The Christopher Nolan-produced Superman reboot, The Man of Steel, has been dominating headlines since it was announced back in February. Fan excitement and speculation reached dizzying new heights last week with reports that Nolan and his producing partner Emma Thomas had drawn up a short list of directors for the project.
Yesterday it was revealed that one important name had been left off of that list- Darren Aronofsky. According to Moviehole, there might actually be more to that left-field decision than meets the eye. One of their sources claims Aronofsky's involvement might be crucial for Warner Bros. to land their first choice for the role of Lois Lane - Natalie Portman.
Evidently they wanted her for Superman Returns before Kate Bosworth landed the part. They're confident they can get Portman to sign on this time as long as Aronofsky is calling the shots. It would seem they're banking on the relationship that was forged between the two of them during the making of the upcoming Black Swan.
Now obviously we're a long way from any deals being made, but is it possible that Aronofsky could use Portman as a bargaining chip to emerge as the frontrunner in this race?
He's an incredible director and I'm all for Nolan making a less-obvious choice, but I'm not sure his style would be a great match for Superman. I want to remind everyone of something Nolan said back in June:
What you have to remember about Batman and Superman is that what makes them the best superhero characters there are, the most beloved after all this time, is the essence of who they were when they were created, when they were first developed. You can’t move too far away from that.
That simple statement is the reason I'm not crazy about Aronofsky going anywhere near Superman. He's immensely talented and probably would have made a great Batman movie (particularly that revisionist Year One film he and Frank Miller were working on), but Batman is not Superman. As a filmmaker he seem to be at odds with the core elements of the character and his mythology. I can't help but wonder if his potential involvement reveals something about the tone of David Goyer's script.
As for Portman, she would certainly be an upgrade from Bosworth. In my opinion there were several boneheaded casting decisions in Superman Returns, but none quite as off the mark as that one. It didn't help that by setting the movie in Donner's universe Singer was immediately inviting comparisons between Bosworth and Margot Kidder (who remains the quintessential Lois in my mind).
The fact that this is a complete reboot certainly helps, but I'm not 100% sold on Portman either. She would certainly bring more credibility and authority to the role, but my favorite versions of Lois are the ones that are as exuberant as they are intelligent and my immediate reaction is that Portman isn't quite vivacious enough to pull that off.
Quite honestly, I feel that Nolan dropped the ball with his leading ladies in both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (*ducks to avoid projectiles*) so I'm really hoping Superman avoids a similar fate. It comes down to the same concern I'd have with Aronofsky taking the reigns - these are very talented individuals, but I can't help feeling like there are better choices.