Is the Superman Movie Lining Up a Director?

— by CAM SMITH —

While he may be more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, Superman has had a mighty tough time carving out a place for himself in the current superhero movie world. Bryan Singer’s entertaining “Superman Returns” certainly didn’t ignite the box-office, nor did it do a great deal of good in expanding the character’s appeal beyond the already faithful.

Back in February, news broke that Christopher Nolan — he of the amazing “Dark Knight” and “Inception” — would be god-fathering a new take on the Kryptonian avenger, with brother Jonah Nolan and “Blade” scribe David S. Goyer supplying the screenplay. The planned film, inspired by John Byrne’s beloved take on the character, and currently operating under the working title “The Man of Steel,” is expected to shoot fairly soon in order to be finished before the character’s rights revert to creator Jerry Siegel’s family. But who, pray tell, will be behind the camera?

Thankfully, the trusty know-it-alls at Deadline have posted a list of the five directors who are allegedly in talks for the gig.

The lucky quintet consists of:

Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield,” “Let Me In”): An extremely promising up-and-comer, whose American remake of the fantastic Swedish film “Let the Right One In” (opening Oct. 1 is garnering strong notices. On paper, he may not seem particularly well-suited to helming a Superman picture, but he’s got a sharp eye for visuals and, I suspect, a great deal of versatility. Plus, his last name is dead-on appropriate, given the property’s Hollywood history.

Duncan Jones (“Moon,” the upcoming “Source Code”): Another rising star, Jones’ “Moon” was an astonishingly assured debut that not only showed off the director’s skill with actors, but also his mastery at world-building and effects. Having seen what he achieved on a shoestring budget, the mind boggles at the wonders we could be treated to if Jones were given free reign to let his imagination run wild.

Jonathan Liebesman (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning,” “Battle: Los Angeles”): Although his filmography is spotty – having also helmed “Darkness Falls” – early word on the sci-fi actioner “Battle” is damn strong. In fact, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures – the studio/production house behind “The Man of Steel” – were so impressed by his efforts on that picture that they’ve tapped him to helm “Clash of the Titans 2” for them. He’s probably a bit of a long shot for Superman, but he does have a good relationship with the people who matter.

Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen,” “Sucker Punch”): Probably the most obvious choice of the bunch, Snyder’s stunning knack for crafting iconic imagery would likely serve Supes well. However, given his past track-record for acting as the primary driving force behind his efforts, it seems questionable whether he’d want to attach his name to something that stands a good chance at ultimately being remembered as “Chris Nolan’s Superman.” Still, crazier things have happened, and the two superstar directors would certainly make a formidable creative duo…

Tony Scott (“Top Gun,” “True Romance,” the upcoming “Unstoppable”): An inconsistent veteran of lunk-headed blockbusters, Scott seems noticeably out of place being grouped in the same company as the prior four talents. While I have no doubt he could deliver the BANG and BOOM, he isn’t known for crafting particularly intelligent films (a problem, given Nolan’s sensibilities) or three-dimensional characters. Plus, his ADD-editing style and annoying predilection for shooting endless scenes of cars flipping over seems too earthbound and gritty for what Superman demands.

However, before you get too excited and/or angry about any of the names on this list, a word of caution: Bleeding Cool has reported on Ain’t It Cool founder Harry Knowles’ Twitter feed, which reads the following:
“I wouldn’t place money that it’ll be any of those names from what I have heard off the record. Sigh.”

Though this doesn’t 100-percent guarantee that none of the above five will snag the job, it’s an intriguing comment that would seem to indicate that the final choice may be a far less interesting auteur. Sheesh, way to throw a wet blanket on the party, Knowles! (I keed, I keed!)

Regardless, I’d be fine with Reeves, Jones or Snyder. I just hope they aren’t weighed down by the combined firepower of their heavyweight overseers.

How do you IJMers feel about these choices? Do any of the five tickle your fancy? If not, who would you like to see in the director’s chair? Throw on a cape and soar on over to our comments section and let us know!

. . .

Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at

movie, Zack Snyder, DC Comics, “Superman”, Christopher Nolan, Tony Scott, Jonathan Liebesman, Duncan Jones, Matt Reeves

5 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. 1

    who ever lands the role of director i hope they hit it out of the park and do the character to justice.

  2. Adam poynter #

    Zack Snyder is the obvious choice, but you never know what a director can do until they are givien the time and the chance to prove it! I hope they pick some random pwerson that will totally blow us away!

  3. Andy Behbakht #

    I have neve heard of these directors before, I was hoping for Nolan to
    direct when I heard that Nolan was going to work with the movie but dunno…^^

  4. moviefan #

    kinda hard for nolan to direct superman. Since he starts production in next few months with his batman 3 film. And with all the legal issues with superman it has to be filming by the end of next yr. and if the plan is to have it be a winter 2012 release they got to be filming no later then june/july 2011 to have enough time for production. So with that nolan would likely still be within production on his 3rd bat flick so its not possible for him. But who know if any of these 5 will land the role of director. maybe will maybe not.

  5. Mo GB #

    I love the artwork.

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