The world has changed a lot in seven years, particularly perceptions of how a superhero movie should play out. And that's why renowned comic book author Antony Johnston hopes Daredevil can have a better crack at the big screen his second time around.
It was reported earlier this year that the so-called Man Without Fear would be getting a reboot - a la Hulk and The Punisher - with a script being written by David Scarpa, whose last major project was penning The Day The Earth Stood Still remake.
Johnston, whose work includes popular post-apocalyptic series Wasteland and the graphic novel Julius (which itself is set to be given the movie treatment with Law Abiding Citizen's F. Gary Gray directing), is now working on Daredevil - the comic series - with Andy Diggle, the man behind The Losers.
Speaking with Comic Book Movies, Johnston shared his thoughts about the direction a new Daredevil should take after the Marvel character (arguably) misfired in 2003 with Ben Affleck playing the lead and Mark Steven Johnson (Ghost Rider, When in Rome) directing.
And Johnston pulled no punches when it came to that original version, which co-starred Colin Farrell as the villain Bullseye and Jennifer Garner as the love interest/assassin, Elektra.
"I think it (the reboot) just needs to take itself more seriously, and quit goofing around. I took my girlfriend to see the first movie on opening night, and the combination of bad CGI and nonsensical story had me cringing in my seat. The performances really weren’t bad — even Affleck was pretty good, I thought — but in 2003, producers still believed a superhero movie had to have its tongue at least half-planted in its cheek. The success of the first Spider-Man movie didn’t help matters in that regard. But that attitude just doesn’t serve a character like DD, especially when you’re ostensibly trying to tell a serious story."
Like most of us, Johnston has since been seduced by the power of Christopher Nolan to bring to life comic book superheroes in a not-so comic book kind of way.
“Now that the Nolan Batman movies have proven you don’t have to be cute to make a good and successful superhero movie, we’ll hopefully see something more like that for a new Daredevil. As for stories, I hope (but doubt) that we won’t need to go through the origin yet again. I think pretty much any story since (Brian Michael) Bendis’ run started would work; something like the King of Hell’s Kitchen arc could be great on-screen.”
The first Daredevil managed to cover its production costs by making a touch over $100 million at the U.S. box office, but a direct sequel was never really considered. Elektra, who stole Daredevil's thunder from his own movie, got herself a spin-off, but the thing bombed. Not quite as bad as Halle Berry's Catwoman, but close enough.
Two years ago, 20th Century Fox co-chairman Tim Rothman opened up about a possible Daredevil reboot after Sin City creator Frank Miller and action star Jason Statham championed its cause.
With it finally getting the go-ahead, no doubt fans of the character are now hoping that a new Daredevil will not be a slapped-together affair whose MO is simply allowing 20th Century Fox to stave Disney/Marvel off from reclaiming the character rights.
Of course, it starts with the script and Scarpa as a screenwriter does not fill me with an abundance of confidence. Let’s hope the producers aren’t as blind as Matt Murdock.
But what about the acting talent? Who is capable of taking over for Affleck? Johnston has an opinion on that as well, with Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Gamer), said to be a favorite among fans.
"I think he’d be a fine choice, sure. The main thing is finding someone who can simultaneously combine the heroism and vulnerability of Matt Murdock, and Hall could definitely do that. But so could someone like, say, Damien Lewis — who I’ve also seen proposed by fans, but that might just be because he has red hair...! I don’t know if I have a personal favorite; honestly, I haven’t given it that much thought, I’m not one of these writers who 'casts' a comic in his head while writing it. How about Zach Quinto? He’d be an interesting choice."
Daredevil certainly deserves another chance to succeed, albeit in a much darker and grittier way than the 2003 film, but is the reboot in safe enough hands? Should Marvel itself be given the chance to take the reins?
Source: Comic Book Movies
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