With the directorial job for Thor 2 currently up in the air and a number of other Marvel properties without directors, I thought I’d have a look at some of the projects currently in progress, and suggest a suitable director for each.
A couple of the films below aren’t Marvel Studios productions, but are based on Marvel comics, so they still count…
Thor 2: Werner Herzog
I appreciate this is a bit of a leftfield choice and highly unlikely to happen, but imagine Werner in charge of Thor 2 – it would be magnificent. As Branagh brought Shakespearian elements to Thor, the themes and eccentricities explored in Herzog’s movies, such as Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre, Wrath Of God, would be interesting in the follow up.
A crazed Thor seeking a way back to Earth to be reunited with Jane Foster, as directed by Herzog, would contain moments of hilarity to rival the fish out of water stuff seen in Thor. Perhaps he could even use Marvel’s resources to resurrect Klaus Kinski as a CGI creation to act as the antagonist. All of a sudden this idea doesn’t seem all that crazy.
Captain America 2: Joe Dante
Joe Johnston did a cracking job of directing Captain America: The First Avenger, but he doesn’t appear to be returning for the follow up. So who could replace him? My suggestion is none other than Joe Dante. I should explain that there’s more to my reasoning here than that they’re both called Joe, and that I just finished re-watching The ‘Burbs before writing this.
Joe Dante has created some absolute classics, but hasn’t managed to get too many films through the system of late (save for the underappreciated The Hole), which is a great shame considering his talent for mixing family entertainment with elements of horror.
Plus many of his films have dealt with threats to the American way of life. Gremlins, for instance, is a not-too-subtle take on the fear of communism that was exaggerated and heightened for comedic and dramatic effect, and The ‘Burbs dealt with fear of outsiders from a suburban perspective. When you add to this he’s one of the few directors to make good use of 3D in recent times with The Hole – and lord knows studios like the additional income that generates – he seems like a logical choice.
Dante’s understanding of horror could also help provide a convincing antagonist and a real sense of threat which is something that Johnston’s film lacked – a Nazi with supernatural powers should have been much more threatening. In Dante’s hands, we could have a sequel that combines levity with the serious threat seen in his best works.
Ghost Rider 3: Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury
Assuming that Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is a success, which from the look of trailer it should be, it’s a safe bet that Sony and Marvel would want a third film in the series. Hiring Neveldine and Taylor to direct the second instalment has left them in a tricky position, as the directorial duo are hardly known for restraint, so they’ll no doubt up the crazy ante over what was seen in Mark Steven Johnson’s 2007 Ghost Rider. So where to go after Neveldine and Taylor?
They couldn’t go back to a conventional director, as they’ve essentially backed themselves into a corner, so they would have to fully commit to some cinematic insanity. I therefore suggest another cinematic directorial duo: Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, who have the rather excellent Inside to their name, as well as the upcoming Livid.
While their debut Inside owes a lot to John Carpenter, as it’s essentially a siege movie in the vein of Assault On Precinct 13 (along with bits of Halloween), it remains one of the most unsettling, gory and original horror movies in recent years, and Livid sounds like an incredibly interesting supernatural follow-up.
The pair were courted by Hollywood following Inside, but sadly, nothing came of either their links to the Hellraiser remake or Halloween 2, as they would have been great for both. They certainly don’t sound averse to working on a big project, though, providing they can have some form of creative control. Hiring the pair would be a bold move for Marvel, but one that could produce spectacular results.
The Punisher: Jee-Woon Kim
The Punisher is a series that has, sadly, yet to see a fully successful adaptation. All three films thus far have their plus points, but ultimately failed to live up to the potential of the comics. The Punisher is essentially a revenge story, so it would make sense to go to a country that does this the best: South Korea.
There are a number of great Korean directors who do this genre brilliantly, and would be great choices. Bong Joon-Ho, for example, has the excellent Memories Of Murder to his name, as well as The Host, which shows he can direct action. Park Chan-wook has his famed Vengeance Trilogy, but may be a little too high profile to consider such a job.
My choice of director would be Kim Ji-woon, who made the rather brilliant I Saw The Devil and A Bittersweet Life, which shows he can more than handle the revenge aspect, plus he’s demonstrated his ability to craft inventive action set pieces with the likes of The Good, The Bad, The Weird. He could have just the right blend of skills to produce a truly great Punisher movie.
Black Panther: Noel Clarke
Noel Clarke has in the past expressed his interest in playing the lead in the long planned adaptation of Black Panther, but given his interest in the material, why not have him direct? His back catalogue may not suggest a suitability for a comic book movie, but the same could be said of Jon Favreau and Kenneth Branagh, based on their works prior to working on Iron Man and Thor.
The prospect of the multi-talented Clarke could excite Marvel, given their fondness for keeping costs down behind the scenes, and he could appear in the film as well as direct. I think someone such as Idris Elba (possibly ruled out because of his role in Thor), Djimon Hounsou, or Chiwetel Ejiofor would make ideal candidates for the lead role, but even though he’s said that he covets the lead, might Clarke be tempted to call the shots, too?
Iron Fist: Wilson Yip
Director of the excellent Ip Man and Ip Man 2, as well as a host of other titles, Wilson Yip has proved himself to be one of the finest martial arts directors working today, so would be an ideal choice for Marvel to direct their adaptation of Iron Fist, the Marvel Universe’s martial arts expert.
Jay Chou’s handling during the production of The Green Hornet may be off-putting for any Asian based directors tackling a big Western studio movie, but if both parties approach the project with a similar outcome in mind, there’s no reason why the collaboration couldn’t be a success.
Dr Strange: Gareth Edwards
Guillermo del Toro was for some time attached to direct Dr Strange, with his intention to get Neil Gaiman to co-write, so there will always be a sense of what could have been when the film does finally reach cinema screens. The fact that Marvel have Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (the writers behind Sahara and Conan) working on a script means that they’re fairly serious about getting this project into production.
Someone with a strong visual eye will be required, and given that Alejandro Jodorowsky is no longer making films, and Tarsem Singh’s Immortals was poor (his upcoming film, Mirror Mirror, doesn’t look to be much better, either), another director with visual flair will be needed.
I think Gareth Edwards would be a great fit. Granted, his commitment to Godzilla may detain him, but with his debut Monsters he showed a talent for creating interesting visuals on a limited budget, so given a greater budget and more resources, there’s no reason why he couldn’t bring the lush and often surreal visuals of Dr Strange to life.
Feel free to let me know how wrong I am about the above choices, and provide your own suggestions in the comments.