August 17, 2002... Recent Warner Bros. plans to greenlight the Superman vs. Batman movie (to be directed by The Perfect Storm's Wolfgang Petersen) had to be placed on the backburner: Petersen has intead opted to make a film about the Trojan War, titled Troy, his next project. Various websites had reported that deals to ink actors to the roles of Superman and Batman were apparently this close to being done...
And then something happened.
Why did Petersen, who had been hot to make Superman vs. Batman a reality, suddenly veer away from the film and instead wish to pick it up a couple of years down the road, especially when casting announcements were said to be imminent?
Coming Attractions has been handed a previously unknown piece of the puzzle, something that explains what happened behind closed doors and changed the plan of action: J.J. Abrams screenplay for Superman 5 has been handed into Warner Bros. execs -- and it has apparently knocked the socks off of everyone there.
Late Friday night we were contacted by a source who wished to be known as "Rusty Ryan". He told us that Abrams has handed in his draft of the Superman movie and -- get this -- it's damn near 200 pages in length.
"It's good. I mean, it is REALLY good," writes our pal Rusty. "It's so good they want to go as soon as they have an actor. It's so good that it bumped the half-assed Superman vs. Batman project right out of the way."
However, there's now one obstacle that is preventing WB from committing to make the Man of Steel fly again: the director known as Joseph McGinty Nichol, a.k.a. McG. "McG ain't ready to make it anytime soon," explains Rusty. "So, McG may be leaving the project, though he was so closely involved with J.J. writing it that J.J. doesn't want anyone else involved."
Rusty tells us that Warners new plan is to try and persuade McG to hand the reigns over to another director. If McG agrees to it, Warners will move faster than a speeding bullet to lock in a new and high-profile director and then fast-track the project. "Let's face it, it is criminally bad-business on Warner Bros. part (after the success of Spider-Man) to not make a project with THE MOST RECOGNIZABLE character in the world as soon as they can. Even if it's just okay, it'll make $500 million." We'd have to agree with our man Ryan on this call.
But wait, there's more: even at this early stage of the game, before McG has given the studio his blessing or refusal, Warners has four potential candidates in mind for directing the next Superman movie. They are:
Bachelor Number One: Director of Panic Room, Fight Club and Seven: David Fincher.
Bachelor Number Two: Director of The Insider, Manhunter and Ali: Michael Mann.
Bachelor Number Three: Director of The X-Files: Fight the Future and this summer's Reign of Fire: Rob Bowman.
Bachelor Number Four: Director of Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Ocean's 11 and this winter's Solaris: Steven Soderbergh.
Their names are being tossed around right now as the four top players Warner Bros. would go to in a New York Minute if and when McG gives it his blessing. Warners is that excited about what Abrams put onto page.
So here's the new big question on our mind: what's the new Superman screenplay about? Who's the bad guy? How did Abrams re-create the character for the 21st century? In short: we want to know what's in that script that's got the boys and girls on the Warners lot grinning from ear-to-ear. Someone out there knows and we need to find it out -- so if you've got another piece of the puzzle, drop us a line pronto!