James Gunn Secretly Pitches, Dwayne Johnson Watches Superman – The Hollywood Reporter

With the release of Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam This Friday, and DC Films head Walter Hamada quietly ends his tenure in the coming days, DC is charting in truly uncharted territory.

Without a permanent leader to run the stable of some of the biggest and best-known pop culture characters in the world, DC sees a secret, but dramatic, land grab among some of Hollywood’s biggest players.

Johnson publicly praised his vision for a future Black Adam vs. Superman movie, with his words fueling fans’ desire to see Henry Cavill return as the red-hatted hero. Matt Reeves plans an expansion of his the batter universe, while JJ Abrams also stays in the mix with his own plans.

And The Hollywood Reporter can exclusively report that James Gunn, the filmmaker behind Marvel’s Guardians of the Universe movies and Warners’ DC-based The Suicide Squad and peacekeeperis fishing for his own new DC project (or two).

Sources tell THR that Gunn and producer Peter Safran are in talks with Warners for a mystery film, possibly more, that Gunn would tackle. (Safran is already in the DC business and is a producer on Shazam! and the upcoming sequel, as well as Aquarius and the movie’s sequel.)

Warners had no comment, but as an insider points out, a sculpting of the comics company’s intellectual assets is taking place. “DC is definitely in the game,” this person says. How much slack can depend on your perspective from inside or outside the studio.

While it’s not clear which hero or teams Gunn is targeting, and the writer-director would focus on a second season of peacekeeper first, the studio’s eyes are very much on Superman. Under Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and Warner Bros. Pictures lead Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy, Warners has an intense desire to replay the Cavill iteration of the hero. The project that would essentially be: Man of Steel 2 is produced by Charles Roven and is currently seeking writers. (There’s a wish list, of course. And Christopher McQuarrie, the hand holding the… Mission Impossible movies were on it. McQuarrie worked with Cavill on the 2018 episode, precipitationbut sources say no official action has been taken nor is it feasible as the director is working on the next one back to back Impossible terms.)

However, Johnson has plans of his own for Superman and has been very vocal about his desire to make a Black Adam vs. Superman movie, a wish he’s only repeated more and more in the lead up to. Adam. This is when he talks at the end of his “surprise” cameo Adam, with the actor almost saying that Cavill will appear. Insiders wonder if those calls are meant to crack the box office numbers from the film’s opening weekend or to maneuver Superman on his own chess field, or perhaps both.

Whatever the case may be, Johnson is certainly at the center of Cavill’s return to DC, which was not without drama. Johnson’s manager is Dany Garcia, his ex-wife who is also his production partner at Seven Bucks Entertainment. Garcia also represents Cavill.

Superman and Cavill were not in the original plans for Black Adam. The idea emerged during a round of reshoots for the film earlier this year, but the cameo was rejected by Hamada, the director who had spent the past four years trying hard to move DC past the era when a filmmaker, in this case Zack Snyder, had an inordinate amount of influence and could control an entire slate for years. Hamada had his own Superman plans, including the introduction of a multi-decade Black Superman by writer Ta-Nehisi Coates.

After Hamada said no, Johnson walked around the board and turned to De Luca and Abdy, who gave their thumbs up. A furious round of negotiations took place before Labor Day, a deadline demanded by Warners, with the scene set in mid-September.

Meanwhile, in Gotham City, filmmaker Reeves is quietly making his own expansion plans. Reeves is developing a sequel to his the batter, which grossed a respectable $770.8 million worldwide when it was released in March. A spin-off of the series that focuses on Colin Farrell’s Penguin is already on its way to film next year. But Reeves is plotting more. The filmmaker meets with writers and directors to build films — yes movies, not just series — centered on the gallery of Batman rogue, both established and more obscure, featuring characters ranging from the Scarecrow to Clayface to Professor Pyg. All those projects are in the very early stages of pregnancy.

It’s unclear where Superman will go and leave Abrams, who is still on his way to producing Coates’ film centering on Krypton’s last son. That feature would exist outside of any greater DC movie continuity, much like Todd Phillips joker movies. The mega-producer had a few setbacks when some of its DC shows — based in DC’s supernatural corners and featuring characters like Constantine and Zatanna — were scrapped from WBD’s HBO Max streaming service. They are now being shopped to other streamers. But he’s not out of the game and is yet another Hollywood force in the mix vying for a piece of the DC pie.

All this takes place as Hamada, who was not present at the Adam premiering in New York on October 12, the last personal belongings of his Burbank studio lot office gone before his last day sometime this week. The executive doesn’t even close a production deal with the studio, a move traditional among execs who get let go, but get a soft landing and a polite “thank you for your service.” For many, that move speaks volumes about how rough the transition from the AT&T era to Discovery under Zaslav has been, including the controversial cancellation of the batgirl movie in August.

And it takes place in the shadow of the utter failure of the search for a new leader. After months of searching, Zaslav came close to hiring executive producer Dan Lin for the role of DC chief, but talks fell through. Part of Zaslav’s intent for Lin was to act as the overseer of all things DC, both film and series, and he is said to have acted partly as a traffic cop for the IP.

For now, De Luca, who is known for his fanboy roots and shows a deep knowledge of esoteric comics, remains in charge of DC. he green light joker 2has made decisions about Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and The flash, and has met with filmmakers. There are rumors that his role could evolve into one with a more permanent and even exclusive oversight of DC. As for Johnson, he publicly expressed an interest last week in assisting in the search for a DC boss.

“The best position I could have for DC is that of advisor, where I can help. I love DC. It’s in my blood,” Johnson told Variety on the Adam Red carpet. “In the spirit of growing up with the DC Universe. I am here to help in any way I can, including seeking and finding the right leader or leaders.”

That quest continues even as IP is taken off the board by power players.

“Right now it’s the Wild West,” said an insider. “Everyone is trying to grab as much as possible. And this is exactly what happens in a leadership vacuum.”

A Warners insider disputes the idea of ​​a leadership vacuum, saying the studio is not standing still and making progress on several fronts, focusing on some of its A-list characters as he plans and develops the wave further. A script for Wonder Woman 3 by Patty Jenkins is expected soon and a script for a Flash sequel has already been written — by Aquarius writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick – just in case that movie, which will be released on June 23, 2023, does well. (The film stars controversial actor Ezra Miller, who met with Warners leadership in August after a string of arrests and bad headlines, and pleaded not guilty to a burglary charge today.) With Superman back on the run. block, plus Reeves’ the batter sequel, it puts the big stars of the company in rotation on the big screen.

De Luca and Abdy are said to want more stuff in development, and more stuff on the runway ready to go, an ethos opposite to Hamada, who took a more focused approach.

Johnson, for example, is eager to go beyond DC’s A-list.

As he told the New York Times for a profile published Monday: “It’s safer to keep investing in the IP the world knows. The Justice League – Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman. I understand that. But it took persuasion to get the studio to look beyond the Justice League to the DC universe, and there are some really cool characters out there. You just have to give it a chance and trust the investment.”

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