DC Whispers: SHAZAM Trailer, BIRDS OF PREY Costumes, JOKER Will Be ‘Heartbreaking,’ More!
This column is essentially our exclusive DC Rumor Mill. It’s not a comprehensive report based on exhaustively investigated scoops, but rather just some cool things we’ve heard lately about your favorite DC projects.
So take them with a grain of salt, and just enjoy the ride.
“They’re Sure Keeping Us Waiting For That SHAZAM! Trailer…But It’ll Be So Worth It”
I’d like to start by saying that I’m not going to over-hype myself again over a tease from an insider. Last month, when I debuted this feature, I made mention of one last gift DC Entertainment had in store for us for 2018. This came from a source who’s been spot on about many things and, to their credit, they were careful to say that they themselves weren’t sure what it would end up being; just that the buzz around the office was that the studio would fire off something cool to coincide with Aquaman‘s tidal wave of success.
And so I mentioned it to you all over on twitter, and then my own imagination began to run wild with what it could be. Could it be a first official teaser for The Joker? A second trailer for Shazam!? What about a first look at the Birds of Prey?
Alas, the day before the holiday break arrived…and we got our “parting gift” from DC. It was simply a big splashy reveal of Doom Patrol marketing materials, and a neat little easter egg of a “never before seen” Superman suit on the set of DC Daily.
Which, all things considered, isn’t bad. It was a cute way to try and send DC fans home for the holidays with a smile on their face about things to come in 2019, but it really wasn’t all that eventful.
However, what’s interesting is that I don’t think that was the original plan.
See, they’ve been sitting on a second trailer for Shazam! for some time now. They showed attendees at CCXP in Brazil some great new footage in early December, and I’m a firm believer that they were considering packaging a new trailer with Aquaman, and then decided to keep the world’s focus solely on Arthur Curry and saved this new look at Shazam! for early 2019.
Cause the trailer is ready, and has been for some time. While the rumored arrival date for it is January 19, and we got a fairly detailed description of it a couple of days ago from Super Bro Movies, it’s a fact that the finalized trailer has been sitting around waiting to be released. I’d tell you how I know that, but then I’d have to kill you.
I don’t know why the studio has been sitting on it, as I’m sure the folks who have powered Aquaman to nearly a $1 billion so far would’ve loved to see where DC Entertainment is heading next, but this stuff is above my pay grade. I once maligned WB/DC for the way they were tepidly marketing Wonder Woman, and look how that turned out- the film was a phenomenal success.
Heck, I even once totally botched an exclusive about when we’d get to see the first Aquaman trailer. So it’s pretty clear I don’t have a clue about how WB/DC does things when it comes to their marketing department.
All I can say is that the trailer will be worth the wait. It really fleshes out the story, and it’s got some loving nods to all things DC- including some iconography from Man of Steel that should make Zack Snyder fans very happy.
“Don’t Expect Flashy Costumes In BIRDS OF PREY“
[Update on 1/18/19: If you CLICK HERE, you’ll see exactly how grounded our first official looks at these costumes turned out to be, compared to their comic book counterparts and the raised visual bar set by James Wan’s Aquaman]
It’s funny. Right now Aquaman is earning raves and respect from fans everywhere for how much it embraces its larger-than-life comic book trappings. The costumes, the colors, the scale, and the Saturday Morning Cartoon Come-To-Life aesthetic is a huge hit with audiences everywhere.
But I hear that for Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), director Cathy Yan is going for a far less flashy design concept.
It makes sense, of course. Aquaman is a film about the King of Atlantis, carries a big time budget, and is meant to be an adventurous action fantasy that builds on some of the mythic visual scope of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, while Birds of Prey is an off-shoot of David Ayer’s much more street-level, mature, down and dirty Suicide Squad.
Still, it’s a testament to Walter Hamada guiding DC back to a more filmmaker-driven approach, where each director gets to make their film, their way. So one month you may get a DC film that looks like Aquaman, then a few months later you get a film that looks like a low-budget, adult thriller like The Joker.
There’s no push to make the cinematic DC Universe look overly uniform, or like it came from the same creative core. Each film will tell its tale in a style that suits its main characters, premise, and the vision of its filmmaker.
For Yan and Birds of Prey, the word behind the scenes is that the costumes are very cool, but nothing flashy. Which is fitting, when you consider the characters involved.
Also, did we just get our first glimpse of what Chris Messina will look like as Victor Zsasz?
I’d say so, because Birds of Prey starts filming soon, so he’s probably in full on prep mode for the movie.
“THE JOKER Is Not The Movie You Think It Is“
I’ve been hearing for a while that Todd Phillips’ The Joker is going to really surprise people when it comes out later this year. I’ve felt, all along, that there’s some misdirection going on when it comes to this movie, and recent whispers only intensify that suspicion.
What I mean is, there’s been lots of stuff leaked onto the web from the film’s location shooting here in New York. And I’ve been of the mind that some of the stuff that’s leaked was filmed specifically to throw people off. They know this stuff will be uploaded and scrutinized, and they want you to focus on certain key things, yet some of those things may be smoke and mirrors.
I’ve spoken to a source on the film who can confirm that there have been scenes and sequences that have made their way onto the web that will be drastically different in the film itself.
I can also tell you that, tonally, the film doesn’t feel like anything else we’ve seen in the comic book genre. Possibly ever. When I asked my source what the tone and feel of the film is, I was told that it’s very much a tragic character study. When discussing the film’s subject matter, words like “heartbreaking,” “pitiful,” and “a tragedy” come up a lot.
I also hear the film definitely has a political bent, with some pointed commentary on Donald Trump. We’re talking “V For Vendetta” style political undercurrents.
With that in mind, I’ve heard comparisons made between The Joker and the raw 70s/80s storytelling style of filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Sidney Lumet. In particular, I keep hearing the film has a very “Taxi Driver meets The King of Comedy” vibe- which may explain why Scorsese was once rumored to be producing the film.
Last thing I’ll say on The Joker for now is that it’ll be chock full of surprises. Cause while there’s plenty we have seen through leaked photos and videos, there’s still a ton we haven’t seen yet- and the film may have more ties to its comic book roots than anyone realizes at this time.
“THE BATMAN Filming Moved Down Again, New Draft Brings More Action?”
As 2018 came winding to a close, I had a pair of Batman reports that I’d like to circle back to for a moment.
In October, I wrote about the wait for the film and how it could be longer than anticipated.
In December, I wrote about how Reeves is taking Batman into very new territory, with a reliance on “detective thriller” elements as opposed to being more of an action film.
Both times, I cautioned you that the script for the film is still getting worked on and that the studio’s top priority is to get The Batman right. Hamada is well aware that their most bankable character has had a pretty rough go of it the last couple of years- Firstly because of the polarizing response to Batman v Superman, and Secondly because of the cold shoulder audiences gave Justice League.
So they’re not rushing anything. They need Reeves to stick the landing here as they prepare to give us next generation’s cinematic Batman.
As such, things are evolving and everyone’s main motivation right now is to make the film as good and as complete as it can be.
That’s why we’ve gone from Reeves saying in August that he thinks they’ll film in spring or summer of 2019, to just “summer,” to now Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter stating that the film could very well not enter production until November.
One of the things that seems to be getting a lot of thought is the amount of spectacle the film will have.
As I wrote about in that December piece, the first draft of The Batman was pretty low on spectacle. Some of you took this to mean that it’ll have “no action,” but it’s important to note that I never said that. What I did say was that the script’s primary focus is on telling a psychologically complex detective story that takes its cues from David Fincher films like Se7en and Zodiac.
And now the second draft has come in and, from the sound of it, Reeves has amped up the spectacle a bit. I don’t know what motivated him to bring a little more explosiveness to the proceedings- maybe the studio has loosened the reins on his budget a bit thanks to Aquaman?- but I hear the action quotient for the film will lie somewhere between Se7en and The Dark Knight.
So they’re still working out the exact size and scale for The Batman, and this explains why I’ve been hearing since October that this film should not be expected to get a 2020 release. 2021 is the year I keep hearing, even as others think it could take a little longer than that.
While it would, in theory, be feasible to film in November and get a Batman movie into theaters by Christmas of 2020, I think the much more likely option is that Reeves’ film will get a Summer 2021 release.
I know, I know. You’d love to hear me say that it’s filming very soon, will be out next year, and may or may not include Batfleck. But this is just what I’ve heard about The Batman, and the signs continue to point in another direction. Be patient, fellow Bat-fans. And open-minded, too.
Oh, and people continue to compare the dang script to Year One. Not because it’s an adaptation of that story, or another variation of Batman Begins. But because of its overall tone and feel. I get a lot of heat for sharing that comparison, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it.
I guess we’ll have to wait (until 2021) to figure out why folks in-the-know keep comparing the script to that Frank Miller book.
For now, I also hear you should read Batman: Ego.
Thanks for reading!