Warner Bros. has got some extreme pressure on them right now to get one film right, and I would argue there are no higher stakes for any film or any studio in town than there are for “Justice League”.
We’ve heard reports about Will Beall, screenwriter of “Gangster Squad,” working on a new take on the script, and reports seem to indicate a fair amount of excitement about his take on the material within the studio. Now it looks like they’re approaching a director, and we probably shouldn’t be surprised by the name since they’ve been quite open about their affection for the work of Ben Affleck, with his new film “Argo” preparing to hit the festival circuit prior to its release later this year.
While I’m not sure I get the “only directing films he stars in” thing from the Variety article, since “Gone Baby Gone” was critically acclaimed, kicked off his directing career, and featured nary a shot of his face. Besides, I have trouble believing that after “Hollywoodland” and “Daredevil,” Affleck is in any hurry to put on any superhero costume again. Still, the notion of Afflect both directing and starring in a “Justice League” film is intriguing. One of the things I like about Affleck’s sensibilities as a director is that he has a very realistic approach to the stories he tells. “Justice League” could use that, especially since it’s going to be a tricky balancing act bringing together Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, The Green lantern, and more for the film.
There are so many variables in the mix here that it’s hard to really get a bead on what to expect. After all, we haven’t seen “Man Of Steel” yet. We have no idea what Warner Bros. is thinking about Batman at this point. Based on the response to last year’s “Green Lantern,” that is still a big question mark for the studio, too. Do they bring back Ryan Reynolds and hope that a better film would make the difference, or is that now considered tainted goods?
Interestingly enough, Greg Berlanti, who was part of the writing and producing team on “Green Lantern,” could be the reason Affleck does not sign on to do “Justice League.” Berlanti is set to direct “Replay,” based on an amazing Ken Grimwood novel. I spent several years chasing the rights to “Replay,” and once Warner Bros. got hold of them, my own interest became a moot point. It’s a great , sprawling, emotional science-fiction story that Affleck would star in if he accepts the offer, and that film’s schedule might keep Affleck out of contention on “Justice League,” which Warner Bros. should try to get into theaters before “The Avengers 2” arrives in what we now assume will be 2015. If the two films do end up in theaters during the same summer, it sounds like a really bloody battle between studios, and based on their track record with DC properties, I’d have a hard time betting on Warner Bros. to win that particular fight.
All of this is still early days, of course, since Affleck hasn’t agreed to anything at this point. Still, it’s obvious that this is important to the studio and that they are moving forward with plans. We’ll see how it plays out in the days to come.
“Argo” arrives in theaters Oct. 12, 2012.