Now that Warner Brothers has revealed their planned superhero film schedule through 2020, the news is starting to come fast and furious about these projects. We know that they are currently casting on 2016’s Suicide Squad and that Man Of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice director Zack Snyder will be helming their two part Justice League film due in 2017 and 2019. And as the studio is searching for directors to take on the various solo superhero films filling out their schedule, they have a special requirement for one of those projects as the Hollywood Reporter has stated that Warners is keen on getting a female director to head up their planned 2017 Wonder Woman film.
The sad fact is that while we certainly seem to be in a boom period for comic book/superhero films, I can only think of two female directors who have ever really worked in the genre – Rachel Tallaly’s Tank Girl from 1995 and Lexi Alexander’s Punisher: War Zone (2008). Neither film was exceptionally well received at the time of their release, though they have gained some appreciation in the time since. The only other female director who has come close to directing a superhero film was Monster’s Patty Jenkins, who was up to direct Thor: The Dark World though she and Marvel Studios were unable to come to terms on her deal.
As to whom the frontrunners might be, Forbes is suggesting that Kathryn Bigelow is Warners top choice, but Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Mimi Leder (Deep Impact), Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body), and Julie Taymor (Across the Universe) are all also under consideration, as well as such television veterans Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones) and Tricia Brock (The Walking Dead).
Bigelow, with an Academy Award nomination for Zero Dark Thirty and an Oscar win for The Hurt Locker, is certainly the heavy hitter here. As the most powerful female director in the business, Bigelow certainly has her choice of projects available to her, so Warners would have to present a pretty convincing case for her to take on Wonder Woman.
After Bigelow, out of all the remaining choices, I think the next most solid is Leder. Deep Impact was a well crafted movie, it suffered only by being released in the same summer as Michael Bay’s bombastic Armageddon. Taymor is an interesting, if out of the box, choice. With her theater background, Taymor’s sensibilities tend towards much more artier fare than one would expect from a comic book film director, although her Shakespearian adaptations of Titus (1999) and The Tempest (2010) may serve her with some of the character’s mythological trappings. But as director of the now infamous Spider-Man Broadway musical, will Taymor want tore-enter the world of superheroes? MacLarena would also be a strong choice given the amount of visual effects experience Game Of Thrones has probably given her.
Interestingly, while everyone who considers that there is some sort of horserace between Marvel and Warners in terms of their respective superhero franchises insists that Marvel is way out in front of Warners, an actually scheduled Wonder Woman film does put Warners in the lead as to bringing their various comic book properties to the big screen. Marvel has been dithering back and forth as to whether they will allow the up-until-now-supporting-player Black Widow, as played by Scarlett Johansson, or any other female superhero to headline their own feature film. And if Warners manages to land a female director for Wonder Woman, that would put a second first in their column against Marvel.