WETA Joins Justice League

Justice League of America, Alex Ross

Let’s forget everything we think we know about the Justice League film for a second and look at the facts: George Miller, the guy behind Mad Max and Babe, is attached to direct; the screenplay is from two unproven writers; Christian Bale and Brandon Routh are not in it; and as of today Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop is a lock to create the slew of iconic costumes for the 2010 tentpole. Knock, knock, it’s Adam Brody from The O.C. as the Flash. Get out Brody! You’re not a fact. You’re just “probably true”! Call me bonkers, but I’m not ready to trash this project yet, pretty no-name faces attached. Even with moderate expectations, I say some spectacular visuals from Miller’s vision the likes we haven’t seen before are guaranteed; and if they’re PG visuals, so be it.

Producer Barrie Osbourne (LOTR, Face/Off, The Water Horse) confirmed the involvement of the physical-effects arm of Weta to The Dominion Post and stated that Weta Digital might join the project at a later date.

“They are doing all the costumes and they’re doing a brilliant job. A lot of people thought it would be too hard, that you can only make those things in Hollywood.”

Osbourne also lent his full support to the project, saying…

“George Miller has a great take on the material, so it elevates it to something that’s not a comic-book movie,” he said.

Does Weta’s involvement in any way change your hopes for the first movie that will see Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash and Aquaman together on screen?

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Bryan Singer and Brandon Routh Off Superman Sequel?

A sequel to Superman Returns has been in limbo since the beginning. Warner Bros was unhappy with how the film performed, and fans were unhappy with the lack of action and unnecessary out-of-canon third act plot twist. But director Bryan Singer showed up at Comic Con expressing his desire to make a sequel that would give the fans what they wanted. Warner later announced that Superman: Man of Steel was given the official go-ahead, and a June 2009 release date was touted. Then Singer got distracted by the Tom Cruise WWII film, and a Justice League movie appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

Variety’s Anne Thompson wrote a blog post last week which I quickly dismissed as an opinion piece. But I’ve since been told that the comments were more fact based than opinion. So here are Anne’s comments about the current state of the Superman sequel, Justice League and third Batman film:

“Speaking of DC Comics pics, it is highly unlikely that Bryan Singer will return to shoot the next Superman movie. (The director is finishing up Tom Cruise’s Nazi film Valkyrie, and prepping The Mayor of Castro Street). The next Superman we will see on the big screen will not be Brandon Routh, but a younger Superman among a cast of youthful superheroes in The Justice League. That movie will likely not be shot, however, until after the WGA strike is resolved. Warners is so happy with Dark Knight that their fondest hope is that Nolan will return to do another Batman.”

Warner appears to want to do a total reboot with the DC comic line-up, aside from their successful Batman franchise. So it sounds to me like Routh might also be out as Superman (ie read: MY SPECULATION, not Anne’s), which is a shame considering he didn’t do a bad job. Plus, why bring Singer’s extra baggage on for Justice and the sequel? It’s bad enough that they’ll have two Batmans to market.

And while I love Singer, and wish he would return for Man of Steel, I must admit it’s a smart move by the Warner execs to cast a new Superman for Justice League. They’re planning for a franchise. They want a young star who can take on a trilogy or two.

But Warner Bros doesn’t understand is that fans don’t want the teen titans. They don’t want more-cartoony. But this appears to be the direction they are heading towards. I’m convinced that fans want dark and edgy, real but tounge firmly in cheek, action packed but with a dramatic backbone. Why can’t the studios look back at how the former comic book movie franchises fell, and see that this is the wrong move to make? Maybe because while most everyone I’ve talked to hated Spider-Man 3, it is still the 12th highest grossing film of all time. And with statisics like that floating around, executives are likely to believe that fans want things like multiple villains and corny dance sequences in Jazz clubs.

And it’s a shame because I think Singer could have made an incredible Superman sequel if he was given the space. But that film, we might never ever see.

Batman vs. Superman

Batman vs. Superman in I Am Legend

Over the weekend we got a ton of emails from readers who saw I Am Legend. You see, during the opening sequence in an abandoned Time Square, a huge billboard is visible advertising a Batman vs. Superman feature film which will hit theaters on 05-15-10. Fans have started to speculate that this could be the Justice League movie. As we’ve told you before, director George Miller recently announced that the Justice League film was still on the fast track, but would be released under a new title. And rumor has it that a fight between The Dark Knight and The Man of Steel is a main focal point of the Justice League script.

But don’t get too excited, producers are saying that the poster in the movie is a completely fictional creation. The sight gag was an addition to the film by screenwriter/producer Akiva Goldsman, who was originally attached to a Superman vs. Batman screenplay that never got produced. So calm down – there isn’t going to be a Batman vs. Superman movie just yet. A very cool easter egg indeed.

photo: Tuna

Jay Baruchel Cast in Justice League?

Jay BaruchelKnocked Up and The Rules of Attraction star Jay Baruchel sat down with Le Journal de Montreal and revealed that he has been cast in an ultra secret big budget project for Warner Bros. ObsessedWithFilm provides the following translation:

“He’s been chosen by Warner to star in the next big fantasy action film, scheduled for 2010. The highest budgeted project produced by the Burbank studio, a secret for the moment.”

The Justice League of America movie is one of the few movies Warner Bros is currently prepping that might fit this broad description. But the big screen live-action adaptation of Justice League is currently scheduled to hit theaters in 2009. Or could the writers strike have pushed it back? I also can’t imagine Baruchel playing any of the established JLA superheros.

TriggerStreet is reporting that Baruchel walked from his contract with DreamWorks (She’s Out of My League) to play a Villain in the JLA adaptation. Maybe Baruchel could play Maxwell Lord, a shrewd and powerful businessman turned villain. But does Baruchel really look like the villain type?

But if not Justice League, then what? Other possibilities include:

  • Superman: Man of Steel
  • Thundercats
  • SuperMax (the Green Aroow prison break movie)
  • Oz (a revisionist take on The Wizard of Oz)
  • The Clash of the Titans remake
  • 2012: The War for Souls

So let the speculation begin…

Adam Brody as The Flash

Last month we reported that O.C. star Adam Brody was rumored to be cast as Wally West aka The Flash in George Miller’s Justice League of America movie. Today the Los Angeles Times, who actually mentions/references SlashFilm.com, has confirmed the rumors, reporting that Brody has closed negotiations for the role. However, Warner Bros is still keeping mum. Apparently the studio wants to hold off on any announcements until all the roles are cast.

Justice League supposedly begins with the funeral of Barry Allen, the second Flash (1956-1986). His nephew (by marriage) Wally West was exposed to electrically charged chemicals at ten years old when he was visiting his uncle’s police laboratory. West donned a copy of his uncle’s outfit and became the young crime fighter named Kid Flash. After Barry Allen was killed, Wally took over as the fastest man alive. The Flash possesses “super-speed,” and superhuman reflexes which allow him to violate certain laws of physics. Wedding Crashers and Fred Claus helmer David Dobkin is signed on to direct a Flash feature film following production of Justice League.

Armie Hammer is Batman

Armie Hammer is Batman

Earlier today Megan Gale was confirmed as Wonder Woman, and now IESB has confirmed previous rumors that 21-year-old Armie Hammer has been cast as Batman in George Miller’s live-action Justice League of America. Hammer has the physical stats of the Dark Knight, standing 6 foot 5 inches tall. Hammer has had small roles in Veronica Mars and Desperate Housewives, and the films Flicka and Blackout. I’m sure most fans will be pissed that “Abercrombie Guy” is taking on the iconic comic book role. Justice League is sounding worse and worse every day now.

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Megan Gale is Wonder Woman

Australian Who Magazine is reporting that 32-year-old Australian Supermodel Megan Gale has been cast as Wonder Woman in George Miller’s Justice League of America. AICN has confirmed the report with multiple sources, so this looks to be legit, and not just another one of the countless internet casting rumors.

Megan has only appeared in two films thus far: the 2001 Italian film Stregati dalla luna, and the 2005 Rob Cohen movie Stealth. She stands 5’10”, has brown hair and green eyes. Gale seems to physically embody the Wonder Woman character much better than previously rumored actresses. Her age is also much older than most of the rumored cast, which some have jokingly referred to as the “Teen Titans”.

First Look: Justice League of America Cast?

Warner Bros is set to announce the official cast for George Miller’s Justice League of America movie next week, but studio spies have leaked a supposed preview of what we should expect. Note: none of the following cast has been officially confirmed, and being late Friday night, it’s likely we won’t hear anything until Monday at earliest. But let’s take a look at the rumored cast of Justice League.

Scott Porter (Speed Racer, Friday Night Lights) is Superman. Created in 1932, Superman is considered to be the most famous comic book character of all time. Born on an alien planet called Kryton, Kal-El was sent to Earth moments before the planet’s destruction. Adopted and raised by a Kansas farmer and his wife, Clark Kent (earth name) was brought up with a strong moral compass. Upon reaching maturity Clark developed superhuman abilities including flight, speed, strength, stamina, durability, senses, intelligence, breath, and heat vision, later resolving to use these for the benefit of humanity. Justice League Superman is supposed to take place in a different continuity than the Bryan Singer and Richard Donner stories.

Adam Brody (The O.C., Thank You For Smoking) is Wally West aka The Flash. Justice League supposedly begins with the funeral of Barry Allen, the second Flash (1956-1986). His nephew (by marriage) Wally West was exposed to electrically charged chemicals at ten years old when he was visiting his uncle’s police laboratory. West donned a copy of his uncle’s outfit and became the young crime fighter named Kid Flash. After Barry Allen was killed, Wally took over as the fastest man alive. The Flash possesses “super-speed,” and superhuman reflexes which allow him to violate certain laws of physics. Wedding Crashers and Fred Claus helmer David Dobkin is signed on to direct a Flash feature film following production of Justice League.

Common (Smokin’ Aces, Wanted) is John Stewart aka The Green Lantern, who first appeared in July 1940. The Green Lantern possesses a power ring that gives him control over the physical world as long as the wielder has sufficient willpower and strength to wield it. Greg Berlanti (The Broken Hearts Club) is set to direct a feature film based on the character following the JLA movie. Berlanti is penning the script with Marc Guggenheim and Michael Green.

Teresa Palmer (Wolf Creek, The Grudge 2) as Talia Ghul – a recurring love interest for Batman. Her father, Ra’s al Ghul, the leader of a worldwide criminal empire, considers Batman the man most worthy to marry Talia and to become his heir. Not quite heroine, nor villainess Talia has undoubtedly committed criminal acts; but out of loyalty to her father and not for personal gain. She has also saved Batman’s life or helped him on numerous occasions.

David Dobkin to Direct The Flash

David Dobkin directs The Flash

We all knew from the beginning that Warner Bros planned to use the Justice League of America movie to spin-off a few new DC superhero movie projects. Or at least that is the plan. Earlier this year, before all this JLA craziness, Night at the Museum helmer Shawn Levy signed on to make a movie based on The Flash. But Levy had to leave the project for undisclosed reasons. I mean, the guy has like seven other projects in development as a director (and a few others as producer), so it’s likely that time became an issue.

The big news tonight is that Wedding Crashers and Fred Claus director David Dobkin has signed on with Warner Bros to make the project. Dobkin told MTV that his Flash movie will be set in the same universe as the Justice League of America movie, and will follow the Wally West incarnation of the character. Both Wally West and Barry Allen are said to be heavily featured in the Justice League movie, which means that whomever signs on to play The Flash, is also gunning for this solo project. It should also be noted that Ryan Reynolds has publicly expressed interest in the role if the new script’s incarnation was Wally West.

This new bit also fits with rumors that the JLA film opens with the funeral of Barry Allen. Allen was the second Flash (1956-1986), preceding his nephew (by marriage) Wally West. The fact that Warner Bros has hired another director for the project before JLA goes into production, suggests to me that they want to strike quickly on a solo project, while the iron is hot. Asked about his vision for the Flash, Dobkin teased a somewhat melancholy tagline: “You can’t outrun yourself.”

But is the guy who made Wedding Crashers and Shanghai Knights the right guy to make this superhero movie? I’m still not sure George Miller is the right guy to make Justice League…