Cape fear: Superman still grounded

WGA strike proves Kryptonite to 'Man of Steel'

Could the WGA strike prove Kryptonite to the Man of Steel?

With the work stoppage playing havoc with studio slates, Warner’s planned sequel to Bryan Singer‘s “Superman Returns” could be locked up in the Fortress of Solitude for some time.

No screenwriters are on board. “Returns” writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris opted out of penning “Superman: Man of Steel,” and the strike arrived just as other scribes were to pitch ideas. Internally, Warners has moved the release date from 2009 to 2010.

After “Superman Returns” delivered a disappointing box office take of $386 million worldwide, Warner Bros. and Singer debated how to proceed with the next “Superman” pic. The studio even considered rebooting the franchise with someone else.

But eventually WB execs Alan Horn and Jeff Robinov agreed to proceed with Singer at the helm of a $170 million “Man of Steel” packed with more action, a super-powered villain and less romantic melodrama. Before Singer started production on UA’s “Valkyrie,” WB and co-financier Legendary Pictures closed a deal for him to produce and direct “Superman: Man of Steel.”

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According to a spokesman for the director’s reps at William Morris, “ ‘Superman’ is moving forward with Bryan Singer attached.” But inside the studio, “Superman” is not on any fast track, and word is that Singer may wind up not directing it.

Nothing is happening. The WB supervising exec on the project, Dan Lin, has moved over to a studio production deal; exec Lynn Harris is taking over.

For now, the next Superman auds will see on the bigscreen will not be Brandon Routh but a younger Superman among a cast of youthful DC superheroes in George Miller‘s “The Justice League.” That movie likely will not be shot, however, until after the WGA strike is resolved.

So while Internet comic sites are rife with rumors about Warners replacing Routh with the new Superman from “The Justice League,” the question of who plays Superman will depend on who directs Superman.

And with “The Mayor of Castro Street” also up in the air due to the strike and “Milk” going forward with Gus Van Sant and Sean Penn, Singer is looking for a another directing gig.