The following remarks were delivered by Dingo Fontana, professional interventionist, to a collection of Warner Bros. and DC Studios executives earlier this month. Audio obtained by Grainger Heavensbee for Pajiba.
Guys. Guys. GUYS! Can you maybe ask the DJ to stop spinning for a few minutes? Ease off the Red Bull vodkas? We need to discuss something serious that’s affecting your entir…PUT DOWN THE GODDAMN NITROUS TANK, FELLAS! THIS IS SERIOUS!
[A group of execs doing CrossFit in full business attire look toward the podium, blink, then resume their 500-pound deadlifts (three sets of a half-rep each)]
Everyone, please. We have a lot to cover in the next two hours. According to a recent story in The Hollywood Reporter, your rambunctious, rudderless stewardship of the DC Comics cinematic universe has the potential to jeopardize what could be a trillion-dollar revenue stream. Pay attention. Zack Snyder, can you help me out here?
“Nah, I’m not in charge. Ask Nolan. He’s in the back.”
[lifesize Christopher Nolan figure made entirely from 70 mm film and IMAX camera parts stands pretentiously in the corner]
That’s a not really Chris Nolan. That’s a celluloid scarecrow.
“Yeah, his Scarecrow was SICK, right bro? Face was all BLAHHHHHHHH and shit! I’ve slayed some chicks in my day that I wish were hallucinations — or at least had a sack over their head like my man Oswald Nygma — so those Batman Begins scenes really hit home. Anyway, we wanted to use a hologram but Chris went into this long rant about how digital technology is basically cinematic AIDS. This was easier for everyone involved.”
Well, if you wouldn’t mind trying control the group. We really need to begin.
“Hey, you know what I’d have called that Scarecrow actor on set?”
What? No, we have to st…
“Cillian Murphy Brown Bag. GET IT? His name is Cillian Murphy, and his character wore a burlap sack on his head. Murphy Brown was this mouthy news broad who gave Dan Quayle nightmares. Goddamn that is fucking BRILLIANT! Don’t you dare steal it.”
Yes, anyway, as I was saying…
“Ooh! Or ‘Illian Murphy.’ Because that cat is super ill. Had I made Batman Begins, I would have called his character, like, S-Crow, because his only motivation is to take custody of everyone’s money, son!”
[A hotel employee arrives with a giant cart filled with strip-club coupons, beef jerky and Aquaman scripts. Half the room descends on the cart like sharks to a bleeding corpse floating in the sea.]
This is exactly what I mean, people. No one is in charge. You can’t even stay focused for more than five minutes. I’ve talked with Marvel execs before. For all their flaws, they understand the need for a strong hand on the tiller. Someone who can oversee the shared universe, establish a consistent tone, and ensure that every film seamlessly connects to the larger story. Who is DC’s Kevin Feige?
“It’s pronounced ‘Feeg.’”
“Yeah, Feeg. As in, ‘FEEG HEIL!’ Because Kevin Feige is literally Hitler. He lords over those Marvel directors and screenwriters, demanding unwavering obedience at all times. Express an independent thought and you’re out on your ass. Edgar Wright is lucky he escaped alive. You know who else wanted a third phase and made people wear symbols on their clothes? Exactly.”
Zack, what the hell are you talking about? Batman vs. Superman has a scene where troops with Superman badges on their shoulders kneel before an alien with a giant S on his costume.
“Only because it looks trill.”
Listen up. You all have to get serious. It isn’t hopeless. The first Batman vs. Superman teaser captured 47 million views in two weeks, and Affleck’s Batman appears surprisingly badass. Man of Steel earned nearly $700 million worldwide. David Ayer secured a ridiculous cast for his Suicide Squad movie. One of your upcoming movies actually features a female superhero. You even hired a woman to direct, fired her, and then hired a different woman to replace her. Not everything is terrible!
“Yes, you will see Wonder Woman’s butt in her film. I can confirm that. We will not compromise on this front. Or back.”
BUT, your creative process has been a disaster. Hiring five writers to compete for the Wonder Woman gig? What were you thinking?
“Men like to fight over women. That’s why women have it so easy today.”
[lots of nods and ‘youre goddamn rights’ throughout the room]
That’s not the only concern. Aquaman, despite casting Jason “Fuck Marvel” Momoa in the…
Uh, I believe he played Khal Drogo on HBO’s Game of Thrones. But anyway…
“He fucks with fish now, bro. Carp Drogo. He just is.”
Despite the excellent casting, Aquaman appears to be in worse shape than the Amazonian queen. Everyone from Will Beall to Harper Lee submitted an Aquaman script. All are on hold until the studio decides to move forward on a standalone film. Even Suicide Squad isn’t immune. Will Smith’s Deadshot looks like he just stepped off the Wild Wild West set, and Jared Leto’s Joker appears to be the offspring of Birdman Andersen and a Juggalo. This is what happens when there’s no strategy, no uniformity.
“We have a plan. Our movies are different than Marvel’s. We’re going to win on tone. Dark. Gritty. Like black sandpaper. Er, African-American sandpaper. I don’t know, whichever is less racist. It’s hard for me to tell because I’m both stupid and, like my Man of Steel cinematographer, can’t see colors.”
I can’t believe I’m wasting my day with this nonsense.
“Look, everyone in this room hears you, loud and clear. We get it. These are tremendously valuable properties. Not just financially, but to each and every child who grew up dreaming that he or she would one day see their ink-drawn heroes brought to life on the big screen. That’s a responsibility we take extremely seriously. Our fans deserve thoughtful, nuanced, intelligent character-driven superhero films, and that’s exactly what we plan to deliver.”
Well, that certainly sounds admirable. Perhaps this was time well spent after all.
“Oh, almost forgot the most important component.”
[entire room exchanges high fives and doubles over in laughter]
“WHOOO BOY MY UNDERWEAR MIGHT BE A LITTLE DARK AND GRITTY AFTER THAT ONE!”