Justice League Directors Assemble – Enter THE MATRIX !?
Article by Charlie Dunlap
Since witnessing The Avengers become the third highest-grossing film of all time through its earnings of $1.3 billion worldwide, Warner Bros. (home of DC Comics film division – DC Entertainment) has been igniting online rumors in their search for a suitable director to helm their inevitable and much-anticipated Justice League film.
Yahoo’s Movietalk reports that the JLA (short for Justice League of America) film was originally envisioned as an independent creation with fresh actors like Armie Hammer attached to play Batman, D.J. Cotrona as Superman, Adam Brody as the Flash, and Megan Gale as Wonder Woman. Attached to this project was George Miller – director of the first two cult classic Mad Max films. The 2007 Writers Guild strike reportedly put the production in a state of indefinite hiatus, however, after which time Miller moved on to helm the currently-filming Mad Max reboot: Fury Road.
After a period of relative silence on the project, Ben Affleck recently splashed across online headlines as the latest contender to take on DC’s infamous JLA universe. Although Cinema Blend believes it’s likely that “Affleck’s name is still in the mix,”other web sites like IGN seem confident in their reporting on Affleck quickly shooting down such rumors. Empire reports that Affleck even spoke to the Canadian press about the matter, stating that, “It sounds really exciting, but it’s not something I’m working on.”
The latest buzz this week derives from rumors reported by numerous outlets that place Andy and Lana Wachowski as the latest contenders to take on the JLA. Having mastered their craft on the groundbreaking Matrix franchise, followed by 2005′s excellent V for Vendetta (another DC Comics film also for Warners Bros.), this would arguably place the fate of the JLA universe in interestingly solid hands.
Critics and skeptics could argue this point, citing the mixed reactions earned from the Wachowskis’ Matrix sequels and their most recent and visually dazzling – if comparably vapid and unnecessary – remake of 2008′s Speed Racer. The buzz on their upcoming sci-fi drama, Cloud Atlas (also co-directed by Run Lola Run maverick, Tom Tykwer), however, seems to quickly be erasing the forgettable tracks left in Speed Racer’s wake. All obsessive fandom nit-picking aside, it’s difficult to deny the generally strong output of this brother and sister duo. In surveying the surprisingly polished depth and mind-twisting effectiveness of early films like The Matrix and V for Vendetta, it’s clear that the Wachowskis have exhibited both the technical chops and screenwriting depth required to rival – and even potentially surpass -Joss Whedon’s technically impressive yet perhaps necessarily simplistic attempts to wring dramatic depth from the crowded world of the The Avengers.
Further fueling such potential, Mark Millar – the writer who created the comic books that inspired Wanted and Kick-Ass – posted on his official website, MillarWorld.tv, that someone he knows is friends with current JLA screenwriter Will Beall (scribe for the upcoming Gangster Squad, boasting a stellar cast including Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and many others) and got a peek at an unfinished script. Millar reported that the new take on the movie is “Very real-world and not at all what you might expect.” He said Beall began working on the script before The Avengers hit theaters, and that the “tidbits I heard sound quite dark and mature, which isn’t what I expected.” This is all quite interesting, especially considering that while the Wachowskis have generally preferred to swim in more imaginative realms, they’ve always found interesting ways to intersect reality and fantasy in often dark and disturbing ways – a trend that seems to only be continuing with the upcoming Cloud Atlas.
Before we get too excited, however, the Wachowskis have neither confirmed nor denied their involvement with the film, leaving journalists and fans to debate the mixed possibility of their involvement. As Empire states: “While we’re certain their names would be on Warners’ list (especially given their history with the studio and their avowed love for comic book characters), they’re not known for leaping onto other peoples projects, preferring to self-generate their own movies.” Regardless of their eventual answer, the Wachowskis are clearly taking the time to carefully consider the possibility of bringing the JLA to the silver screen. Until they break their silence, one can only wish they were a fly on the wall in that room!
Charlie Dunlap is a passionate, life-long writer and student of film, who recently returned to Denver, CO after obtaining his masters degree in communication at Saint Louis University.