[Update: THR now reports that Billy Crudup is not dropping out of The Flash, as EW initially reported. We’ve adjusted the article to reflect the change.]
The directing gig for Warner Bros.’ The Flash heated up in a big way last night, as three seriously talented filmmakers arose as the top candidates to take the helm of the DC film. Just weeks after Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future) surfaced as a possibility, it was reported that he’s had discussions with Warner Bros. about taking the helm of The Flash movie, as have Kingsman: The Secret Service filmmaker Matthew Vaughn and, perhaps most surprisingly, Sam Raimi. The latter director certainly knows his way around the superhero genre as he helped revolutionize the modern comic book adaptation with his Spider-Man trilogy, but alas, just as quickly as Raimi surfaced as a possibility, it appears he’s off the table.
Per EW, Raimi already passed on the prospect of directing The Flash, as did The Amazing Spider-Man filmmaker Marc Webb. It’s fascinating to learn that Warner Bros. was going after these two Spidey directors to step in, especially given that Webb has moved back into more character-centric territory with films like Gifted and the upcoming The Only Living Boy in New York after his Spider-Man franchise was scuttled following the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
No reason is given for why Raimi and Webb passed, but Raimi has been attaching himself to a number of different projects—both big and small—over the last few years, even as it’s now been four years since his last feature, Oz the Great and Powerful. Webb, it seems, is keen on returning to his roots as the (500) Days of Summer filmmaker just churned out a pair of small-scale dramas after spending years on Sony’s Spider-Man franchise.
Seth Grahame-Smith was the first director attached to The Flash, poised to make his directorial debut on the project as he also wrote the screenplay. But he was subsequently pushed out in favor of hiring someone with more experience, which is when Warner Bros. set Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) to take the helm. He was developing the project and heading towards an early 2017 start-date when he abruptly left over creative differences, with the film then missing its production window and being pulled from the release calendar entirely.
Now Miller, who’s still set to play Barry Allen/The Flash, is due to shoot Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 this fall, meaning Warner Bros. isn’t in a huge rush to get The Flash in front of cameras. THR reported that of the candidates mentioned yesterday, Zemeckis seems to be the frontrunner, even though he has another project he’s directing first—an untitled drama starring Steve Carell. Warner Bros. is reportedly willing to wait for him to complete post-production on that film before moving forward with The Flash, in which case cameras might not even start rolling until the end of 2018.