Robert Zemeckis Plans Return to Live-Action Filmmaking

Published 5 years ago by , Updated July 12th, 2013 at 10:49 am,

Having grown up in the 80s and early 90s, the films of Robert Zemeckis made an indelible mark on my childhood. Not only was he an innovator of groundbreaking special effects, he was also a gifted storyteller. So it was disappointing but not terribly surprising when Zemeckis decided to use his films to focus on refining motion-capture technology.

The results of this nearly decade long commitment have been The Polar Express, Beowulf,  A Christmas Carol, and the upcoming remake of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. While the technology has clearly evolved and become a useful addition to a filmmaker’s arsenal, it’s been somewhat frustrating for fans of Zemeckis’ earlier work to see him use his immense talents in only one particular arena.

I’d all but given up on a return to form for the man who gave us the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and Romancing the Stone. However, Deadline is reporting that Zemeckis may in fact be stepping back into the world of live-action filmmaking.

One of the projects he’s circling deals with a subject he’s assuredly quite comfortable with: time travel. Warner Bros. is setting up Timeless as a major tent pole release and they want Zemeckis in the director’s chair.  Zemeckis and his studio ImageMovers will produce either way and the deal is currently being finalized.

There’s nothing specific in regards to the film’s plot just yet, but the script was penned by Mike Thompson (Dragonfly, John Doe). He also co-wrote Steinbeck’s Point of View with Brandon Camp- a film that made headlines when Tom Cruise flirted with the idea of starring in it.

Timeless isn’t the only offer Warner Bros. is extending Zemeckis’ way – evidently he’s another name we can add to the list of potential directors for the Superman reboot.

Deadline claims he’s “kicking the tires” on the Christopher Nolan produced The Man of Steel and in my opinion, he’s a much stronger choice than any of the other names that have been mentioned so far. Zemeckis is downright masterful at creating memorable characters and blending action, humor, and heart. While Zack Snyder or Darren Aronofsky might bring more edge to the material, Superman is a property that requires just a little bit more optimism than I envision them delivering.

Whether it be Timeless of Superman, I’d be thrilled just to have Zemeckis making live-action films again. Either of those choices would have to be better than his proposed mo-cap Roger Rabbit sequel.

How does Zemeckis stack up against the other Superman contenders? How do you feel about him returning to live-action?

Source: Deadline.

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  1. not sure how i’d feel about him in the supes universe

  2. He’s not a bad choice for Superman, but ultimately the director is the least important part for me, if the story/script and acting arent up to spec, then Superman could have the greatest director ever and it wouldnt make the blidest difference.

    • i still say Donner. they better choose soon though tired of the anticipation

      • I’d love Donner to come back, that would be great. But, I like you, am sick of all the conjecture, they are meeting people at the moment so we should know fairly soon.

  3. I didnt like superman returns at all,it was too long so i hope they make the new superman better….

    • It wasnt that long! The youth of today have no attention span!

      • LOL no comment DSB, i dont wanna irk the lil fella into a frenzy

        • We can just bung him some Ritalin or something.

          • LOL

          • i dont think he could hang with the Extended cuts of the LOTR thats for sure haha

              • HAHAHA

                i just watched them all again this past weekend. gonna watch Supes 1 and 2 this weekend too

                • You cut The Donner Cut?

                  • i do not have that one yet:(

                    • If you’re a fan of those movies, trust me, its a must buy. A real insight into the process of studio interference.

                    • Yes! The Richard Donner cut is a must for any fan of Superman. Its a different movie from the original Superman 2. The history of how those movies were made is cool too.

  4. DrSamBeckett
    To me it was lol

    You Are Smart ;)

  5. LMAO you guys are the absolute best!

  6. Guys,yeah my bro saw LOTR at the movies and he said ppl started getting up halfway through the movie cuz they thought it had ended LOL!

    • The ridiculousness of the ending of ROTK has to be seen to be believed, it literally fades to black three or four times. I was working as a projectionist when it was out, and I just used to sit and watch people start to get up and then sit back down. FUnny stuff.

      • yeah, lots of groans and curse words were fillng in the theater i was at

          • Which ending? Lol.

            • LOL he got you there GK333

              • The one where the CREDITS roll..

          • Even when credits roll… I’m still suprised how few people wait it out to the very end. Didn’t anyone see Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?! At the complete, absolute end, right when you think the projector was going to turn off and house lights come up, Ferris shows up again… I was a teenager then, and few movie makers employed that tactic and I have loved it and waited for it ever since. I never leave until the projection light turns off. Never.

              • Oh god,i hate it when ppl stay after the credits…

    • we’re talking about the extended cuts, not the theaterical releases

      • Doesnt ROTK clock in at almost 4 hours?

        • yeah

          the extended version runs almost 4 and a half i think if i remember right

            • GK333, i agree!!

            • At risk of incensing people, I really do not like ROTK. But hey, I know a lot of people do.

              • i still like the two towers the best out of the 3

                • Me too.

                    • WOW thats a record hahaha!

                • To be honest, its a real CGI fest, and the battle in Two Towers is much better, more contained and brutal.

                  • Ah ok thanks for the info.

  7. Extended cuts? I havent seen any lotr cuts lol. But 4 hours hell no,i wont be able to watch that!

    • The films are split onto two dvds, so its like watching 6 films.

    • wuss :P

  8. I cant sit for 4 hours Ants!

    • You don’t have too! Watch the trilogy in nice bite size two hours chunks, it’ll take you about a week! HA! I once watched the entire first season of 24, in order, from midnight to midnight the following day!

      • If I did that me brain would atrophy..

        • I can tell you this, it did have a severe effect on my mental state, for days afterwards I was just shouting DAMN IT and torturing strangers with towels!

          • ROTFLOL!!

            • must have missed this comment LMAOOOOOOOOOO! :)

  9. doesny Robert Z look like an american version of Del Toro in that picture above??

    • Yeah I can see that!

  10. LOL yeah i dont even have them i only have FOTR on vhs lol

    • What is this v-h-s you speak of?

  11. it will be awesome if he returns to live action films, seriously, been wanting him to stop with this mocap/animation stuff for a while now

  12. Was a fan of The DE LOREAN…watched the movie as a kid and was moved when the car got destroyed eventually. My picks for the Superman hotseat:

    1. Zack Snyder (loved Watchmen, 300, with a Nolan script, any Snyder movie would be awesome)

    2. Robert Zemeckis (as mentioned by the article)

    3. Duncan Jones (there seems to be a lots of promise in this guy)

    4. Jonathan Favreau (his take on Superman, keeping in mind the Iron Man approach, will be fantastic)

    Not that familiar with the other candidates though. Whoever gets selected though will do a good job as I’ve never doubted Nolan’s choices

    • I was eight or nine when BTTF 3 came out and I wanted to cry when the DeLorean was decimated by that train.

      • i still cringe when i see any type of muscle cars get demolished in any type of action film

        • HAHAHAHA so does my bro.

        • Oh my gosh, the Shelby Cobra that Stark crushes in Iron Man! Heatbreaking.

          • God, dont remind me of that! It’s like watching Gone In Sixty Seconds all over again!

            • even as a kid, grwoing up and watching the dukes of hazzard, i’d be in near tears lol.

  13. I wish Affleck hadnt turned it down, he would have done a good job.

  14. Great Scott!!(lol) Zemeckis would make a good Superman director. But I’d have to see a new film of his not using Mocap. If he does promising then bring the man aboard.

  15. by the way Chris, didnt mean to hijack your thread here, sorry man.

    • LOL

  16. Nah, it’s YOUR thread – not mine. At least we’re still talking about movies. However, I’m going to attempt to steer this back on course a little bit…

    I mentioned this in the Natalie Portman article, but is anyone else getting the feeling Nolan’s list of directors says something about the direction he’s trying to move Superman in?

    The guy was obviously a good fit for Bats, but I’m really hoping they don’t think Supes has to be darker to be relevant.

    That’s why I welcome Zemeckis’ involvement.

    • i’d actually like to see a Zemeckis take on it. but i’d like to see hime do another live action film beforehand, to see if he’s still got that magic touch

        • it was a true master creation, now did it stray from the books in a few spots, yes, but i wont fault it for that, all book to film adaptations do. for PJ to take the reigns and film all movies at once was brilliant.

  17. Mr Zemeckis, please make your return to Live-Action filmmaking with Roger Rabbit 2. That one doesn’t need to be mo-cap.

  18. @greenknight333

    End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path. One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass… then you see it!

    • Goosebumps DSB..I’m picturing the scene in my mind…thanks for the quote!! :)

      • You’re welcome, and although I think ROTK is riddled with faults, that scene is fantastic.

  19. Zemeckis is undoubtedly a talented director. His filmography is impressive – even when the films weren’t ‘hits’. That said, I just can’t picture him directing a superhero movie.

  20. I agree with the author of this article about Zemeckis fitting the bill much better than the other proposed directos and although I do agree that Donner might make for a much touted comeback to Superman, if that does’nt pan out, Zemeckis would be a great choice, certainly better than anyone on the gambit for the sequel. Superman is’nt the same as other films of the genre and requires a director that can keep things universal while at the same time give it a sense of awe much like Donner, so while poeticism is not a turn off, poeticism bordering on cynicism would certainly be. The Singer film was quite good but it undid the sense of awe associated with Superman and the lighthearted charm and sense of adventure that Donner brought to it, with poetic melancholy which works on some levels but leaves the viewer with a taste of heaviness instead of a universal sense of wow. I suppose in that sense of universality with a dash of ‘versimilitude’ might still wow audiences as the first film by Donner did.
    I do understand that it has been frustratng for his fans to see his continued work in the motion capture genre, Zemeckis does need to get back into film from digital even if the live action genre he would like to pursue be filmed digitally, but more motion cature. The Roger Rabbit sequel is odd as without Hoskins, it would not reek of the charm factor and since as a standalone piece of filmmaking, the Rabbit film was a marvel in terms of visual effects but may fall short on appeal as Hoskins anyway was’ny given the meat of the role to chew on.