Feature doc planned on aborted superhero pic
When Warner Bros. pulled the plug in 2008 on Justice League Mortal, which George Miller wanted to shoot in Australia, the local industry lost a production that would have employed hundreds of crew and supporting actors.
Director Ryan Unicomb and producers Aaron Cater and Steven Caldwell believe there is a fascinating story in the aborted superhero adventure, which they aim to chronicle in a feature-length documentary.
Announced today, the doc has the working title Miller’s Justice League Mortal. It will seek to give an unbiased account of the project’s development, preproduction and cancellation, as well as the impact on the Australian film industry.
The producers have enlisted film writer/author Maria Lewis to help develop the doc. The plan is to interview some of the cast and crew who would have worked on the film and gain access to never-before-seen artwork and costumes.
They have yet to approach Miller and his producing partner Doug Mitchell. Without their co-operation it’s difficult to see how the filmmakers could proceed.
“We wanted to get the story out there to help us to gauge interest,” says Unicomb, who has directed a number of short films including Gifted, co-directed with Jordan Bailey, which followed the rise and fall of the world’s first superhero, Guardian.
“I have always been fascinated with project, which would be in the same vein as 2013’s Jodorowsky’s Dune and this year’s The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, about a Superman movie that Tim Burton was to direct in the 1990s.”
Unicomb already has private investors lined up, which he might augment with a crowd-funding campaign.
WB originally announced plans for the film in 2007 for a 2009 release, then encountered problems with the US writers’ strike. Subsequently Miller threatened to shoot the film offshore, either in Canada or New Zealand, after the Film Finance Corporation ruled it wasn’t eligible for the new 40% producer offset.
The cast would have included Adam Brody, Common, Armie Hammer, Teresa Palmer and Megan Gale.
The studio has since revived Justice League with director Zack Snyder, to star Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Ray Fisher as Cyborg.
Meannwhile Unicomb has pushed back the start date of his Stream of Consciousness, a sci-fi thriller by American writer J.E. Clarke, from September to next February.
That’s to accommodate the shooting schedule of Rutger Hauer, who is in talks to play the lead, Dr Saul Aaron, who invents technology which makes telepathy possible.