Cast options lapse; spring start scrapped

Justice League” is no longer moving faster than a speeding bullet.

Warner Bros. let the options lapse on the young cast that director George Miller chose to play DC superhero staples. The studio, which had set Tuesday as its greenlight deadline for the pic, confirmed Wednesday the project is on indefinite hold.

Project now most likely won’t get under way until late summer or fall at the earliest.

Cast members were informed late Tuesday their options would not be exercised, but they were also assured the studio is determined to make the film with them in it. But before that can happen, there are several problems to be resolved.

The studio’s reasons included not getting the official response it needed on tax breaks from shooting in Australia. And while WB execs like the script they got from Kieran and Michele Mulroney, it would benefit from a little more work, something that isn’t possible because of the writers’ strike.

Some were surprised the studio didn’t exercise cast options anyway. The deals gave WB the flexibility to exercise the deals immediately, or in July, and the actors will be making salaries in the low six-figure range. While Adam Brody, cast as the Flash, has a track record, most of the cast comprises such newcomers as Armie Hammer Jr., who plays Batman, and Megan Gale, who will play Wonder Woman.

The studio risks losing them to other film jobs. But it is likely most if not all the cast will make sure to be available starting late summer and fall, just in case. That’s because of the starmaking potential of “Justice League.”

Studio had set this week as the deadline to greenlight the superhero tentpole, which it was racing to get into production for 2009 release. That was always considered a dicey proposition, particularly when the writers went on strike, and because the film needs to be completed before the SAG deal expires in June.

With “Justice League” on indefinite hold, the studio has a superhero gap on its 2009 slate; status of the next “Superman” pic is also uncertain.

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