One of the bigwigs at Warner Bros. Pictures has addressed some of the method to the studio's DC Cinematic Universe madness.
With all the constant chatter about multiple writers on different movies, directors coming and going, and even the look of Jared Leto as the Joker in Suicide Squad, the fledgling DC Cinematic Universe is not having as easy a ride with fans as the rival Marvel operation -- but then again, why should it? Only one official DCU movie has been released -- and that one, Man of Steel, was not universally loved -- while Marvel, to put it in baseball terms, has been mostly hitting a lot of home runs and some solid triples and doubles for seven years and 11 movies now.
So that's why this new interview with Warner Bros. head of production Greg Silverman by the Hollywood Reporter could be useful, because while speaking about a wide range of WB projects, Silverman also tackled some of the issues surrounding the DCU. So let's see of he clears anything up. Asked about making the DC franchise films stand out from the Marvel saga, Silverman replied:
We have a great strategy for the DC films, which is to take these beloved characters and put them in the hands of master filmmakers and make sure they all coordinate with each other. You'll see the difference when you see Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad, Justice League and all the things that we are working on.
On whether all the DC superhero movies will be "dark":
There is intensity and a seriousness of purpose to some of these characters. The filmmakers who are tackling these properties are making great movies about superheroes; they aren't making superhero movies. And when you are trying to make a good movie, you tackle interesting philosophies and character development. There's also humor, which is an important part.
Silverman also spoke about whether it was important to hire a female director for Wonder Woman (even if they've already replaced their first choice, Michelle MacLaren, with Patty Jenkins):
We had a very intensive process looking at everybody. Patty and Michelle were really the ones who came to the forefront the first go-round, so when things didn't work out with Michelle, we all knew we had someone great who had expressed interest before. She came back and is doing a great job. But it was never about the best female director. She has demonstrated doing amazing work with female characters, such as in Monster.
And speaking of Wonder Woman, what about the scheme of having five different writers each write a first act for the movie independently of each other (a similar ploy is reportedly being used for Aquaman too):
Every project is different. On some projects, we have multiple writers working together. In some cases, we put writers together who have never been a team together. And sometimes, there is only one writer whose voice is right. In the case of Wonder Woman, the right approach was to have writers pitching different scenes within the framework we created.
Is it me, or does he actually say very little in those answers? Why was having multiple writers competing against each other on Wonder Woman the "right approach"? And what exactly is the "difference" that we'll see when the DC films start to roll out in earnest next year?
We have to grant that any studio exec or filmmaker is going to be purposely vague to some degree, to retain some aspect of surprise, but for example, Silverman doesn't really address whether every DC movie is going to be "grim and gritty," and if so, why.
Look, there's no point in hoping that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman are anything but terrific films and commercial hits. Who wants movies based on these iconic characters to fail? But until someone can explain a little more clearly what the difference is between "great movies about superheroes" and "superhero movies," the DC Cinematic Universe still seems riddled with doubt.
What do you think of Silverman's remarks? Are they reassuring or confusing?