While it’s a bit of a bummer that Guillermo del Toro decided against tackling Justice League Dark, the studio is still incredibly excited for the project and are racing to put together directors and a cast for the comic book adaptation. For those who are unfamiliar with the comic, it follows a team of superheroes who handle the weirder elements of the DC Universe. They’re not all-out heroes like Justice League but they’re not anti-heroes like Suicide Squad; they’re the weirdoes and the outsiders, and they’ve got their own set of skills.
According to JoBlo, WB was happy with del Toro’s script, and while he didn’t come on board because of issues over casting and scheduling, the studio is now looking at Big Bad Wolves duo Aharon Keshales & Navot Papushado and Evil Dead remake helmer Fede Alvarez as the frontrunners for the gig. These are the kind of directors who don’t have the cache to throw their weight around, but they do have acclaim and vision, and if they can strike a balance with the studio’s wishes, then everyone can come out a winner. It will be interesting to see how much freedom WB gives to the project’s director, and how much violence they’re expecting in the project. Producer Charles Roven previously stated that all of the studio’s comic book movies will be PG-13 (something I think is a limitation in some cases), so I doubt Justice League Dark will be as super-violent as Big Bad Wolves or Evil Dead.
When it comes to casting, JoBlo reiterates earlier reports from Heroic Hollywood and Latino Review stating that WB is looking at Colin Farrell for John Constantine, Ron Perlman for Swamp Thing, Ben Mendelsohn as Anton Arcane, Ewan McGregor for Jason Blood/The Demon, and Monica Bellucci for Madame Xanadu. They also want a comedic actor for Deadman and an unknown up-and-comer for the magician Zatanna. Bascially, they’re looking to keep costs manageable on the above-the-line talent and presumably there will be some cash left over for some visual effects weirdness. They’re also not betting the house on this one, and I doubt the budget for Justice League Dark will be anywhere close to what the studio ponies up for Justice League Part I and II.
We’re still in the early stages of development, and things could fall apart, but JoBlo says WB wants to get the film shooting in early 2016, which is remarkably fast, and yet it makes sense if the studio wants to add some tonal diversity to their superhero slate. Also, if the studio is high on Suicide Squad, it makes sense to throw another weird team into the mix. “You want to have your one big superhero team?” DCCU asks Marvel, “Fine. We’re going to have three teams and they’re going to be vastly different.” At the very least, it should be interesting if it all comes together.