Doug Liman to Direct ‘Dark Universe’ for DC, Warner Bros. (EXCLUSIVE)

Doug Liman Justice League Dark
Stephen Lovekin/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Doug Liman is set to direct the Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment adaptation of “Dark Universe” — a.k.a., “Justice League Dark.”

Scott Rudin is producing. Michael Gilio is writing the script.

Warner Bros. had no comment.

Sources also added that Liman has left the Channing Tatum “Gambit” which insiders say is a mutual split between the studio and Liman.

While plot details are being kept under wraps, the story revolves around a dark Justice League team that consists of John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Zatanna and Etrigan the Demon.

The film is an ensemble focused which speaks to one of his early hits “Go”, which dealt with a similar ensemble. The film will play a major role in the new D.C. Cinematic Universe.

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Constantine was played by Keanu Reeves in a 2005 movie, as well as by Matt Ryan in NBC series “Constantine,” which was canceled in 2015 after one season. Swamp Thing has also had his own movie, with Dick Durock playing the creature in Wes Craven’s 1982 film.

Del Toro was originally attached to direct, but the project was shelved as the helmer was sidetracked by other projects. Rudin came on board as producer last year, giving new life to the property.

Liman recently finished filming “The Wall,” starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, at Amazon Studios. He is also attached to direct “Chaos Walking” at Lionsgate and has the drug cartel pic “American Made,” starring Tom Cruise, opening next September.

He is currently in post on the Tom Cruise pic “American Made.”

He is repped by CAA and attorney Alan Grodin.

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  1. David says:

    I don’t know why people here are gripping about. Justice League Dark is a team in the comics that handles the DARK supernatural elements in the DC universe. So get over it fanboys and film snobs.

  2. No. says:

    Another fail for DC… Breaks my heart too because I had been looking forward to BvS for 15 years since the idea was first thrown around. BvS was painful to watch, and the Extended Cut made literally zero improvements. Just a bad film from top to bottom. And now here we are at JL Dark? Hard pass!!

  3. jedi77 says:

    DC wants a “dark” universe? LOL.
    How in the world, are they going to go darker than BvS?
    All they have is dark.

  4. Jpe says:

    I would love to see the Spectre included. The Constantine TV series was leading up to his appearance before it was cancelled. Actually I would love to see Spectre in his own stand-alone movie.

  5. Jenika Enoch says:

    Hmm… I wonder which untitled DCEU slot this will take up. Either that or it might not hit until after Green Lantern Corps. in 2021.

  6. Maybe my memories of Go have faded over time, but I don’t recall it being about anything like an ensemble of witches, ghosts, and other assorted supernatural freaks banding together to form a superhero team. Should I have stayed to see if it had an after-credits scene?

  7. Andrew L. says:

    Actually, Swamp Thing has had two movies plus a television series on USA Network.

  8. Cass says:

    Good track record for Liman. But no trust in WB/DC still. Hoping for the best.

  9. Jamie Daborn says:

    Doug Liman is also attached to direct the sequel to Edge of Tomorrow if it happens.

  10. Why should anyone be excited about this? WB has been TRASH with their DC properties. You want me to be excited for a team up movie starring obscure characters after the train wreck that was Suicide Squad and BvS?

    The people at WB are literally INSANE. Like who is running things over at WB? The old regime was smart to pull the plug on disappointing superhero movies. Superman Returns was disliked, plug pulled. Green Lantern, plug pulled. Before those it was Batman and Robin plug pulled. But they wont pull the plug after the two 2016 debacles? Unbelievable

    • Bryan says:

      Pull the plug are you out of your mind? Starting with Wonder Woman there is a new sheriff in town and his name is Geoff Johns and I forgive that you probably don’t know anything about him because he is a comic book writer but he is also the chief creative officer at DC Comics and now he is in charge of the movie universe! Wonder Woman which he has written in the comics he also wrote it with Alan Heinberg who has also written Wonder Woman books. So I would hold judgement until after that movie because that is going to set the tone for the future of the universe Johns it’s probably one of my top 5 favorite comic book writers of all time I have complete and total faith in his decision making and is writing (obviously). Justice League Dark was a great book written by Peter Milligan at first and then the unbelievably creative team of Jeff Lemire and Mikel Janin I can’t wait to see this as a movie with all the talent involved it’s going to be amazing!

    • Well, just one thing: Scott Rudin.

      Scott Rudin’s Filmography is URGE!!! A lot of great movies: There Will Be Blood , No Country for Old Men, Ex Machina, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Captain Phillips , Moonrise Kingdom, Closer, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fantastic Mr. Fox , True Grit , The Social Network, The Addams Family .

      If you think WB trashed their previous movies, just take a look in what they have in commom: same producers. And maybe not the good ones.

      • Paul Goodwin says:

        Suicide Squad admittedly had need of a much more developed story, but was fun for what it was, and the central Character of Harley Quinn and Deadshot were great, and the fact that it continues to perform well at the box office and has earned a lot of $ means that others do not share your opinion. As for BVS, either you did not see the film, or you totally missed the point. It was a great film, and had a depth and richness missing form many lightweight Marvel films. (The Dios de La Muerte scene with Superman, is a masterful bit of foreshadowing, and something like this would never have shown up in an Avengers film. I am not bashing Marvel they have a had a lot of god films, Deadpool, GOTC, Ant-Man, and First Avengers, but have had a lot of misses, but somehow they get a pass for things like Wolverine, Iron Man 3, Spider-man 3, etc. The only films they really got bludgeoned for were the Fantastic 4 movies.

    • BR says:

      “Literally INSANE”… wow. SS making 300 domestic is an underperformance? It’s gonna make more than Cap 2… Why didn’t Marvel pull the plug after that??

      Do you actually read the crap you post?

    • Dave says:

      I wasn’t aware that grossing almost 1.5 billion dollars with two movies alone was a debacle. My, how time flies smh

    • Whatapysh says:

      Get over yourself.

      Its clear they dont use your opinion as the metric for evaluating what they want to do. And their metric says there are people who dont agree with you and are on board with them.

    • jedijones77 says:

      Rachael, Marvel created the dreadful Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and Avengers 2, yet they haven’t pulled the plug yet.

      • At least Iron Man 3 and Avengers 2 made a billion dollars. Meanwhile MOS, BvS, and SS all underperformed. Those movies (which aren’t that good) are Citizen Kane compared to the last two DCEU. Thor 2 nobody llkes that one.

        But think about this. What if Marvel started out with those 3 sub par movies? Betcha they’d have to reorganize. The DCEU started off bad. Iron Man was praised, Thor praised, Cap 1, Avengers 1. What they had 1 stinker during phase 1 The Incredible Hulk.. They had a better foundation. Marvel can have a bad movie or two because the foundation was strong. DCEU has yet to have 1 critically acclaimed movie.

        WB went from having the most prestigious superhero movie franchise of all time. WB went from The Dark Knight (which is now on the BBC’s best movies of the last 20 years list mind you) to BvS and the laughing stock of the genre. They are Sony now. Hell the Sony Spiderman movies make more and are better received than the DCEU’s (BvS outgrosses TAS 1&2 but not Spiderman 3) Think about that.

    • Lea says:

      Has anyone told you you’re not the center of the universe? Just because you didn’t like BvS and Suicide Squad, it doesn’t mean the world didn’t. They care about results, about the money, and the movies, especially SS, are doing great – which shows audiences liked it. It’s okay if you didn’t, but don’t try to shove your opinion down everyone’s throats like it was an objective truth.

      • Will says:

        Think about this…..Squad is going to make more than IM1 & 2, Hulk, Thor 1 & 2, Cap 1 (and Cap 2 domestically), & Ant Man….so lets pull the plug on the MCU?….STFU you are drunk…

      • BR says:

        Geez you are a massive troll. Thor was a disaster. One of the worst CBMs ever. Roger Ebert trashed it. Get over yourself. You sound like a failed writier.

    • EricJ says:

      Even worse, it’s not “their” movie–It was one of Del Toro’s half dozen ideas he pulled out of his mental toybox and couldn’t finish, that Warner/DC salvaged because they now believed it WAS “theirs”.
      And if you’re a non-fan who thought Suicide Squad had confusing/obscure characters, at least Constantine and Swamp Thing had past movies…

      • Jpe says:

        @JedJones I feel the same way about those two films. Although it is the ultimate cut of BvS that I consider to be one of the best superhero films we’ve had in years… not the mangled theatrical version. Just as the theatrical Suicide Squad is a piece of junk, I do hope that we will someday get to see the David Ayer’s version… which sounds better by all reports.

      • jedijones77 says:

        EricJ, what are you talking about? This is an existing comic book. Del Toro did not create any part of the concept.

        And some of us think BVS was the best superhero movie in years. Suicide Squad on the other hand, one of the worst.

  11. Swamp Think says:

    Dick Durock played Swamp Thing in two movies!

  12. LOL> says:

    Go is his best film.

  13. Raphael H says:

    I prefer DC to Marvel, but I’m not a fan of Justice League Dark, mainly because I’m not into overly dark or scary films. I like Zatanna (for anyone not familiar with her, she’s a stage magician with real magical powers), but I prefer lighter portrayals of her (e.g her appearances in “Justice League”)…

  14. Natty Bumppo says:

    So apt. With all the complaints of DC comic book movies being too dark, Doug Liman is directing Dark Universe for DC. perfecto mundo.

  15. cisco says:

    Nice coup from DCFilms to steal a solid, experienced director like Liman to do JL Dark. Gambit sounds like a complete mess. Just as long as it has JL Dark has humor it should be a hit.

  16. I hope he keeps Constantine Scouse tbh

  17. millerfilm says:

    Doug Liman’s movies have almost always left me cold. This doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

  18. Producer and Fanboy says:

    Another “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” $100 million bet from the Warner bros’ DCEU?

    YIKES.

    Here’s why they are flailing: they don’t have a Kevin Feige! You need a Kevin Feige to build a full multi year slate of superhero movies in an interconnected universe. Even though they hired Zack Snyder and then brought in Affleck to play big brother, they still have execs flying off and green lighting movies without them. You need a Napoleon, or more aptly, a Lex Luthor.

    Until WB realizes that, they’ll continue to have an undisciplined mish mash of franchises that underperform.

    • Producer and Fanboy says:

      You idiots are proving my point. Geoff Johns is not a core movie producer like Feige. He is foremost a writer. Feige was a producer all the way back to X-Men in 2000.

      Johns is great, I am a fan of his comics work, but direct to video animated movies and tv shows are not the same as major studio movies, as we are sorely learning. A concept like two heroes fighting one another (BvS) or a team of villains (SS) or an odd mix of lesser dark characters (JL Dark) are just not four quadrant movies with billion dollar potential, which is what films that cost this much NEED to be (as much as the fanboy in me would like that not to be the case). See how Netflix is having so much success with Marvel shows on the SMALL screen with these types of characters and dark tones? They make those shows on a tight budget.

      Now go back to school, chums.

    • Grayson says:

      They appointed Geoff Johns to be in charge a few months ago. You need to check these things before ranting ;)

    • jedijones77 says:

      Was Guardians of the Galaxy not a throw it at the wall idea? Not every comic book interconnects and crosses over with every other one all the time. MCU has gotten so ridiculous to the point where EVERY movie is a now a team-up movie and the movies are plagued with thin or non-existent character development as a result. Cap, Iron Man and Thor don’t have their own solo series anymore. That ain’t how it’s done in comic books. The way it’s always worked in comic books is that a character or a team like X-Men is established as an independent entity and then occasionally crosses over elsewhere, but then goes back to being independent. Team-up and crossover stories always focus on the action more than character development and therefore DEPEND on the characters having their own strong solo series to keep them interesting in between the team-ups. MCU is throwing that out the window lately.

      • Producer and Fanboy says:

        No, Guardians of the Galaxy was handpicked by Feige from hundreds of Marvel properties to join the MCU, and he fostered it to a level of success that NO ONE saw coming. Except him. Because he’s Feige. And there is only one Feige. Feige.

    • Luka Naglić says:

      Geoff Johns is in charge now.

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