Rumor Patrol: Aronofsky & Affleck in Talks to Direct Superman Reboot

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

darren aronofsky directing superman man of steel Rumor Patrol: Aronofsky & Affleck in Talks to Direct Superman Reboot

Who’s going to direct The Man of Steel? That’s the billion-dollar question regarding the Christopher Nolan-produced Superman reboot. Just last week, Deadline reported that Nolan’s shortlist for directors had been narrowed down to five: Duncan Jones, Jonathon Liebesman, Matt Reeves, Tony Scott, and Zack Snyder.

Well, now we can add another name to the rumor mill: Darren Aronofsky. According to the Los Angeles Times, Christopher Nolan and his wife/producer Emma Thomas are interested in applying Aronofsky’s supremely unique vision to the David Goyer and Jonathon Nolan-penned screenplay. But isn’t Aronofsky already in talks to direct X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2, starring his friend and former colleague, Hugh Jackman?

In fact, Darren Aronofsky suspiciously refused to answer questions about whether or not he was up for the job of directing the Jackman vehicle and X-Men prequel/sequel. Specifically, when asked why he was meeting with Fox Co-Chairman Tom Rothman at the Toronto Film Festival, Aronofsky played coy and pretended like the whole thing never happened.

Check out the video for yourself:

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. […] Even though I’ve been attached to all these comic book [movies], I never really was a comic book kid growing up. […] I didn’t really know who Wolverine was until I met Hugh Jackman and got to know it. […] Of course, I grew up with Batman and Superman and Spider-Man a little bit, but I’m not the biggest comic book fan, even though I’ve been attached to a lot of them. It would be fun to do one, [but] it’s just finding the right situation, the right project.”

The only comic book property Darren Aronofsky was previously attached to was the Batman reboot—with a screenplay he co-wrote with Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City)—before Christopher Nolan got his hands on it and made Batman Begins. The phrase “I’ve been attached to all these comic book [movies],” certainly seems to indicate that he has been in talks to direct not only one or two comic book movies, but possibly even three—Batman, Wolverine 2, and Superman. Indeed, maybe Nolan feels bad about swiping Batman out from under Aronofsky? Maybe The Man of Steel is his way of apologizing?

Interestingly enough, Darren Aronofsky is the third director whose name has been associated with both Man of Steel and Wolverine 2 behind Matt Reeves (Let Me In) and Tony Scott (who’s currently attached to direct another comic book movie, an adaptation of the Mark Millar comic book, Nemesis).

And in related news, Ben Affleck, hot off directing and starring in the surprise heist movie hit, The Town, was also in talks to direct The Man of Steel as recently as last week, before removing himself from the running. Which begs the question—is there anyone left in Hollywood who hasn’t been tapped to direct this movie?

If you were in Christopher Nolan’s shoes, whom would you choose to direct The Man of Steel? Darren Aronofsky, one of the five directors on Deadline’s shortlist, or somebody else altogether? Frankly, I’d be more than happy with Aronofsky helming the project, but I’d also be interested in seeing what Duncan Jones (Moon) could do with it. Either way, it’s refreshing to see that Nolan and company aren’t limiting their choices to traditional blockbuster directors of the Michael Bay variety.

Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, the ballet psychodrama  Black Swan, is being touted as one of the filmmaker’s finest by those few lucky enough to have seen it. It recently showed at the Toronto International Film Festival and debuts to the general public on December 1st.

Meanwhile, The Man of Steel hits theaters in December 2012. A director announcement is surely imminent, so keep an eye out. Best to stay up to date with us on Twitter: @screenrant

Sources: Los Angeles Times, MTV, and The Hollywood Reporter

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  1. all i know is, if they keep taking their time deciding…it’ll be dec. 2012 already and we’ll have no film.

  2. As long as we’re going crazy on this, here are some other suggestions:

    If you’re going for a kind of pure action/manliness route, you could do Sylvester Stallone or Martin Campbell (Casino Royale).

    And Steven Spielberg– he hasn’t made anything since, what? Some DNC election rally flick?

    Or, if you wanna get totally out there, Clint Eastwood could do something interesting. I’d like to see a Superman movie made on the cheap.

    Do the Coens have anything lined up after True Grit? I thought they were supposed to adapt Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, but it looks like that died.

    Tarantino, anyone?

    Alex Proyas?

    Peter Berg (if he can make the oh-so-crazy investment in a tripod)?

    Michael Mann (the first tentpole film in 60p)?

    • Some interesting suggestions here. I actually think Alex Proyas could do an interesting comic book film – as he did with The Crow. That said, I think he’d be better suited for a less iconic character. Peter Berg had Hancock (which I think may have been produced by Michael Mann?). Campbell, of course, has Green Lantern.

      I suppose someone could throw John Woo’s name into the mix, too. Of course, Superman might have trouble avoiding all those doves while flying. Whoever the choice is, let us hope the director is more Christoper Nolan & less Joel Schumacher. :)

  3. Chris Nolan should direct it himself.

    • Best believe if they don’t find anyone “worthy enough” he will direct it himself. Especially if he doesn’t have anything but batman 3 lined up

      • They come out the same year, so that’s really unlikely.

    • Would that conflict with production on ‘Batman 3′? Both films will be released the same year, and filming would coincide with each other, wouldn’t it?

  4. A Scorsese version intrigues me… but I’m sure we would all like a director who can live long enough to complete the project and attend the premiere.

  5. Aronofsky and no one else.

  6. Aronofsky is great but not right for this film at all, I’d like to see Affleck do this as he has the talent and is experienced with huge productions himself.

    I still say Len Wiseman would be a good choice.

    • I agree Sam. When I heard the Affleck rumor it clicked for me. He’s a good choice. Some one above suggested Eastwood and I think the two have similar styles both would be a good choice.

      • I’m not a huge Eastwood fan as a director, but I thought Affleck was a great choice, but he has already turned it down.

  7. Here is a crazy idea. How’s about someone who actually knows about comics? I am so sick of hearing “I was never the biggest fan of comics growing up.” That is not what I want to hear. I want to hear “I F’N LOVE SUPERMAN AND WANT NOTHING MORE IN THIS WORLD THAN TO MAKE A REALLY GREAT SUPERMAN MOVIE THAT THE FANS WILL ENJOY.” I would like to see Kevin Smiths take on it. He wrote it once. Why not direct it? They dance around Superman because apparently nobody in this world can play Superman like Christopher Reeve. Well I’m gonna say it. I liked those movies when I was 5. Now I wouldn’t pee on it if it was on fire. The first one was okay. The rest were crap. Superman Returns had potential until the writer got on crack and decided he was stupid too. The problem was that they were continuing to build on the same stupid movies they did in the 70′s. Give it up. Get a director that wants to do the movie. Get a writer that is not a complete Retard. Get Tom Welling or Brandon Routh to be Superman and make a real Superman movie that kicks all forms of ass.

    • Thanks thats the craziest thing i heard all day. Christopher Reeve looked better on wires flying around the earth than CGI Superman did in SR.

    • You’re right on Tater, except about who should play SUPERMAN..

      The most thought of approach to the SUPERMAN reboot is who can play this role of a super man. What human actor can even begin to equal the look and physical appearance of this truly larger than life super man? The answer is … no one.

      Chris Reeve got close, but although his facial features were acceptable, he still lacked the physique that is SUPERMAN’S. No human actor we know of that would be considered for that role is a superhuman actor, nor can any come close to filling that role completely. The wonderful graphic depictions of the man of steel by various artists demonstrate that fact most emphatically.

      Today, the art of computer generated imagery has developed to the point of perfection. Naomi Watts was computer generated in certain scenes of King Kong that were deemed too dangerous for her to perform. I defy anyone not connected with the film to tell me which scenes they were.

      The reboot of SUPERMAN could contain a computer generated SUPERMAN that could be indistinguishable from a human actor, but at the same time retain the true physical representation of SUPERMAN.

      Why this observation has apparently escaped everyone but me is a mystery.

      Let’s finally give SUPERMAN his due. He is, after all, NOT human. So why do we insist on forcing him into a human mold?

  8. Wise of Affleck to turn it down at this stage of his directing career.
    Not Aronofsky.

  9. Bryan Singer Claimed To love Superman .
    And do you know where that got us?
    Right Here.
    With a rushed reboot and possibly the worst director possible taking over.

    • Gary not even close to the worst director possible.

  10. Just let me have the job… I wont take that much pay you can send me to a crash course directing school (pay for it of course).

    It cant be any worse. I swear if I ever hit the lottery im going to make some Superhero movie (clips) better then 60% of the crap we get now adays…

    No really Im not kidding.

    • Can I be the guy that runs around setting up the “Director’s Chair” for you? I’ll take a crash course in that too.

  11. hate it

  12. If a director isn’t familiar with the material, what are the chances that director will respect the material?

    • Corey Yuen wasn’t familiar with the Jason or Freddy series and for what it was worth Freddy vs Jason was decent, but it still is a gamble especially when doing super hero films. How about Ang lee??? Ha ha j/k :D

  13. I still tout Duncan Jones as a great choice: look at what he did with Moon, literally a film with the most minimalist production values and the biggest scope of emotional and psychological range. Imagine what he could do with what would essentially be an unlimited budget.

  14. personally

    Darren Aronofsky (pi, The Wrestler)****** Yes

    Zac Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen”), ***** Yes

    Duncan Jones (“Moon,” “Source Code”) **** Maybe

    Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield,” “Let Me In”), ** Um?

    Jonathan Liebesman (“Battle: Los Angeles,” “Darkness Falls”) ** ?

    Tony Scott (“Deja Vu,” “Unstoppable”), * Nope

    • From Mojo’s list, I’d go with Zac Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen”), ***** Yes

  15. While I dont think Tony Scott will get this gig,
    I dont have a problem with the Director of Crimson Tide and Spy Game getting a crack at the Superman franchise.

    • Crimson Tide was a long time ago. Tony Scott is more miss than hit.

      • Aw, man. You know Scott would have to cast Denzel as Superman and Russell Crowe as Lex. Christopher Walken could play Perry White. :)

        • Um No, Denzel would hav a Steel cameo, Ethan Hawke would be Superman and Crowe would be Luthor

  16. Spy Game wasnt that long ago though.
    And to be fair ,Unstoppable which Mojo mentioned hasent even been released yet.

    • Yeah, but Spy Games wasn’t good, either. But that’s just my opinion.

  17. None of the mentioned directors in the article, hopefully. I honestly can’t think of anyone off the top of my head that would be suitable.

    Richard Donner? lol.

    • Greenknight. My understanding of the script is that Superman isn’t dark in it he’s the light boyscout we are used to, but the events surrounding him in the story are dark. The film is apparently suppose to contrast between the ultimate good guy fighting this darkness surrounding him.

    • The main reason I suggested Wiseman is that he did a great job on Die Hard, the action in that film was off the scale, imagine what he could do with a playground like Superman. People want a more action orientated Superman flick, then he’s the man.

      Also, when I heard Affleck, I thought he was the best choice I had heard yet. He is one of the best directors out there at the moment, he’s experienced with big productions, he knows the process, shame he turned it down.

      • Could not disagree more. Live Free and Die Hard was atrocious and the action had no sense of weight or consequence. Since it was CGI.

  18. Richard Donner.

    • Ha, Totally. sorry folks but he did it right. Just clone his style and get Tom Welling or someone like him to don the cape.

  19. I really don’t think Aronofsky would be right for a Superman project. I think his particular sensibilities and style would lead it to become “a Darren Aronofsky film” instead of a great Superman movie.

    Personally, I’m disappointed that we don’t get a follow up to Superman Returns, which deserved a better response than it got.

    • Dude. Weak. F*****g weak. Let’s make a list of movies that he kinda expelled from places we shouldn’t quite name.

      1.) X-Men

      2.) X2 – X-Men United

      3.) Superman Returns (majority consensus)

      Of those three, not even mentioning anything else, have you noticed a trend? Comic adaptations. First time, with X-Men, it was, “Eh, it’s alright. Kinda cool. What else you got?” He delivers X2. You sit in your seat, and wonder, “What…just happened?” And then he takes the precious Superman icon, and rams into the ground, permed-up hair and all. Nothing against Routh.

      Let’s take a comparison of another director, who has a worse background with filmmaking, and see what trilogy was/is screwed up:


      I do believe history repeats itself.

      CHRONICLES OF NIGHT, anyone?

      • Completely disagree with you… X1 and X2 were both great movies, while not entirely true to the source material, both kept a good flow and told fantastic stories. I don’t know why people were so put off by X2

        I don’t know how much input Singer had in the script of SR, but the only thing that ruined that movie was the kid.

        • It was his story. The kid was his idea, too. He basically told his screenwriters what to do and they did it.

    • DDD

      I loved Superman Returns, it was a wonderful film to me, one of my favourites in the genre. Not many people agree but I loved the style, the acting, the effects, everything.

      • I agree that it was awesome in everything except writing and some character choices. I really didn’t like Lois and the story was just stupid.
        Awesome things were the 9mm to the eye, the plane, and Kevin Spacey. That is what makes me so mad about this story. They totally wasted Spacey’s talent by writing a horrible story.

  20. Drsam while I havnt liked all the films he directed I am a fan of his style. He’s an excellent director just has done all great projects. Personally I hated His two war films as well as Million DB but I loved Gran Turino and Mystic River and Hereafter looks good.

    • I enjoyed Gran Torino, but the others just didnt do much for me, as an actor I think he’s great and wished he had played an aging Batman as was once suggested in the 90s, and I hate hate hate with a passion Million Dollar Baby, just an awful film.

    • I haven’t seen anything by him that I didn’t like. I would take him over any of these other wannabe’s.

  21. Drsam I hated Million DB as well I agree.

    I don’t like more of his films than I like. I loved Gran Torrino and Mystic River was a great film as well with an amazing cast. I think he is a great director I enjoy his style my problem Is usually the stories like MDB.

  22. Superman Returns was the biggest letdown in Superman history. Singer destroyed it.

    I was hoping Chris Nolan was going to direct it but with Batman 3 coming up it looks unlikely.

  23. Why is Ben Affleck being mentioned? Why there was no Daredevil 2 was because he didnt want to do another superhero movie, specifically acting but he wasnt directing then…
    other than that Aronofsky and Snyder are good.
    you must not have seen Superman IV and those are crap fests after Superman 1 and 2. But Returns was pretty crappy so I guess your right.

  24. Bryan Singer got the tone right – just the pacing wrong.

    Bring SInger and Routh back. Done.

    • I liked Superman Returns, some parts were slow, but I think the main gripe for people is that he didn’t battle any one like Doomsday, but I think the movie was done to re-introduce superman back to the public in live action form.

  25. Well said, Sin187.

    The character is re-introduced to a new generation (which was Singer’s intention) and now he can go on to do an action-sequel.