Home Publishers DC Ava DuVernay to direct a NEW GODS movie

Ava DuVernay to direct a NEW GODS movie

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BOOM! If you wanted to start seeing some bold moves out of WB/DC Films, you just got your wish.

Deadline is reporting that Selma/A Wrinkle In Time auteur Ava DuVernay is closing in on a deal with WB to direct an adaptation of The New Gods, a major piece of the “epic of our times” that Jack Kirby crafted at DC when he took on his third tour of duty with the publisher after co-creating almost the entirety of the Marvel Universe.

DuVernay whose A Wrinkle In Time is currently #2 at the box office, and Marvel Studio’s first choice for Black Panther, has been long circulating the blockbuster sphere and this will be her second mega-budget film in a row. As for WB, recruiting DuVernay marks the biggest directorial grab they’ve embarked upon since Christopher Nolan took on the Batman franchise. It’s a huge move, on a film that no one really thought was in any active stage of development.

I won’t lie, I’ve played this out in my head so many times. Open with “The Pact”, divide the narrative between Mister Miracle + Big Barda on one end, with Orion’s efforts with his human gang on the other, and then they combine again in the big confrontation with Darkseid. I’m imagining all the character designs now, The Deep Six! The Black Racer! It goes on and on. And while, A Wrinkle In Time wasn’t exceptionally well-received critically, most everyone agreed that its visual scope was one of its most impressive elements. And let’s all agree on this, The Fourth World epic is all about overpowering bombast, and given DuVernay’s own strong directorial hand, this will prove very promising indeed.

Also, Big Barda is her favorite superhero. Sold.

And now there’s two women making superhero movies at WB. Hell yes.

The studio is quickly setting a screenwriter per the report. They also state that there’s no known connection to the rest of the DC Cinematic Universe at this point, which given the original context of The Fourth World makes a lot of sense as well. Listen, I love those Jimmy Olsen comics (Mokkari is a long-time favorite of mine), but they’re a bit of an odd fit next to that original trilogy of series that Kirby had envisioned. So if this goes stand-alone, I’m very here for that too.

I love a late breaking surprise. The Toby Emmerich-Walter Hamada era at the studio may have scored its very first major coup.

30 COMMENTS

  1. So, she basically rips the guts out of “A Wrinkle in Time” and produces a movie that might at best only lose a little bit of money for the studio…and they’re going to hand her the work of JACK KIRBY? If story doesn’t matter, why not just give it to del Toro and be done with it?

    Mike

  2. Considering Thor Ragnarok’s success and visual aesthetics, time for DC’s love letter to Kirby? Might not be as humorous though (necessarily).

  3. It will likely be several years before shooting begins on this project … IF it’s made, and if DuVernay doesn’t drop out, like Patti Jenkins dropped out of Thor: The Dark World, Edgar Wright with Ant-Man, etc. There’s apparently not even a script yet. Not that that’s ever stopped a movie studio before …

    It’s sad that as soon as a director makes an acclaimed indie drama for adults, they have to sign up for a mega-bucks franchise movie to prove they “matter.” It seems you’re not taken seriously until you’ve blown $200 million on a trivial popcorn flick.

  4. Turn over what could end up being a major epic/franchise for Warners to a director with no talent for casting and a poor eye for genre films? Typical Hollywood thinking.

  5. I think Warners thinking is painfully obvious here but still a miscalculation. In this new Weinstein/#metoo, girl power, post Jenkins/Wonder Woman environment, a popular “woke” director (whose only real success was with a couple of humorless indy projects that made no money) like DuVernay might provide Warners/DC with cover from critics and praise from the black/woke/diversity folks when DuVernay inevitably turns in a product that is just as big a steaming pile of failure as Wrinkle was.

    Good plan on paper. Problem is that critics expended all of their sympathy and excuses for her Wrinkle fiasco. Critics(and audiences) will not be as forgiving again and especially with a DCEU film. DuVernay has shown that she’s not adept at big budget action films that need major audience cross appeal. Translation: Big budget action films have to appeal to more than just 8 year old black girls and DuVernay fans(we have seen the numbers for Wrinkle, right? White moviegoers outnumbered blacks by a large margin. She didn’t even get Tyler Perry numbers with black moviegoers so even black audiences have shown that a woke director don’t mean shit if said director delivers crap that audiences have to pay 15 bucks a ticket to see). She pulls that with New Gods and it’s back to penny ante indy documentaries that might get Oscar nominated but don’t make any money. And that will be the story of DuVernay and possibly the DCEU.

    By the by, if you want to hire a black director for New Gods so badly, hire someone like Antoine Fuqua who has proven himself time and time again that he can deftly handle such material. He’s certainly a better director than either DuVernay or Jenkins with epic action films.

  6. I was all happy about this, but reading the comments has changed my mind. A woman director??? Oh no!! And she’s black??

  7. …Because all men who directed the superhero movies had big blockbuster credentials. And all those movies by big blockbuster credential men were successful with critic and audience alike….
    Maybe I’ve missed a lot of negativity at about *any* director chosen recently, I might be mistaken for thinking that all those comments above are infused by not a lot of trust in a black, female director.
    (Oh, seen elsewhere on the ‘net – Kathy Bates as Granny Goodness. Perfect. Adding to that: Venus Williams as Big Barda?)

  8. I love how the average internet commenter pretends to know anything about how Hollywood works. Given the pros and cons for this director, I don’t think anything is obvious. I’m just excited that a Fourth World movie might end up on the big screen some day. I couldn’t care less about all the fan opinions of a potential director.

  9. I’ve never seen any of DuVernay’s work, so I have no opinion on this one way or another. But after the shameful way WB treated Zack Snyder on “Justice League” and actively sabotaged his film, I can’t believe any big name directors would ever work with this studio again on these properties. Hopefully her agent was able to negotiate final cut into her contract.

  10. Daniel,

    I highly recommend Selma (especially), her documentary 13th (which is on Netflix), and her Sundance award winner Middle of Nowhere.

  11. I wonder if she’ll start the film with another 5-minute introduction where she salutes herself for being the greatest civil rights hero America has ever produced, kind of like she did for “Wrinkle in Time.”

  12. Andrew sez: “I had no idea that best picture nominee Selma was considered an indie film that made no money.”

    Exactly. I don’t think any movie presented in the Oprah Winfrey Network house style can be called “indie.” That’s as dumb as calling those Medea movies “alt-comedy”…

  13. “I might be mistaken for thinking that all those comments above are infused by not a lot of trust in a black, female director.”

    You are indeed mistaken. People being skeptical about her ability to deliver a great Fourth World movie has nothing to do with her gender nor her ethnicity. It’s about her resume, the quality of work and what experience she may/may not bring to a genre superhero movie. Personally I think way too many people are going gah-gah over this news simply because she is black and a woman. They could care less whether she can deliver a great Fourth World movie or not.

  14. “Maybe I’ve missed a lot of negativity at about *any* director chosen recently, I might be mistaken for thinking that all those comments above are infused by not a lot of trust in a black, female director..”

    Yeah, I do think you’ve missed a lot… just about every director announced for a major studio superhero movie is questioned and scrutinized by comic fandom. In this case, and sorry to disappoint, it has nothing to do that she is a female or that’s she’s black. But hey, we live in an era where a large portion of paranoid “progressives” can’t help themselves and just reflexively spew out their baseless racism accusations 24/7.

  15. Really? I sure didn’t see you guys freaking out about the recent directorial choice for Shazam!, or when Matt Reeves signed on to direct Batman, even the reaction to the new Flash directors was pretty muted around here…

  16. “Venus Williams as Big Barda?”

    WHA-?! Was there any explanation for this head scratching dream casting? I don’t even think Venus has an ounce of acting experience (her sister Serena has dabbled in acting over the years. but while she is indeed a great tennis player, I don’t think acting is her strong point!).

  17. “the reaction to the new Flash directors was pretty muted around here…”

    You do realize no one can even keep track of who’s directing the Flash movie this week, right? Why bother even commenting on the director since it could possible change yet again next week?

    Seriously, I didn’t even see the news that the Flash movie got a new director (heck, it got two of them!) early this month (I had to just Google it). John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein being picked for Flash seems to have gotten only a fraction of news coverage compared to the coverage of Ava DuVernay directing a Fourth World movie. And I wonder why that is?

  18. “I sure didn’t see you guys freaking out about the recent directorial choice for Shazam!, or when Matt Reeves signed on to direct Batman, even the reaction to the new Flash directors was pretty muted around here.”

    How many of those guys JUST released a film that removed a major element from the beloved source material and is on track to AT BEST break even at the box office? The Shazam director, in comparison, has done two very commercially successful horror flicks. Matt Reeves did the original “Cloverfield” and two of the recent Planet of the Apes trilogy. The Flashpoint guys were some of the writers on “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” What exactly is there to complain about with them the way there is with DuVernay?

    Mike

  19. So Mike, you want to single out one divisive film in her successful filmography, which includes a HIGHLY acclaimed Best Picture nominee, but you’re okay with the Vacation reboot guys directing a Flash film?

    I’m fine with both, for the record, though I’m a heck of a lot more dubious about Daley and Goldstein.

  20. Hey, if Ava’s interest is the only thing getting a Fourth World film going (and it likely is – not a very commercial property), I say more power to her. “Selma” was good, albeit fairly standard well-executed Oscar-bait. I honestly don’t blame her for “Wrinkled,” because the book is a turd, and hasn’t been read by anyone in 30 years. I just hope she demonstrates a better understanding/appreciation of genre storytelling. And please, no goddamn pre-celebration self-congratulatory introductions for this film, like she did for “Wrinkled.”

  21. I wonder how many of the people here bashing A Wrinkle in Time have actually seen it? I haven’t seen it, either, and that’s why I’m not calling it a steaming pile of crap or whatever. I don’t criticize movies until I’ve seen them.

    Alexander: Selma was an indie film and while it did well for an indie, that meant nothing to studios that want every movie to make a billion dollars worldwide. Only a select group of films can do that kind of business — movies packed with large-scale action and CGI spectacle. Human interest dramas don’t make that kind of money, because they don’t translate well overseas.

    ” … after the shameful way WB treated Zack Snyder on “Justice League” and actively sabotaged his film.”

    Daniel: Snyder made the decision to leave JL after a family tragedy (his daughter’s suicide). Whedon wasn’t brought in to sabotage the film but to complete and salvage it. I thought he did the best he could. The material wasn’t the best, and Whedon’s rewrites helped only so much.

  22. “Venus Williams as Big Barda?”

    Well, now that actress Lainie Kazan — Kirby’s inspiration for Big Barda — is pushing 80, Williams is as good a choice as any. (Track down the October 1970 issue of Playboy if you want to see exactly what inspired Kirby.)

    Reading some of the comments here, I thought of film critic Mark Harris’ tweet about the DuVernay announcement: “This is a prank to see how bad Twitter can get, right?”

  23. My opinion is that superhero comics are essentially unfilmable – for all the money they make, the movies are very poor translations of the originals – and Kirby, being pretty much elemental superheroics, is particularly unlikely to be rendered well. Throw in gender/race-swapping and wokeness, and who needs it?

  24. “you want to single out one divisive film in her successful filmography”

    Her filmography consists of “Selma,” “A Wrinkle in Time” and a whole lot of not much else. And the issue with “A Wrinkle in Time” is that everyone INCLUDING DuVernay states that she significantly refashioned the original story and jettisoned very important parts of it to conform to HER vision. Is that the person you want bringing Jack Kirby to the big screen?

    If this were a white guy with the same filmography, including the Oscar nomination, being tapped to do a New Gods flick, plenty of people would be giving that decision some grief.

    Mike

  25. “DuVernay states that she significantly refashioned the original story and jettisoned very important parts of it to conform to HER vision”

    Wow, that’s like every film adaptation ever. Let’s cry about it this time though.

  26. “Is that the person you want bringing Jack Kirby to the big screen?”

    Sure. I’d rather see her interpretation of New Gods than a slavish adaptation (which would probably require a 10-hour TV miniseries instead of a feature film). If I want Kirby’s New Gods — and Forever People and Mr. Miracle and Jimmy Olsen — the comic book stories are still available, in reprints or back issues.

    I’m sorry we never got to see Kathryn Bigelow’s take on X-Men. She was attached to an X-Men movie in the early ’90s (which James Cameron was to produce), but it never happened.

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