Looks like it’s more trouble in paradise for Warner Bros./DC Entertainment‘s The Flash film. To recap, back in April the production lost its first director, Seth Grahame-Smith, author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It was to be Grahame-Smith’s directorial debut, but that was perhaps too risky a move for so sensitive a project (AKA: creative differences), so the more experienced hands of Dope director Rick Famuyiwa were employed. Or at least they were employed until yesterday. Scratch up another loss for the production because the job posting for The Flash’s director’s chair is open again.
The Hollywood Reporter had a statement from Famuyiwa about his departure, and while he doesn’t use the words “creative differences”, it was creative differences:
When I was approached by Warner Bros and DC about the possibility of directing The Flash, I was excited about the opportunity to enter this amazing world of characters that I loved growing up, and still do to this day.
I was also excited to work with Ezra Miller, who is a phenomenal young actor. I pitched a version of the film in line with my voice, humor, and heart. While it’s disappointing that we couldn’t come together creatively on the project, I remain grateful for the opportunity. I will continue to look for opportunities to tell stories that speak to a fresh generational, topical, and multicultural point of view. I wish Warner Brothers, DC, Jon Berg, Geoff Johns, and Ezra Miller all the best as they continue their journey into the speed force.
The key line in there might be, “I pitched a version of the film in line with my voice, humor, and heart,” which is disconcerting for those that were worried that the studio would follow suit with Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad with a dark and serious Flash. Of course, that’s not the character Warners/DC has been selling, not with Miller’s celebrated appearance in the Justice League trailer from Comic Con; for that iteration of the character, Famuyiwa seemed like exactly the right guy to bring this project to life. He had even started casting by hiring his Dope co-star Kiersey Clemons as Iris West and bringing on Billy Crudup as Henry Allen.
So now what? Well, there’s tremendous time pressure for one thing. The Flash was expected to begin shooting in January, which means that a new director will have to be brought onboard and gotten up to speed in a little over two months to being production on time. That’s not an impossible proposition, but it might not leave much room for the as-yet unknown director to bring a lot of distinctive flourish to the movie. On top of that, this project is one that the studio *has to* get right with a little more finesse than the other superhero movies because there’s another Flash on TV right now that the fans love. True, there’s a false equivalency between a $200 million movie and a weekly series on the CW, but the core audience for The Flash is going to have to be blown away by the big screen Flash to get something they’re not getting weekly with Grant Gustin on TV. I guess it’s TBD to see if there’s another director who can pull it off…
The Flash is scheduled to be in theatres everywhere on March 16, 2018.