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Chris Columbus to Direct Superman?

By TK Burton | Industry | July 9, 2010 |

By TK Burton | Industry | July 9, 2010 |

To borrow a phrase from my friend Steven L. Wilson, this is why I drink.

The Superman franchise has been a troubled one. Ever since the release of Superman II, the character has struggled to find an identity in the cinematic world. It’s actually a surprisingly difficult character to render sympathetically. Yes, he’s got the whole stranger-in-a-strange-land thing going on, but then again — he’s near-invincible. He can fly. He has godlike superpowers. There’s none of the angst and fear and unease that comes with Spider-Man, or the X-Men, or, of course, Batman. In short, Superman is, well… kind of boring. It seems strange to say that one of the most powerful beings in the DC Comics universe is difficult to make exciting, but it’s the truth. It’s what plagued Brian Singer’s Superman Returns (in addition to a plot that was a little too similar to the original Donner Superman).

So, Warner Brothers has been trying to figure out what to do with the character. In the years between the disastrously bad Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Singer’s film, the character went through a series of iterations and concepts and ideas that is no less than astonishing. Stories where Lex Luthor was his brother. Stories with him fighting giant spiders and polar bears. Stories with Lois Lane having a virgin birth. I swear to you that all of those are true. But in the end, they went with Singer, who was a proven success with comic books after the first two X-Men films, and they ended up with a rather lackluster product that failed to become the blockbuster they wanted and needed (full disclosure: I actually very much enjoyed Superman Returns, but I don’t deny that it’s a deeply flawed film).

So what does Warner Brothers do for the next film, which will be another reboot / reborquel (tentatively titled The Man of Steel)? They’ve already attached Christopher Nolan to be sort of a Godfather to the production, in the hopes that some of his Batman brilliance will rub off. But they need a director, and they need one soon — they’re trying to get a film made for Christmas of 2012. Who do you turn to, in this hour of need. Who can save them from themselves? Who can take this somewhat boring product and give it new, exciting life?

How about the director of I Love You, Beth Cooper?


Oh, fuck.

Supermanhomepage has the skinny on this newest rumor:

As we know, Warner Bros. are aiming to have a new Superman movie released to cinemas before the end of 2012. A source inside the studio has revealed to the Superman Homepage that an “offer has been sent out to Chris Columbus to direct the 3D Superman reboot for December 2012″.

Columbus, who directed the first two “Harry Potter” films for Warner Bros., is reportedly considered “the right fit” for the Man of Steel by those within the WB and Legendary Pictures. Christopher Nolan will be producing the film, from a script written by David Goyer.

Yeah. Rumor has it that Warner Brothers has offered the gig to Chris Columbus, the safest and blandest director in all of Hollywood. Columbus isn’t a bad director, per se. He’s just totally and completely passionless. He’s boring. Bland. He’s… serviceable. He directed the first two Harry Potter films, and while they were enough to get audiences interested, they’re easily the least memorable of the series so far.

I don’t hate Chris Columbus. But I don’t like him. He’s the Ford Taurus of directors. He’s just… there. He’s one of those directors about whom the most flattering thing that I can think of to say is, “he’s not incompetent.” Hiring Chris Columbus for Superman is better than hiring, say, Bret Ratner for X-Men 3… but not much better.

Is that what we want for the Man of Steel?

Fuck no. We want a visionary. Someone who will fill people with the same kind of awe that they felt when they watched Donner’s film. Someone who will restore that sense of wonder to the franchise. Frankly, we need Christopher Nolan, but with less pathos.

Which is of course the interesting question — will a guy like Nolan really be interested in working with a stiff like Columbus? Considering the near-Kubrickian early buzz about Inception, we can safely say that Nolan is one of the finest, most imaginative and innovative minds working in cinema right now. Pairing him with one of the dullest? I don’t see it. But who knows. Warner Brothers has fucked the dog in the past on big budget pictures (*cough*BattlefieldEarth/ Swordfish/ EckVsSever/ Beowulf/ 10,000BC*cough*)

We’ll keep you posted.

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TK Burton is the Editorial Director. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.