It can be a double-edged sword for a screenwriter to find themselves suddenly “hot,” because with that heat comes a certain degree of expectation, and considering how little control writers really have over the end result of their labors, you can do everything right and still end up with your head on the chopping block once a film is actually finished.
Take Will Beall, for example. So far, that first trailer for “Gangster Squad” is fairly persuasive, and the script garnered enough buzz that every young actor in Hollywood was fighting to get cast in the ensemble period piece. Warner Bros. obviously had a good experience with Beall overall because they hired him to write their “Lethal Weapon” reboot, and they also have him hard at work trying to finally solve “Logan’s Run” for Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling. Beall’s been annointed by the studio, so it is little wonder that they have turned to him to help figure out a project that may well be the single most important in-development project at Warner Bros. right now.
Like “Logan’s Run,” there have been many attempts at making a “Justice League” movie over the last decade or so, and all of those attempts have failed. At one point, George Miller actually had WETA hard at work on costumes and effects tests, and they got as far as casting folks like Common as the Green Lantern, Armie Hammer as Batman, and Adam Brody as the Flash. While that cast has always had good things to say about the film they almost made and the WETA team seemed heartbroken that they weren’t going to get to do some of the more radical things they had planned, I’ve also talked to many people who were baffled by the script and who felt that Warner Bros. dodged a bullet when they didn’t make it.
Whatever the case, I’m guessing they’re going to start over with development now that Will Beall has been brought on to write a “Justice League” film, and that “The Avengers” is going to be a big part of the conversation they have in the weeks and months ahead. If Warner hopes to have even one small part of the impact that “The Avengers” did with their “Justice League,” they’re going to have to hope they get all the characters right. After all, their ability to spin off The Flash, Wonder Woman, or even a new version of Batman is going to be depend largely on how well the public reacts to this new version of the characters, and they all need to make an impression for this to work.
I don’t envy Warner with their DC projects right now. Marvel has pretty much consistently spanked them for the last few years, and while “The Dark Knight Rises” looks great and I’m hearing some really intriguing things about “Man Of Steel,” those films also benefit from having strong voices like Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan in the mix. You can’t just throw money at a problem like “Justice League.” It’s going to take a filmmaker who is deeply passionate about the project and a script that manages to serve its many masters well.
Good luck, Mr. Beall. You’re going to need it.