Thursday, September 20, 2007

George Miller to Direct Justice League Movie

Warner Bros. is moving aggressively ahead with the bigscreen adaptation of DC Comics’ “Justice League of America,” with George Miller on board to direct.

Project, which is the initial phases of casting, is a pre-strike priority for the studio, which needs a superhero tentpole in 2009.

Still, making all the pieces fit has been complicated by overlapping superhero projects in the pipeline, since “Justice League” features a pantheon of superheroes, including Superman and Batman.

Batman and Superman are active properties for the studio, though the next installment in the Superman franchise has taken a backseat to “Justice League” in part because Warners is so keen on the “Justice League” script by Kieran and Michele Mulroney.

“Justice League” will likely feature the characters of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash and Aquaman.

Warners is in the preliminary phases of casting for “Justice League.” Several sources close to the project said that Christian Bale, star of the revived Batman film franchise, and Brandon Routh, star of Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns,” would probably not appear in the movie.

However, helmer Chris Nolan, current steward of the “Batman” franchise for the studio, would prefer that Warners delay “Justice League” until after he finishes “Batman” projects in development; Bale has also let his uneasiness about “Justice League” be known.

To work around these issues, the studio explored making “Justice League” as an animated film or with motion capture, but all indications are that the film will be special-effects driven live action.

The project is so complicated -- and casting dependent -- that even those deeply involved in the project are holding their breath until production begins.

“They’re working very hard to get it to happen,” said one party close to the project. “But there are so many characters it’s complicated.”

It was for this very reason that many believed Warners would move ahead first with a follow-up to Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns.” Singer, however, is busy with Tom Cruise starrer “Valkyrie.”

Miller has a warm relationship with Warners. He last helmed “Happy Feet,” which generated $379 million worldwide box office for the studio.

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It's probably going to suck. But hopefully it'll be good.

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