Guy Ritchie has been busy lately wrapping up work on the newly named Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and it looks like the director won't have much time to rest.
According to an exclusive report from Vulture, Warner Bros. is looking to work with the Sherlock Holmes director again for Xerxes, a pseudo-prequel to Frank Miller's graphic novel, 300. As you'll likely recall, 300 was turned into an epic action movie by Superman director Zack Snyder, pretty much launching the director into his big-time Hollywood career.
In fact, the last time we wrote about Xerxes, Snyder was busy working on the script for the film and being looked at as its likely director. So what happened that made Warner Bros. want to go with Richie instead of Snyder?
Vulture offers a few reasonable guesses, none of which paint a particularly pretty picture for Snyder. One rumor is that Warner Bros. wants Snyder to focus all of his attention on completing Superman: Man of Steel, which is said to have some "major third-act problems" (The script was criticized in reports back in October as well).
Because of the long-standing legal drama associated with Superman, it's important that Warner Bros. starts production on the film before 2013. If they don't, the studio will lose the Superman franchise rights to the estates of the original creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
Another rumor is that Warner Bros. is unhappy with Snyder's upcoming film, Sucker Punch. As a big-time Snyder fan, I've been eagerly awaiting the high-energy Sucker Punch since I first saw footage of the film at Comic-Con. However, I know that Snyder's style doesn't work for all filmgoers (as demonstrated by the lackluster box office response to Watchmen).
According to a Vulture insider, test audiences for Sucker Punch have been fairly negative in reviewing the film and Warner Bros. is worried about the finished product. Personally, I'm still interested in seeing Sucker Punch, and I know a lot of my Screen Rant colleagues agree. While test audiences are certainly useful, they don't always accurately reflect the quality of a film, merely its projected success. Of course, in Hollywood, the bottom line is really all that matters.
Naturally, Richie's version of Xerxes would be much, much different than 300, but maybe that's not a bad thing. Ritchie also has a unique visual style that I like, and he is definitely a good candidate to bring Miller's graphic novel to life on the big screen.