Warner Bros. is moving forward with plans for a serious expansion of the DC comic book cinematic and television universe(s), as evidenced by that recent batch of stories about screenwriter/producer David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel) possibly becoming the DC-verse overseer, how The Flash will get his own TV pilot apart from the CW’s Arrow series, and the rumors about which Justice League members could be introduced in Goyer and director Zack Snyder’s upcoming Man of Steel sequel, otherwise known as Batman vs. Superman.
So, what about the DC characters and properties that lie well outside the Justice League’s jurisdiction? Well, we know that filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim) is hoping to find a place for his proposed Justice League Dark on the DC movie side of things, even as projects like a Constantine TV series (another Goyer project) are taking the very first steps towards becoming a real thing. Meanwhile, it seems that BFFs Ben Afffleck and Matt Damon are jump-starting development on a film adaptation of another lesser-known DC comic property, Sleeper.
Variety is reporting that Affleck and Damon – alongside their partner Jennifer Todd – are onboard to produce the Sleeper comic book movie, with the search to find a director now properly underway. Interestingly, it’s been speculated for a while now that the Oscar-winner Affleck – having joined the rebooted Superman franchise to play the next screen version of Batman – might be involved with another DC project down the line.
Of course, Affleck striking a deal to produce Sleeper doesn’t mean that’s the only DC film that he will be involved with after the Man of Steel sequel (see: fans who are hoping that Affleck could direct a future Justice League and/or Batman movie).
Sleeper is a noir fantasy comic book series – written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips and Jim Lee – that was published from 2003-05. The series revolves around Holden Carver, a law enforcement operative who goes undercover in order to infiltrate a dangerous organization, let by the WildC.A.T.s comic book series antagonist, TAO. As far as his superpowers go, Holden (a.k.a. ‘The Conductor’) has been physically fused with an alien artifact, which gives him an incredible healing ability; not to mention, the capability to absorb, store and transfer pain to others.
Back in 2008, a different version of the project had started to take shape, with Sam Raimi (the Spider-Man trilogy) producing alongside Joshua Donen (Oz the Great and Powerful) and Tom Cruise attached to star. However, the producers who are behind the current iteration of Sleeper has a very different filmography; and thus, seem likely to guide the film towards Goyer’s DC work (read: more emotional depth and seriousness) – more than Raimi and Donen might have done, anyway.
As additional evidence of that: Sleeper is being written by Shawn Ryan (creator of The Shield) and David Wiener (The Killing). Both of those writers have a history of working on gritty crime genre fare, with an emphasis on (relatively) grounded plot machinations and character development. If the project manages to get a respectable film director into the mix, then the screen version of Sleeper could well be something worthy of attention.
More on Sleeper as the story develops.