DC Comics' Justice League Dark-inspired film Dark Universe is still a ways off but director Doug Liman is discussing his approach. Turns out both him and the studio want a superhero film unlike anything else out there. He just had to figure out how not to put any of the women in jeopardy.
Guillermo Del Toro was attached to this project for quite a while before it seemed he and Warner Bros. parted ways on it (probably due to his ever-growing production schedule). They moved ahead with an animated film featuring the same characters which is set for a 2017 release and will feature Matt Ryan reprising his television role of Constantine.
But as it turned out, Warner Bros. wasn't ready to let go of a live-action film and hired Mr. and Mrs. Smith and The Bourne Identity director Doug Liman to lead the magical cast.
IGN.com spoke to Liman about his new VR series Invisible and worked in a few Justice League Dark questions. “I get asked to come in and do things that are 'unconventional.' If people want conventional, they don”t come to me,” he said. “And so you know when Warner Bros. wants to sort of turn the comic book genre on its head, they call me.”
Since he hasns't done a superhero film before, Liman said he's trying to come up with a way “to do it in a way that no one”s done it before,” and was reminded of his past work:
I promised myself I wasn”t going to have a “WIJ,” which is a term they used in film school — “W,” “I,” “J”: Woman In Jeopardy. I went to USC film school, briefly, which is a very traditional film school. A lot of the graduates end up making big Hollywood movies. … And they”re like look, the third act you have a WIJ. All moves, you know, all movies have a WIJ in the third act — a woman in jeopardy. That”s how you know you”re in the third act, is a woman”s in jeopardy!
And going into Bourne Identity, I told Matt Damon, on day one — when I met him the first time to convince him to do the movie — I was like, “We”re not going to have a WIJ.” I didn”t have a script yet, I said I”m not going to have a WIJ. We”re just not going to take the woman hostage. I don”t know how I”m going to end the movie, but I can tell you right now the CIA is not going to grab Franka Potente.
And then…he realized he didn't know what to do with the third act because he'd been trained to stick to that cliche. “We actually were having trouble ending Bourne Identity and it was like, at some point I was like 'F***. The CIA should just grab Franka Potente. It solves all our problems.'” he told IGN. When actor Matt Damon reminded him of their chat he found another way.
We still don't know which DC characters will actually make it into this one – names like Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Constantine, Etrigan, Deadman, and the Enchantress were previously floated – but there's a lot of room for great female characters to shine. So here's hoping when Liman says he has “some rules like that for myself for Dark Universe,” they'll all be taking care of something else in the third act.