By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist August 26, 2012 at 9:52AM
The big directorial vacancy right now in Hollywood is the one for "Justice League," the superhero team-up movie that Warner Bros. hope will help them catch up to the success of Marvel's "The Avengers." The studio unsuccessfully tried to get the supergroup going a few years back with George Miller at the helm, but with Christopher Nolan's Bat series wrapped up and "Man of Steel" on the way, it's now a major priority for the studio, with a script commissioned from "Gangster Squad" scribe Will Beall and an active hunt for a director underway in the hope that the film would provide a launching pad for other DC heroes like Wonder Woman, The Flash and a revamped Green Lantern.
As has been very publicly known, the name on the top of Warners' list was Ben Affleck, who's become something of a darling at the studio after "The Town" and the upcoming "Argo" -- they offered him both "Man of Steel" and "Gangster Squad," and have set him to direct a two-part movie adaptation of "The Stand." But Affleck's taste leans a little more grown-up, and the director confirmed a couple of days ago what most had assumed: " 'Justice League' sounds really exciting, but it's not something I'm working on."
So where does that leave the project? Well, Moviehole have some idea. The Australian site has suggested that another possibility on the Warner Bros. wishlist are... Andy and Lana Wachowski, the duo behind "The Matrix" trilogy. The filmmakers have had a home at the studio ever since their 1999 breakout, with both sequels, plus "Speed Racer" and their producing efforts "V For Vendetta" and "Ninja Assassin" released through the company. And the studio are also releasing "Cloud Atlas," which the Wachowskis have co-directed with Tom Tykwer, later in the year, and apparently it's that film, which combines spectacle with balancing an expansive ensemble, that have convinced Warners that Andy and Lana could be their "Justice League" directors.
If it's true (and Moviehole are generally on the money), it does make sense; the duo have been interested in comics-based properties before and certainly have the experience with big budgets at this point. While Warners might have cooled on them after "Speed Racer" flopped, we can see how "Cloud Atlas" might have put them back in the studio's good books; the film cost around $100 million, but there's a lot of production value in there for an independent film (it was a negative pick-up for Warners), and word from test screenings has mostly been good. Indeed, they've been gearing up for another big-budget project, "Jupiter Ascending," with Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, of late.
But it's also important to stress that, if the story is accurate, the pair are only names on a wish-list at this point. There's no indication of whether "Jupiter Ascending" might get in the way (word's been very quiet on the project of late), or if the Wachowskis have any interest in the film. There's also bound to be other names in the mix too. Bleeding Cool have been dropping a certain amount of innuendo suggesting that "Gangster Squad" helmer Ruben Fleischer might be the studio's top choice, although it's unclear if they've got facts on this or if it's simply an educated guess.
There'll be other possibilities in the mix, too. We're sure that Warners would be keen on Alfonso Cuarón, with whom they've just made "Gravity," for instance. And they could even follow the Marvel template even closer, and go for a riskier pick like Joss Whedon or James Gunn. Things are still a little foggy at present, but one thing is very much clear at this point: the film's a big priority for the studio and we're likely to find out a director sooner rather than later. Who would you like to say at the helm of "Justice League?" Let us know in the comments section below.