What Does ‘Justice League’ Need to Succeed?

As I am sure most of the regular readers here know I am not a big comicbook reader, in fact I have never actually read a comicbook. However, I love a good comicbook movie and I am not exactly sure what Justice League is going to become. Warner Bros. has put the film on the fast track for production, but will they be able to move as quickly as they would like with the stars they are interested in?

Three days after we learned Jessica Biel had been offered the role of Wonder Woman in the Justice League we get word she turned the film down from Entertainment Weekly. This certainly doesn’t help production, and I am now starting to wonder what caliber actors they are going to be able to land for this massive ensemble piece.

Just the other day MTV posted an article with a wishlist of actors for roles in the film. The list went like this:

  • Superman: Tom Welling
  • Batman: Christian Bale
  • Flash: Ryan Reynolds
  • Green Lantern: Jamie Foxx
  • Aquaman: Ryan Phillippe
  • Wonder Woman: Kate Beckinsale
  • Martian Manhunter: Keanu Reeves

Just look at those names for a second, not a bad list of names I would say. All of them have films I enjoy and each name is recognizeable by pretty much anyone, except Tom Welling who may be the odd man out, even though he does star on “Smallville”, he is certainly the smallest of the bunch. However, he has been playing Superman now for seven years now, which I have to assume makes him the top candidate for such a role. Ironically out of the list he may be the best suited for the specific role (along with Bale of course) and will probably come the cheapest. Funny how Hollywood works.

The reason I point this list out is because it would cost TONS to get all of these folks in one movie, not to mention how much it would cost to get all of these folks in a movie involving superheroes and tons of special effects. IESB said the budget had been approaching $160 million at one point already and we all know that budgets rarely go down once they begin production.

I can’t help but look at this project and think Warner Bros. is going to try and make it for as cheap as they can and as quickly as they can. Superman Returns had a budget that blossomed to astronomical heights and was even rumored to balloon over $300 million. A lot of that had to do with how long it actually took to make and the variety of individuals involved before it became a reality, but after that film didn’t live up to expectations I have to assume they don’t want a repeat performance.

So, I think the biggest question the Justice League movie faces is just how far down the Hollywood list can you go to find your actors for an ensemble piece of this magnitude?

For Zack Snyder and his Watchmen production he was able to cast great actors and didn’t need to go after the big name, can the same be done for Justice League? Christian Bale wasn’t exactly huge when Chris Nolan cast him as Batman, Brandon Routh was certainly no one before Superman, Eric Bana wasn’t on the tip of everyone’s tongue when he played Hulk, Ioan Gruffudd was certainly not water cooler chatter when he signed on for Mr. Fantastic and Alan Cumming hasn’t been heard of since he played Nightcrawler, the most memorable comicbook movie character in a very long time in my eyes.

So what’s the formula?

I would guess you don’t need a big name, you just need the right name. I don’t think a bunch of A-list actors signing contracts fighting for top-billing is your first priority. I would guess if most people hear there is a new movie involving both Superman and Batman, not to mention some hot chick running around in a Wonder Woman outfit there will be asses in the seats. The formula here if I was making the film would be adding up great actors and not worrying about the names, the characters sell themselves.

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