More than two years have passed since Warner Bros. first bought the pitch for a “futuristic retelling of Samson and Delilah” to be directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend). At that time, Scott Silver was known as the screenwriter behind 8 Mile. Since then, Silver has earned an Oscar nomination for his part in writing The Fighter, which provides an audience to share his plans for Samson. For instance, when Samson is transplanted from Biblical times to the future, his divinely granted strength qualifies as a superpower.
“I’m finishing up something completely different, a superhero movie set in the future for Warner Bros. It’s an original superhero.”
Read more of what Silver had to say after the jump.
The Fighter went through a notoriously long and variable development period, cycling through Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and director Darren Aronofsky before it eventually reached the screen. Silver spoke to Popcorn Biz about how this process led him to a property that practically comes pre-sold.
“At some point when [The Fighter] fell apart — we had Brad Pitt attached and we couldn’t get it made — I was like, ‘I literally have the cliché of having a script that can’t get made with Brad Pitt. I have to do something that people want to get made.’ So this producer Erwin Stoff and Francis Lawrence and I came up with a superhero based sort of on Samson set in the future. It’s an original superhero and we were fortunate enough to sell it to Warner Bros. I’ve been dealing with sci-fi shit and superhero stuff, which is all new to me.”
How wonderfully cynical. I imagine a playful self-deprecating tone when he said this, but surely there’s a kernel of awful Hollywood reality at the core.
Silver may profess that this “sci-fi shit” is novel territory, but he’s not completely out of his element thanks to a love of comic books.
“I am a comic book guy. I did some work on the first Wolverine. I love comic books and in some ways, because studios are making less dramas, there are a lot of dramatic elements and themes that you can get away with in a superhero movie, like Chris Nolan did in Batman, that you couldn’t get away with in any other movie. You can do dramatic stuff if it’s dealing with all superhero stuff, and that’s what I wanted to try to do.”
Let’s assume that the problems of X-Men Origins: Wolverine are no fault of an uncredited writer who took a pass at the script. Silver, with his unique knowledge of both comic book logic and dramatic structure, sounds like the right man for the job. I have no idea how much the Samson mythology will play into it (his final moments are among the coolest in the Bible). But I’m encouraged by Silver’s focus on the “original superhero” aspect of the pitch.
Lawrence’s next film, Water for Elephants, opens on April 22. After that, the director has a number of projects to choose from for a follow-up, including Sgt. Rock, Marco Polo, The City That Sailed, and Unbroken. I’ve been rooting for The City That Sailed to come together, but that project will wait for Will Smith for as long as he’d like to deliberate. Samson is shaping up to be a solid second option for Lawrence.