While the trades saw fit to run “frontrunner” stories on Tuesday, I actually mentioned this possibility on Meet the Movie Press (available on the Tracking Board every Friday) back in March, when a little birdie told me that Collet-Serra was the favorite if Mel Gibson didn’t go for the DCEU project. And seriously, why would he, coming off the hit Hacksaw Ridge? That was the kind of fun headline that never really passed the smell test. Gibson directing Will Smith? I just couldn’t see it.
As I said on MTMP, there are several reasons why Collet-Serra is perfect for this job. For starters, he’s a homegrown director for Warner Bros., where he made House of Wax, Orphan, Unknown and Run All Night. The studio also hired him to direct Akira, though it opted not to move forward with the project. Still, not only is he familiar with WB’s executives, but he knows how to deliver hits on a mid-sized budget, and can generally do a lot with very little. He’ll be working off a new draft by Zak Penn, who just wrote Ready Player One for Warners.
While I don’t think Collet-Serra has made a “great” film yet, I also don’t think he’s made a bad one. Unknown is the one movie of his that I didn’t care for, but it certainly wasn’t as bad as Suicide Squad. I mean, let’s face it — this franchise has nowhere to go but up, and Collet-Serra is adept at elevating B-movie material. He’s a slick director with a pulpy sensibility that’s right for Suicide Squad 2, and he also makes fun movies, whether it’s the batshit insanity of Orphan or the suspenseful intensity of The Shallows. The Spanish filmmaker also represents a diverse hire, and is trending upwards after being hired to direct Mark Boal’s Waco movie, for which he’s courting Adam Driver to play David Koresh.
Collet-Serra may not have experience playing in a $150 million-plus sandbox before, but it’s clear that WB execs think he’s ready to make the leap to a big-budget movie. He’s certainly a much better fit than the other directors who were rumored to be on the shortlist alongside Mel Gibson. For the sake of the DCEU, let’s hope this deal works out…
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief