sell OTHER projects to WB. He may not be good for JLA but he might be good somewhere else? Oh, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t go there.

    • I’m thinking that’s the case. I think the guy being a former cop, Gangster Squad, made sense and probably even the Lethal Weapon Reboot. Plus he was suppose to also write the screenplay adaptation of his book. But Justice League needs someone who knows the characters and is passionate about them, not just take some comics and try to adapt them into a screenplay which is what beall seems to have done. You need someone who can think outside the box and be creative for a story like that.

    • @Darren, everyone is dumping on Beall because there were reports that the script was absolutely terrible

  19. I hope the JLA script will mention Brainiac, Lex Luther, Bizarro, and Metallo teaming up in the Legion of Doom. I remember Toyman was on the SUPERFRIENDS animated series I hope if he doesn’t fit in. The Green Lantern villains Sinestro & Solomon Grundy.

  20. Warner’s has a problem. They’re sitting on a gold mine and don’t know how to mine it. Continuity is the key. Ask marvel. Throw a few Easter eggs in the MAN OF STEEL. Nuture some interest, some anticipation, some buzz. GREEN LANTERN suffered from some miscasting and a terrible villian. Ryan Reynolds would make a great Ambush Bug but Hal Jordon is no wise guy. Intoduce a couple heroes in a GREEN LANTERN 2 movie. I see they mentioned Coast City in last night’s ARROW. Why not? STAR TREK used movies and TV together. If WARNERS can’t use a little imagination they should just sell their DC properties to Disney and let THE MOUSE take care of business.