Rambling: Directorial Impact

The Chair

Chris Moore was a co-producer on Good Will Hunting when several filmmakers were originally in consideration to direct, including: Kevin Smith, Mel Gibson, Michael Mann, and Steven Soderbergh. Ever since then, Moore was fascinated with the possibility of seeing those different visions with the same script. Moore, Affleck, and Damon would go on to produce Project Greenlight, a television series focusing on first-time filmmakers being given the chance to direct a feature film.

After three seasons, Moore would take that experience and finally crystallize his experiment into the reality competition television show, The Chair, which gave YouTuber Shane Dawson and NYU film school graduate Anna Martemucci each the opportunity to create movies based on same script by Dan Schoffer.

Consider and compare these two films based off the same initial script:

Project Greenlight

After a 10-year hiatus, Season 4 of Project Greenlight premiered this past Sunday and repeated this experiment with 13 different directors for 3-minute short films all with the same control- the identical script by the Farrlley Brothers (Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, etc).  All 13 submissions are available in this playlist. However, if you only have time to watch a few, just in terms of sheer contrast, consider these:


A baseline similar to the writers’ sensibilities.

A starkly different approach.

A completely cartoonish take.

There’s nothing radical about the idea that “the director is important” but rarely do we get so explicit an illustration.

The many hats a director has to wear all come together into something completely different: The casting, the vision, the style, the technology, the interpretation, the cinematography, the edit, the  collaborators, the performances, the budget, the execution, etc.  allow productions to diverge dramatically before our eyes. Even having read the script, we can be completely surprised by the ultimate outcome! An actor, an editor, a composer’s score, etc. can all make something work beyond the four-corners of the page.

Consider that the next time you’re concerned about an allegation arising from only the script.

Really, this whole rambling is so I could write that line… but let me meander around in the hopes of finding a second point.

Diversity

I enjoy Snyder’s style and am encouraged that we will have his films to provide the universe with a spine, it’s great that he’s so invested he wants to do this again and again, and fantastic that a director that everyone praises as collaborative is at the center of it… but I can’t wait to see the visions the other directors bring to the cinematic universe too.  They each have their own voice and contributions which make for a richer and more diverse whole.

I think it’s interesting that Snyder’s assisting with a Dorito’s Superbowl campaign that democratizes direction… commercials are essentially short films and Snyder and Jenkins got their start in commercials… and Ben Affleck’s passion project is a show which gives a young filmmaker an opportunity to make their first feature.  They’re actively giving back, understanding they’re in a position of uncommon privilege (Jenkins once said something like she had been given a brass ring to make any movie she wanted but never wanted or expected fame; and has consciously been selective… electing to do Wonder Woman suggests she’s willing to put up with fame and a big film to say something) inviting more into a world where there’s no clear path.

While our directors are incredibly diverse in their personal lives, filmmaking origins, career paths, politics, religion, family life, age, etc.- meaning our Justice League of directors reflect that same kind of diverse-individuals working towards a common goal found in our fictional Justice League- I think we’ll get the best of both worlds: unique executions of their individual visions but also a coherent universe (you know, like the comic books!).  Why?  The filmography of our known directors share a certain intensity (one which George Miller’s Fury Road would align with nicely).

Intensity

These are passionate, serious, intense filmmakers… from the plots of their films to their process. Snyder’s participation in the now-famous “300 Workout” is legendary and his films tend towards a dark irony without happy endings. Ayer wrangled the mad and method LaBeouf and reportedly looked after the mental health of his Suicide Squad actors by providing a psychotherapist, not to mention his earlier films. Jenkins found herself diving deep into the minds of convicts and killers and Wan is responsible for a modern horror renaissance. Affleck’s thillers are routinely praised as tense and gripping. This is nothing new or surprising, we already knew this was the direction Warner Brothers was aiming for, but we can see that intention in the selection of those directors. The films will vary in subject matter, the fantastic, their humor, the role of magic, the period and setting, and more… but they’ll be unified by the intensity of their filmmakers and the common shared universe.

The DCCU is not being rushed

Some suggest thatdclogoblue the DC Cinematic Universe is being rushed.

We cover two interpretations of this concern: first, that not enough time has been spent on the actual production; and second, that not enough time will be given on the screen.

What about production time?

If anything, it has been a long time coming and is something that Warner Brothers has been attempting and developing to varying degrees for years.  In fact, the first mainstream comic book shared cinematic universe existed between Christopher Reeve’s Superman and Helen Slater’s Supergirl with the common casting of Marc McClure as Jimmy Olsen.  Of course, this iteration of the shared universe is the one that people really care about.

We can go back and forth on the arguments for why but sometimes it’s illustrative to just look at the metrics.  Rushing means doing something too quickly for the time allowed.  Here, we can objectively evaluate the time allowed.

Let’s contrast Marvel Phase One, leading up to The Avengers, with DC’s slate leading up to Justice League.

mcu dcu

Visually, they don’t look all that different.  Note that graphs aren’t to scale relative to one another.  The DCCU timeline encompasses 53 months over the MCU’s 48 month timeline.  Aside from first visual impressions, let’s get into the numbers.  For the sake of simplicity we’re rounding dates to the first of the month…. read more

Stars Commit to “Suicide Squad” [Official]

(December 2, 2014 – Burbank, CA) – An all-star roster of actors has joined Warner Bros. Pictures’ new action adventure “Suicide Squad,” bringing DC Comics’ super villain team to the big screen under the direction of David Ayer (“Fury”). The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.

The film will star two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith (“The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Ali,” upcoming “Focus”) as Deadshot; Tom Hardy (“The Dark Knight Rises,” upcoming “Mad Max: Fury Road”) as Rick Flagg; Margot Robbie (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” upcoming “Focus,” the “Tarzan” movie) as Harley Quinn; Oscar winner Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Alexander”) as the Joker; Jai Courtney (“Divergent,” upcoming “The Water Diviner”) as Boomerang; and Cara Delevingne (“Anna Karenina,” upcoming “Pan”) as Enchantress.

In making the announcement, Silverman said, “The Warner Bros. roots are deep on this one. David Ayer returns to the studio where he wrote ‘Training Day’ and brings his incredible ability to craft multidimensional villains to this iconic DC property with a cast of longtime Warner collaborators Will Smith and Tom Hardy, and other new and returning favorites: Margot, Jared, Jai and Cara. We look forward to seeing this terrific ensemble, under Ayer’s amazing guidance, give new meaning to what it means to be a villain and what it means to be a hero.”

Ayer is also writing the script for “Suicide Squad,” which is being produced by Charles Roven (“The Dark Knight” trilogy, upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”) and Richard Suckle (“American Hustle”). Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Colin Wilson and Geoff Johns are serving as executive producers.

The film is slated for release on August 5, 2016.

Source

BvS Will Honor Superman – Answering Superman Fan Fears


Nov. 5 update: Remastered video, normalized audio, and added footage of Snyder saying Superman is his favorite superhero.

  • Some Superman fans are afraid that Superman is going to be disrespected by Batman at Snyder’s hand in the upcoming Batman v. Superman.
  • Some believe that the realistic tone of Man of Steel shows favoritism towards Batman.
  • Some fear that Snyder prefers Batman over Superman and that alleged bias means building up Batman at Superman’s expense.
  • Some fear Snyder is trying to adapt The Dark Knight Returns into BvS and shoehorn its Superman into the DC Cinematic Universe.
  • There are concerns that BvS will be a Batman-centric film and that Superman will be short-changed his development before Justice League.

While combing through hours of interviews for Man of Steel Answers Insight Commentary (MOSAIC), I’ve quickly put together some of Snyder’s comments which would tend to dispel or address those fears.

BvS is not a DKR adaptation. It’s a film that will develop Superman to the point that we can get to a Justice League. After carefully cultivating a realistic tone for us to relate to Superman, Snyder isn’t going to betray that for Batman. Snyder holds Superman in too high regard for that.

Please excuse this draft until I can get my hands on better video editing software.

For additional insight into the minds of the filmmakers:
http://www.manofsteelanswers.com/answers/creative/

Official DC Cinematic Universe Projection Until 2020


Official Press Release

Cited in relevant part:

And, in a massive expansion of the Studio’s DC Entertainment-branded content, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema will release a slate of at least 10 movies—as well as stand-alone Batman and Superman films—from 2016 through 2020 that expands this prized universe of characters:

  • “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” directed by Zack Snyder (2016)
  • “Suicide Squad,” directed by David Ayer (2016)
  • “Wonder Woman,” starring Gal Gadot (2017)
  • “Justice League Part One,” directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles (2017)
  • “The Flash,” starring Ezra Miller (2018)
  • “Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa (2018)
  • “Shazam” (2019)
  • “Justice League Part Two,” directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
  • “Cyborg,” starring Ray Fisher (2020)
  • “Green Lantern” (2020)

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