Studio eyeing DC superhero team feature
Batman may meet up with Superman on the bigscreen after all — along with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash and all the rest of DC Comics’ biggest names.Warner Bros., with its major appetite for fresh franchises, is looking to make a feature based on super team the Justice League of America, hiring writing duo Kiernan and Michele Mulroney to pen the script. It’s the first major action the studio has taken on the project. Feature film is bound to include some combination of DC’s most iconic superheroes, although the studio wouldn’t confirm which ones they might be. It’s unlikely that the studio and DC Comics, a division of Warner, would opt to feature second-tier characters. Since its inception in 1960, JLA has featured almost every major hero in the DC Comics universe, although the core team has largely remained the same: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter. The heroes typically band together to fight alien menaces or groups of supervillains. “The Justice League of America has been a perennial favorite for generations of fans, and we believe their appeal to film audiences will be as strong and diverse as the characters themselves,” Warner prexy of production Jeff Robinov said in announcing the hiring of the Mulroneys. In taking on the ambitious project, Warner faces several conundrums. Warner Senior VP Dan Lin will oversee for the studio. Now that the Batman and Superman film franchises have been revived, does the studio go after Christian Bale (“Batman Begins”) and Brandon Routh (“Superman Returns”) to star in a Justice League pic? Studio is also trying hard to bring Wonder Woman to the bigscreen. To a large degree, casting will depend upon the story arc for the JLA feature and at what point in the superheroes’ lives the plot takes place. Warner also must deal with myriad producers working on the Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman franchises. Studio dropped its efforts to make “Batman vs. Superman” in order to focus on relaunching “Batman” and “Superman” as individual properties, which it has done. Filmmakers Chris Nolan (“Batman Begins”) and Bryan Singer (“Superman Returns”) are each on board to helm the next installments in the two respective franchises. Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” is eyeing a 2008 release and the next “Superman,” 2009. The potential payoff of bringing JLA to theaters can’t be ignored by Warner, which turns out more tentpoles than any other studio. Comicbook fans have long clamored for a movie version of JLA, and word of the Warner project is certain to be a hot topic at New York Comic Con, which unspools today in Gotham. JLA has spawned several cartoon TV series, including 1960s and ’70s show “Super Friends” and current Cartoon Network skein “Justice League Unlimited” from Warner Bros. Animation. The Mulroneys — Kieran is the brother of thesp Dermot Mulroney — caught the attention of studios around town with their rewrite of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” for Fox. Other screenplay projects include “On the Nature of Human Romantic Interaction,” “Paper Man” and “Worst Case.” Kieran and Michele Mulroney are repped by Creative Artists Agency and Management 360. (Ben Fritz contributed to this report.)
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