Batman vs. Superman Shelved!
Director prefers Trojans to superheroes.
August 13, 2002 - It's a sad day in Geekdom. According to both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, director Wolfgang Petersen has announced that he has temporarily shelved Batman vs. Superman in favor of another Warner Brothers project, the period epic Troy. The latter pic will start filming in spring 2003 when Batman vs. Superman had been expected to shoot. Village Roadshow Pictures will produce Troy from a script by David Benioff (Stay). Petersen will reportedly continue to develop Batman vs. Superman but there's no word on when that film will come together again.
"Of these two projects I have developed at Warner Bros., I had hoped to make Troy first and am pleased that the scheduling worked out that way," Petersen told Variety. "I'm looking forward to directing Batman vs. Superman in the future." Troy will be based on Homer's classic The Iliad, which told the story of the Trojan War. The Hollywood Reporter claims Benioff's script "concentrates on the events surrounding the Trojan War waged by the Greeks to recapture the abducted beauty Helen, [but] it also includes a few elements from Iliad sequel, The Odyssey, to round out the tale."
THR also reveals that Troy will lens on locations "in the United Kingdom, Malta and Morocco with an eye toward a 2004 release." The two main characters are Achilles and his rival Hector. The former role will reportedly be cast first with Brad Pitt being an oft-rumored contender for it.
THR spoke Warner Brothers exec Lorenzo di Bonaventura about Petersen's decision. "Frankly, both pictures (Batman vs. Superman and Troy) are big opportunities for Warners," said di Bonaventura. "We decided that Batman vs. Superman is like a good wine – it will find its time and only get better. Wolfgang instinctually saw the opportunity in both pictures and decided that Troy was the one to go with first. It will be a full-tilt movie, an epic adventure."
Di Bonaventura had nothing but praise for Troy scribe David Benioff. "It's an amazing script. ... It has rare scale and unique subject matter. Really, off the first draft, which came in five or six months ago, we were prepared to make the picture." Di Bonaventura also stressed that no one has been cast yet despite the rumors of Pitt being attached to the project.
THR also claims that with "Batman vs. Superman sidelined, either of the two other superhero projects that Warners is developing – Superman, with a script by J.J. Abrams, and Batman: Year One, to which [Darren] Aronofsky is attached – could now become the first of the trio to go into production." Will this comic book movie merry-go-round ever stop?!
So what finally did in the ambitious Batman vs. Superman? According to MovieHole, it was the casting process. The site spoke with the agent for actor Christian Bale (Reign of Fire) about the project and he confirmed that his client was indeed in the running for Batman vs. Superman.
Bale prefers Aronofsky?
"The word about Batman is that NO ONE has signed on yet as all rumoured participants (Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Christian, Josh Hartnett, etc.) all have various conditions with regard to casting/money/marketing rights," the agent revealed. "For example, actor A may choose to do the movie ONLY if actor B is playing opposite him. If B drops out, A has the option to drop out or insist on Actor D, etc. ... Actor C may sign on with a condition that he makes the same dollars as Actor B. If he doesn't get it, he'll walk."
The agent also revealed some other names that were brought up for Batman vs. Superman. "I've heard casting rumours as far flung as Ben Browder (from the Aussie-filmed sci-fi show Farscape) whose agent is reportedly hoping to get him into a movie to prepare him once the series is gone, to Tom Welling (who plays Superman in the TV series Smallville), to dueling cheekbones James Marsden and James Franco."
Bale's agent added that "Christian has been approached for a number of Batman projects – including the Darren Aronosky Batman but all depends on the various conditions I mentioned above. He prefers the Aronosky project because the script is unique but that project is realistically on hold until (Batman vs. Superman) is done."
In his latest Hot Button column, David Poland wisely speculates that with Batman vs. Superman delayed for nearly two years and no casting set, the likelihood of any of the previously rumored actors actually appearing in the film seems unlikely now. For example, writes Poland, "no matter how much Colin Farrell wants to be Batman, his agents are not going to sign him now to start a picture in 18 months or two years unless the dollar signs are so big that they can't imagine him being worth more then ... and that's just about impossible. The bigger question is, how the hell can a company like Warner Bros. continue to allow their biggest feature franchises to lie fallow year after year after year."
IGN FilmForce will bring you more news on Batman vs. Superman as it develops!