Almost three weeks ago we reported that actor/filmmaker Ben Affleck was on Warner Bros.’ shortlist to direct their long-gestating Justice League movie that has picked up some serious heat in the wake of Marvel’s The Avengers banking over a billion dollars worldwide. Ever since refocusing his career on directing, Affleck has seen his stock in Tinseltown skyrocket and given that he has experience working with talented ensemble casts and staging intricate action sequences, it seemed that he would be a natural fit to bring the mightiest heroes in the DC Universe to the silver screen. It appears, sadly, that the proverbial gun was jumped like so many sharks on network television.
Affleck, whose latest film (as both actor and director) Argo opens next month and who had signed on to mount an ambitious adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel The Stand at Warner Bros. next, confirmed the truth behind those potentially exciting Justice League rumors in an exclusive interview with the Canadian website 24 Hours Vancouver.
“I’m not working on the Justice League. One of the problems with entertainment web sites is that they need to fill pages, and that’s how rumours get started”¦ Justice League sounds really exciting, but it’s not something I’m working on.”
So there you go. Of course Affleck’s comments about how Justice League isn’t something he’s working on don’t sound very definitive. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. He has been piling on the projects ever since his 2010 crime drama The Town became a surprise smash with audiences and critics, and with The Stand looking to be a pricey and time-consuming undertaking it wouldn’t make sense for Affleck to take on another expensive Warners property – particularly one that the studio hopes to have up and running in the next few years.
Now that Affleck appears to be out of the running the latest rumors peg Lana (formerly Larry) and Andy Wachowski, the filmmaker siblings responsible for the blockbuster Matrix trilogy and the costly flop Speed Racer – not to mention writing and producing the 2006 V for Vendetta adaptation – for the studio, have moved into first position on Warner Bros. list of directors wanted for Justice League. Given their past experience with elaborate, FX-enhanced action set pieces that broke new ground for cinematic visual effects and the fact that they’re both huge comic book fans who were long ago rumored to be making new Batman and Superman movies, the Wachowskis seem to be naturals for the job. Their latest film project, the Tom Tykwer collaboration Cloud Atlas, is also opening this fall and has been gathering interesting buzz since its first trailer was released last month.
Cloud Atlas is one of those intriguing, but difficult to market films that major studios allow their biggest directors to make to indulge their artistic side for a moment so they can then get back into the business of making those billion-dollar franchise hits. It’s the “one for us, one for them” mentality that keeps directors like Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, and Steven Soderbergh happily working within the studio system while still getting to make their own personal projects. I can see Justice League being the Wachowskis next “one for them” flick, and since they’re heavy superhero buffs anyhow giving them the directing job would make so many people happy.
The only thing is, this time they’d be working with characters who have been an integral part of popular culture for over seventy years instead of their own creations or even cult favorites with narrow audience appeal like Speed Racer and V for Vendetta. Warner Bros. and DC will be keeping a slightly tight leash on whoever ends up at the helm of Justice League and the Wachowskis are used to doing things their way while still remaining highly respectful of their studio masters.
If this rumor turns out to be true, unlike the Affleck one, a Justice League motion picture directed by the Wachowskis would hold a very unique appeal to thrill-seeking moviegoers. Whatever happens next, we will certainly keep you informed.