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DC Comic characters heading to the big screen – Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison and Marv Wolfman are the Trinity in control

Posted by LiveFor on July 20, 2009

DC Comics have got a few films in the works – The Losers, Jonah Hex, Green Lantern and Warren Ellis’ Red. However, a recent article in THR shows there are a few lesser known characters being developed for the big screen, plus it also explains how DC are going about getting the characters and stories ready for the big screen.

In the past, Warners optioned a property, paying DC a fee comparable to what a property could command on the open market. But while the projects ostensibly were being developed under one roof, many were spread out over a host of producers, each with different visions for how to approach each adaptation.

To bring competing approaches into sync, DC Comics president Paul Levitz and DC’s Los Angeles-based film exec Gregory Noveck have overseen a reorganization of the development slate. While Warners execs still drive the creative side, DC now has more input, making it an actual participant in the shaping of material.

“The creative process is by and large a true partnership,” Noveck said. “They’ll ask us a ton of questions, and we’ll give a ton of answers. We will talk back and forth. We’ll discuss writers and talent, but ultimately it’s their decision.”

Warners quietly hired three of DC’s biggest writers — Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison and Marv Wolfman — to act as consultants and writers for its superhero line of movies. The move involved taking back the reins on projects being handled by such producers as Charles Roven (“The Flash”) and Akiva Goldsman (“Teen Titans”).

Some agents and scribes grumbled about being forced to work with the consultants, never mind that Johns started his career as a assistant to “Superman” director Richard Donner or that Wolfman has worked in animation since the 1980s.

Johns worked up a new treatment for a “Flash” script, being written by Dan Mazeau; Johns will act in a producer capacity on the project, which has not attached a director.

The projects Morrison and Wolfman are working on are in the early stages at Warners, whose execs declined to comment.

The process involves one writer taking point, though the trio do collaborate on projects, reading one another’s materials while hashing out a story that will be at once accessible to nonfans yet still adhere to each character’s long history. The writers also work in tandem with producers, writers and the Warners execs overseeing the projects, showing them treatments and providing notes on scripts.

Meanwhile, other superhero projects are moving forward at Warners.

The studio is taking pitches on sci-fi hero Adam Strange and the underwater hero “Aquaman,” to be produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and his Appian Way shingle.

Also in the pipeline: “Bizarro Superman” being written by “Galaxy Quest” scribes David Howard and Robert Gordon; a sequel to “Constantine,” with Goldsman and Erwin Stoff producing; two concurrent Green Arrow projects, an origin story and a prison-set one titled “Super Max“; and “Shazam,” which was set up at New Line but has moved to Warners, with Pete Segal attached to direct.

However, it will be a while before we see DC’s Trinity of main characters back on the big screen.

Warners and DC still haven’t figured out how to translate “Wonder Woman” to the big screen. In part, that failure reflects the difficulties DC has had turning out a popular Wonder Women comic. Morrison, during a recent Q&A with Clive Barker at Los Angeles’ Meltdown Comics, admitted he didn’t have a complete handle on the character when he was writing the comic “Final Crisis.”

Also, ever since Bryan Singer’s 2006’s “Superman Returns,” a new Superman has been in limbo.

“Our hope is to develop a Superman property and to try again,” Warner Bros. Entertainment president Alan Horn said in April. “What hurt us is that the reviews and so on for the Superman movie did not get the kind of critical acclaim that Batman got, and we have other issues with Superman that concern us.”

On the Batman front, a sequel to “Dark Knight” also is quite a way off. Nolan is open to doing a third installment, but his next movie is “Inception,” an original script he penned and is shooting for Warners.

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