May 15, 2014

We Need More Women Directing Comic Book Projects, How About Jane Goldman And Jovanka Vuckovic?

Yesterday, it was confirmed that Roberto Orci had been chosen to direct Star Trek 3. A screenwriter many believe is sub-par for the job, and is said to have forced his way into the director's chair. By blocking other candidates from even being considered, and bullying Paramount. It's beyond shocking that the studio would be even willing to consider a director with zero experience to spearhead a project that could be costing them north of $150 million in production costs. Orci was involved with television for decades, but it never occurred to him to direct an episode of the shows he was running/producing or writing for. The cons outweigh the pros, anyway you cut it, no matter what trolling screenwriter Max Landis (turned budding director?) will have you believe. 

This whole debacle was a slap in the face of budding directors and more the norm, female directors. 
It was pointed out that the highest budgeted film a woman directed was Kathryn Bigelow's K-19, which twelve years ago and cost $100 million. That's almost the cost for a large studio comedy film these days. The studio system doesn't even consider women for this high-profile projects, and if they do a reason if found to remove them. It's also a bit insulting to always fall-back to Bigelow as the only female director, because there are many hardworking ladies in the industry, they just aren't given the exposure she is. 

Marvel Studios famously hired Patty Jenkins (Monster, The Killing) to originally direct Thor: The Dark World, only a month or so after her announcement she left the production. The studio siting "creative differences", and Patty sounded unfazed by the whole experience. Jenkins would have made history as the first female director to make a mainstream studio comic book movie. Of course, Lexi Alexander being our first lady of Marvel, directing the brutally-fun Punisher: War Zone. Marvel missed their mark, while movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier proved they can be equal, when it comes to on-screen characters. There's still hope that Jenkins could return to the franchise to direct Thor 3, since Alan Taylor will be busy with his Terminator trilogy.

There are already three female-driven comic book projects coming down the line. Marvel's Jessica Jones series on Netflix and their feature adaptation of Captain Marvel (the Black Widow movie now in limbo) which is in script development. Even Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment is coming to their senses, and have Gal Gadot contracted to make a Wonder Woman movie. The latter is more up-in-the-air, as Gal has to complete filming Batman Vs Superman and Justice League before anything is announced. 

My hope is that filmmakers like Patty and Michelle MacLaren (The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad) land the directing gigs on these female-driven projects. Let's face it's about time, and these projects are tailor-made for them to direct. I've already mentioned how perfect Michelle would be for the Wonder Woman movie. However, there are two ladies I'd love to see also get into the mix. 

Jane Goldman (Stardust, The Woman In Black, The Debt, Pinocchio, Nonplayer, Miss Peregrine, Dan Leno And The Lighthouse Golem) is best known as a screenwriter, and the sometimes writing partner of director Matthew Vaughn. Her comic book writing credits include The Secret Service, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past. I have to assume she might also get involved with scripting for other comic film projects such as Superior, Golden Age and Bloodshot.

Seeing Jane make the jump to director feels more natural than Roberto Orci or Mark Millar becoming directors. If we're going to talk about writers who deserve shots to become features directors, Jane is good place to start. There are a couple projects I think Jane would be excellent for, working closely with Matthew Vaughn on so many productions. She obviously has the vision needed to handle such a task.

The first is, Ed Brubaker's Velvet. This comic is actually very new but it takes and interesting concept, which would be perfect for film adaptation. Brubaker has describe this comic as, "what if Moneypenny was accused of killing James Bond". Considering Goldman has already written the spy genre with The Secret Service, and nailed the action-side in her Kick-Ass/X-Men scripts, she'd be perfect to also adapt the work. Brubaker is coming-off massive success with his Winter Soldier comic saga being a major influence on the recent Captain America sequel, and the third installment. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are also adapting his comic Sleeper for the big screen. It's only a matter of time before Velvet makes the studio rounds. 

Goldman also has a knack for the supernatural and superpower side of the genre. Which could make her a prime candidate to direct Dark Universe/Justice League Dark. A project which Guillermo del Toro is hatching/producing with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, that explores the horror-side of the DCU. It's very possible that del Toro, like with many other projects he's producing will hand this off to another director. Jane could help with the script and could even make the film on a lower budget, guaranteeing that she and del Toro would get more creative freedom with their vision. 

The film would consist of a group of heroes with supernatural powers (not unlike the X-Men but with a horror edge), which would include John Constantine, The Spectre, Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Deadman and others. She's proven she can handle large-scale superhero narrative with First Class and Days of Future Past. Not to mention the supernatural element with movies like Stardust and The Woman In 

Speaking of team films, there's one that we've been waiting for ages which is BPRD. The Hellboy spin-off that's been mentioned almost as many times as the now-dead Hellboy 3. It's still a viable film as there are plenty of team members yet to be explored, and could be made without Hellboy in a lead role. 

I'd also totally be onboard to see her tackle Captain Marvel or if Marvel Studios ever resurrected the Black Widow movie. There are more than a few sources claiming that Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel will be introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron. We've been hearing for months that Marvel is ramping-up development on her solo film, with a script being penned by an unknown writer. Guardians of The Galaxy writer Nicole Perlman recently rewrote a new Widow script, which is completely different than the original film David Hayter (Watchmen, X-Men, X2) was attached to write-direct ten years ago.

Another lady that would flourish in this genre would be Jovanka Vuckovic. A Canadian horror director and of Rue Morgue fame. Her credits include The Captured Bird which was produced by Guillermo del Toro, and the all-female horror anthology XX. Variety just reported that Jovanka would make her feature directorial debut with an adaptation of Clive Barker's Jacqueline Ess with Lena Headey (Dredd, 300, Game of Thrones) in the lead role. A project that surely will get a lot of attention.  

While Goldman is not currently on Twitter, Jovanka is. During some exchanges on Twitter she mentioned being a fan of Mike Mignola's Baltimore, as I suggested she would be perfect for it. New Regency once tried to adapt the comic into a feature with David S. Goyer (Blade, Man of Steel) set to write-direct, but the studio passed with the rights reverting back to Migola and others. 

Considering her connections to Guillermo del Toro, it wouldn't be hard to imagine her being able to reach out to Mike Mignola or vise-versa. Legendary Pictures is now in the business of Guillermo del Toro working with him on Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak, which has now partnered with Universal Pictures. Universal was the studio that helped get the first two Hellboy movies made, also part of the comic universe of Mike Mignola. 

She also mentions a huge passion for Preacher. Luckily, for her Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are showrunning/writing the project for television. The pair are responsible for films such as Superbad, Pineapple Express, The Interview and This Is The End. Their work on apocalyptic comedy This Is The End is basically a great example of what Preacher could be. The series will air on AMC, the network that has given us The Walking Dead, one of the most successful comic-to-television adaptations ever made. The duo are also directors, but let's hope they give others, such as Vuckovic a couple of episodes to direct.

"Preacher" follows Reverend Jesse Custer, a tough Texas preacher who has lost his faith, has learned that God has left Heaven and abandoned His responsibilities. He finds himself the only person capable of tracking God down, demanding answers, and making Him answer for His dereliction of duty. Accompanying Jesse on his journey is his former girlfriend and a friendly vampire who seems to prefer a pint in the pub to the blood of the innocent. On his tail is one of the most iconic bad guys in print – an immortal, unstoppable killing machine named the Saint of Killers – a western lone gunman archetype whose sole purpose is to hunt and kill Jesse.

It's our duty in the fan community to voice our distain to what Hollywood is doing, with this genre. We know there are talented female directors, and we all want to see female-driven films. Keep repeating these ideas and maybe the studios will finally get it into their heads, it will work. 

No comments:

Post a Comment