Earth to Echo

#10. Dave Green

I’ve been hearing good advance buzz about Dave Green‘s Earth to Echo, which is a small-budget ($5 million) found-footage ET-style action adventure film. It is set to open the Los Angeles Film Festival next month. The film is supposedly a good mix of visual effects, heart and humor, which seems like a good resume for an Ant-Man hopeful. Echo was actually developed and produced by Disney but the mouse house didn’t feel like the low budget film fit their release strategy and sold the worldwide distribution of the film to Relativity.

Not only does Green have connections to Disney but also to Marvel: Dave started as producer Grant Curtis’ assistant on Marvel and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 and 3. Green’s funny short films (some of which we covered on the site) landed him the gig on Echo. Green places #10 on the list because he’s my wildcard choice, having not yet seen Echo myself.

Dave is currently developing a big screen adaptation of Lore for star Dwayne Johnson and Warner Bros, based on the IDW comic book about a young man who must defend the world from legendary beasts from folklore. In August 2013, Green replaced Barry Sonnenfeld who left over budget disagreements. The MIB-esque film has been in the works for a few years now. But it looks like the project is still undergoing script revisions, and is not likely to go ahead soon.

Michelle MacLaren

 #9. Michelle MacLaren

Canadian television director Michelle MacLaren is best known for her work on The X-Files, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and HBO’s Game of Thrones. MacLaren got Emmy nominations for the Season 3 episode of Breaking Bad titled “One Minute” (in which [spoiler invisotext, highlight to reveal]  Hank receives an anonymous call telling him he has one minute before someone is to attack him) and the season 5 mid-season finale episode titled “Gliding Over All” (which featured [spoiler invisotext, highlight to reveal] the awesome Goodfellas-like montage of Walt taking out Mike’s nine associates and lawyer, Walt quitting the business for his family only to end with Hank’s bathroom reading revelation).

MacLaren is known for directing dark, dramatic, sometimes tension-filled, yet funny episodes. That might not be the perfect fit for Ant-Man, but she is an interesting choice for sure. She knows how to play and raise the tension of a scene and has some experience with action, which could work for Ant-Man‘s reported heist-storyline. She has one feature directing credit, a dramatic horror mystery film titled Population 436 which played some film festivals and went direct to DVD in 2006.

Jeffrey Blitz

#8. Jeffrey Blitz

Jeffrey Blitz helmed one of my favorite documentaries, Spellbound, and also directed the feature film Rocket Science, which won him the Sundance Film Festival Directing Award in 2007. Both films are solid, with Rocket Science being a must watch (Anna Kendrick provides an amazing performance).

I wasn’t as big of a fan as Blitz’ second documentary Lucky, but his television work has been critically acclaimed. He helmed 11 episodes of The Office, he won an Emmy for the episode titled “Stress Relief”. Hes since helmed a trio of pilots and a whole season of Review on Comedy Central, and was (is he still?) attached to Table 19. That’s a script by Jay and Mark Duplass (who were originally set to direct) about a group of strangers who meet at the “losers” table at a wedding. Blitz does some great character work, and is able to handle comedy and heart.

Jack Bender

#7.  Jack Bender

Jack Bender is a veteran director who has been directing television since 1980. He has directed over 150 episodes of television, which include Felicity, Carnivàle, AliasThe SopranosBoston PublicAlcatraz and Under The Dome. He has a couple of old feature film credits which include Child’s Play 3, but he has really come into his own in recent years, most notably his 38-episode run on Lost. He directed my favorite episode of the series the season 4 episode titled ”The Constant” (which followed  [spoiler invisotext, highlight to reveal]Desmond’s struggle with his consciousness traveling through time).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDmKqcWLYKc

He also directed the fantastic season 3 finale “Through the Looking Glass” (which  [spoiler invisotext, highlight to reveal] was the surprise first flash forward).

Marvel has a history of hiring television directors and Jack Bender is one of the most notable sci-fi television directors working today. He knows how to bring emotion and tension to a scene and is able to work under tight production constraints. Marvel needs someone who can come in and direct their movie, a veteran television director would be the obvious solution. So if Marvel is going to hire a television director, why not hire THE television director?

Bender isn’t happy with his small screen success, he has been trying to make the play for a big screen breakout. He’s been developing a thriller film called Devolution for Legendary Pictures and World War Z writer Max Brooks for the past few years (plot details are still under wraps) and was working on a Bad Robot mystery/thriller titled 7 Minutes in Heaven about two teens who play 7 Minutes in Heaven at a party, but when they return to their friends, they find them all dead. (That project is likely also dead at this point.)

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