Warner Bros Still Unsure About Superman Sequel

Variety’s Anne Thompson posted another update on the status of the next Superman film. Basically, no one knows. Warner Bros wants to make another movie, but weren’t happy with the last film. Bryan Singer is still technically attached, and has promised to go “Wrath of Khan” with the sequel, but I don’t think Warner wants a sequel. And a unnamed executive admitted that “it might be better to start from scratch.” It seems to me that we’re looking at the equivalent of a game of chicken, with neither the studio or Singer willing to move out of the way. The interesting sentence in Thompson’s update is this one: “Today I was told that it is a priority at the studio to find the right direction and if Bryan Singer is willing to do that, fine, but if he gets in the way, he may not stay on the project.”

Some have told me that Singer’s deal is that if he wasn’t brought back for the sequel, he would be paid for the work he would have done. I’m not sure if that is the case or not, and even if so, I’m not sure why Warner Bros is hesitating. Comic Book movies are hot right now, and they need to strike before the inevitable downward turn hits. I was one of the few who liked Singer’s Superman Returns despite the flaws. However, It seems clear to me that people don’t want a sequel to Superman Returns, but they do want a Superman movie. It seems to me like the best thing to do is to hire a new director, and let Singer save face by bringing him on board as a producer. The new director can’t be George Miller, but someone young who will have a new take on the classic superhero. Hire Jonathan Nolan to write a script. Try to recapture the magic of The Dark Knight. After all, what would Superman look like in the Nolanverse?


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Was Louis Leterrier Offered Superman?

The Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier slipped at a recent AlloCine question and answer session and revealed that “maybe they have already asked me” to direct the new Superman movie. From the first minute Superman: The Man of Steel was announced, rumors have been running wild that Warner Bros wanted to replace Bryan Singer and reboot the franchise. I’ve heard that other big name directors had been offered the project, but had never been able to confirm the story. Leterrier quickly responded in the talkbacks on AICN claiming that what he “meant was that [he] had been told about a possible reinvention of Superman.”

“Not that I was offered the job.”

For some reason, I’m just not buying it. And then again, this is the guy who claimed Captain America was in The Incredible Hulk. May be he’s just a compulsive liar?

Discuss: I know a lot of people weren’t happy with Superman Returns, but I think Bryan Singer knows what he needs to do to satisfy fans in the sequel. Would you be happy if they replaced Singer with Leterrier? I vote for Singer!

Let’s hope Mark Millar sticks around the movie business for many years, and not only because the guy gives great quotes. With the adaptation of his Wanted comics raking in considerable bank and an adaptation of Kick-Ass on the way from director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake), Millar is not allowing a Superman Returns revamp to vanish from his broadening Hollywood map. In fact, in this latest candid interview with the Daily Record, Millar sounds as if he’s setting a dunkirk into action that would see Bryan Singer relieved of his directorial duties…

“Since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to reinvent Superman for the 21st century,” said Millar. “I’ve been planning this my entire life. I’ve got my director and producer set up, and it’ll be 2011. This is how far ahead you have to think. The Superman brand is toxic after that last movie lost [a good chunk of change], but in 2011 we’re hoping to restart it. Sadly I can’t say who the director is, but we may make it official by Christmas.”

Ding Ding. Just back in March, Singer confirmed he was meeting with writers with the intention to direct a more action-oriented and less nostalgic sequel. In April, Legendary Pictures chairman, Thomas Tull, cryptically pitched the sequel, tentatively entitled, Superman: The Man of Steel, as “Superman as more of an angry god.”

We speculated then that Tull wasn’t referring to an adaptation of Millar’s Superman: Red Son, his celebrated 2003 comic book that reimagined Supes originally landing to Earth in the Soviet Union rather than in America. “Superman meets Stalin Summer 2011,” yeah, that would pack in the U.S. Crocs set. But Millar seems to have a “detox” vision all worked out. Also, note that while his latest announcement seems incredibly assured, he added…

“But fingers crossed [a Superman revamp] could work out, that would be my lifetime’s dream.”

Did the guy speak too soon about announcing a director then? Before he could convert Wanted‘s success into industry muscle, Millar was making similar comments in 2007, when he announced his Superman “remake” pitch to Warner Bros

“This has to be Superman for the 21st Century, keeping everything we adore, but starting from scratch and making the kids love it as much as the 30-somethings. I would honestly write this thing for free.”

Personally, I hope Millar gets his wish from the Zoltar machine. Take for instance, the The Incredible Hulk, which has come to be viewed as a success in the eyes of most geeks, but didn’t rack up enough grosses or pop culture clout to overshadow Ang Lee’s prior film. In the end, the new Hulk was not an obvious-enough departure. They didn’t exploit the fact, directly or indirectly, that most people felt burned by the earlier version. There was never an “oh shit!” defining moment in the many trailers, so Web attention once again diverted to the Hulk’s tweaked CGI. A new Superman is even trickier.

Bryan Singer was allowed to make his dreamy passion project using one of the most commercial characters ever. That overpriced mush just didn’t fly. Let’s move on. Singer and another $250 millon isn’t going to solve the problem. That’s like Ang Lee remaking Hulk at the demands of fans. To be frank, Millar knows a lot about “oh shit!” moments and what gets people chattering in this day and age, and he clearly loves the character’s mythology as much as Singer. Why not have him in the driver’s seat for the entire process? More on this as it develops—somebody from WB has to refute/confirm Millar’s latest info, right? Man, what do you think Brandon Routh is thinking about all of this back and forth? It’s neverending.

Oh and you gotta love Millar’s fight for his right to live in Scotland and not relocate to Los Angeles….

“If I lived in LA I’d just write like everyone else. My pals over there are all on their second wives and do drugs. It’s a world I don’t want my kid to grow up in. I’ve been married since I was 23. I have a really normal set up.”

UPLATE UPDATE: Monster post! Millar posted an update regarding his comments above on his site’s message boards (a thanks to Obsessed with Film)

“PS: That Superman news is interesting, isn’t it? In the interests of clarity (because I’m sure this will be picked up somewhere) a very well known American action director heard about my love of Superman, approached my and asked me to team up with he and his producer to make a pitch for this. We’ve been talking for several weeks now and, if this is going to happen, we’ll know by Christmas. He has huge pull at WB so fingers crossed. But this is nothing more than a huge US name pulling me into his fold and making me part of a package.”

Hmmm, a big name American action director with conecs at Warner Bros. George Miller is a no. I think we can mark through Michael Bay, Gore Verbinski, James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez and Brett Ratner. Tony Scott’s British.

Discuss: Any guesses as to what director Millar is referring to? Should Millar get a shot at a Superman Returns “detox” or would you rather see Singer fired up for a sequel? Who’s your ideal choice, if not Singer? Purely hypothetical: would you like to see Timur Bekmambetov’s take on the iconic ‘S’ after Wanted? We’re not endorsing, but it would be interesting.

Superman ReturnsLast week producers of Bryan Singer’s Harvey Milk biopic, The Mayor of Castro Street, were claiming that would be Singer’s next project following Valkyrie. Of course, the Superman Returns sequel Superman: The Man of Steel was scheduled for a June 2009 release. But the Castro producers claimed that “The next Superman, that’s a ways off. Don’t worry about it. Trust me. We may even start preproduction on Harvey Milk while he’s on post production on the Tom Cruise movie.”

IESB caught up with someone in Singer’s camp who says there is no truth the the previous statement.

“That’s total horse shit, I would say the same thing if I was producing that film but don’t you realize that most of the Superman producers are working with Bryan on Valkyrie? Gil Adler and Chris Lee both are in Germany with Bryan and I can guarantee you that there is some work being done with Superman right now.”

Now the question is, what side to believe?

Superman ReturnsBryan Singer has been telling everyone that he will begin work on the Superman Returns sequel Superman: The Man of Steel after production wraps on Valkyrie. And with a tentatively announced release date of June 2009, production will need to start in early 2008. But Singer’s producers are saying differently. The Mayor of Castro Street producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan claim that Singer will start production on his Harvey Milk biopic within the next year.

“The next Superman, that’s a ways off,” claimed Meron to RT. Zadan added: “Don’t worry about it. Trust me. We may even start preproduction on Harvey Milk while he’s on post production on the Tom Cruise movie.”

I’m sure we’ll find out the truth sooner rather than later.