The Nightwing movie may be a long way away, but the director is already promising fans a movie the hero deserves - and a star actor who can live up to the role. An entry into the world of DC Films as a former Batman sidekick is attractive to just about every actor in Hollywood, with stars lining up to get on the shortlist for Nightwing. Director Chris McKay proved his skills with the world of Gotham City in The LEGO Batman Movie, meaning fans and potential leads have reason to be optimistic from the start. But as the planned film is beginning to take shape, McKay makes it clear that his love of Nightwing may mean some bad news for the actor who lands the lead role.
Every fan knows Dick Grayson is among the most athletic heroes in the entire DC Universe. And according to McKay, the star of the Nightwing movie will need to become the same. This entry in the DCEU will be built on martial arts, acrobatic action, and stunt work worthy of the comics - an experience McKay says will require "full commitment" from its leading man.
When pressed on the depths of his love for the character of Dick Grayson - after stating a Nightwing tattoo was in his future - McKay sent a series of Tweets outlining what makes the former sidekick's story so special. His appraisal drives home the reasons he sees Nightwing as a "fascinating" DC hero, but also offers some context for the standard McKay is setting for his own movie. And, perhaps more importantly, what conventions he may try to avoid:
"The story of Dick Grayson, becoming Robin, then becoming Nightwing played out for us, the audience, in the comics in REAL TIME. It wasn't a flashback. We experienced it. So all of Robin/Nightwing's successes and failures we were along for the ride. And people that underestimated Robin or dismissed him perhaps had their opinions changed as we watched him "grow up" right in front of us. His relationships, his conflicts with Batman et al felt real to me because he was the window character with which we experienced Gotham City."
With the direction of Matt Reeves's Batman movie still unknown, it's possible that audiences' first expansive look at the Gotham of the DCEU will come in Nightwing (assuming Grayson still calls the port home). Fans may also wonder whether McKay's comments rule out the flashbacks expected in future DCEU movies. Regardless of how the film pays service or explanation of Grayson's time as Batman's sidekick, fans can assume Nightwing won't follow the typical Batman style. When one follower responded that they considered Nightwing to be a showcase for Superman AND Batman's best qualities, McKay responded with a simple "Agreed."
The actor McKay is looking for to actually bring those qualities to life... well, that's the part of the director's discussion that should really get fans everywhere on the edge of their seats. The role seems to still be unclaimed, judging by McKay's wording - meaning he must not have heard that Dave Franco would play Nightwing, or seen the art of Drake Bell as Dick Grayson. It sounds like McKay is actually - get this - focusing on what the role demands before the actor best suited for the part already.
That may sound like business as usual, but with the disappointing action of Marvel's Iron Fist still echoing across Netflix, and Arrow's star proving he's a Ninja Warrior, the Nightwing enthusiasts are in for a treat. When fans responded with hopes that his eventual star would share that same love of Grayson, McKay stated it as a requirement. Not just to get the character "right" from a creative perspective... but to endure the physical and emotional toll taken by basically becoming Nightwing:
"He has to. It has to be full commitment. Every day. It is going to be grueling from a martial arts, gymnastics and stunt perspective. Also emotionally taxing. It's going to be real."
That's the kind of description that may scare away actors drawn to the idea that Nightwing would be a "lighter" Batman franchise. But for the DC fans hoping to see a movie Nightwing as physically, athletically, and technically gifted as his comic book counterpart... well, it sounds like the first movie of its kind.
Now the only question is... which actor wants it bad enough?
Source: Chris McKay
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