Sony Pictures’ long-in-development live-action reboot of Masters of the Universe recently lost its latest director when Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation), who had signed on to the project in the summer of 2012, departed to make the next G.I. Joe sequel. Back in October Pirates of the Caribbean and The Mask of Zorro co-writer Terry Rossio was hired to pen a new draft after a previous effort by Alex Litvak (Predators) and Mike Finch didn’t pass muster with the studio.
This reboot is apparently of great importance to the franchise-famished Sony because they have put together a list of potential directors to take over for Chu, and if this list is genuine, then Masters of the Universe could turn out to be pretty damn great after all.
Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), Rian Johnson (Looper), Andy Muschietti (Mama), and the directing teams of Kirk DeMicco & Chris Sanders (The Croods), and Phil Lord & Chris Miller (21 Jump Street) are all rumored to be in the running to helm He-Man’s latest cinematic battle against Skeletor and the dark forces that desire to enslave Eternia.
Though I have never seen The Croods, co-director Sanders did call the shots on the 2010 animated blockbuster How to Train Your Dragon. Cornish is currently collaborating with Edgar Wright on Ant-Man for Marvel Studios and Disney and was once reportedly in the running to direct the next Star Trek movie. He also has the Neal Stephenson adaptation Snow Crash in development at Paramount. Lord and Miller have both The Lego Movie out next month and 22 Jump Street following this summer. Meanwhile, Johnson doesn’t have any future film projects in the pipeline but he did recently win some much-deserved acclaim for directing one of the final episodes of the AMC series Breaking Bad. Muschietti has Universal’s untitled reboot of The Mummy next up and that project has a set release date of April 22, 2016.
Any one of these candidates has the potential to make a fantastic movie of Masters of the Universe if the script and casting are perfect. The only thing is it could be seen as a step backwards for directors like Johnson or Cornish with greater career ambitions than a feature property resurrected by fan nostalgia could handle. If Muschietti is already committed to The Mummy, then that might leave him out unless Sony makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Lord and Miller have nothing on their plate once 22 Jump Street hits theaters…not yet anyway. IMDb lists their next project as the fourth Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, but that just may be a steaming of load of something I’m too polite to mention since that news has never been made official and I’m pretty positive that Lord and Miller have better things to than help keep afloat a pathetic franchise that appeals to younger viewers who don’t know any better.
Therefore, I’m putting my money on DeMicco and Sanders nabbing the directing gig. They have a Croods sequel on deck, but it isn’t due in theaters until July 2017. That will leave a lot of free time on their schedule and a live-action job might be their best bet. Lord and Miller both transitioned from CGI animation (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) to working with flesh and blood actors (21 Jump Street) with great success and DeMicco and Sanders could be looking to follow suit. Hopefully they’ll have better luck than Jimmy Hayward, a former Pixar animator who made his solo directorial debut on 2008’s animated adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic Horton Hears a Who!, but ran into constant problems when he went to work filming the DC Comics western flick Jonah Hex, which went on to be a massive critical and commercial disaster.
We should get an announcement soon on who Sony has decreed will have the power…to direct Masters of the Universe. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
[Source: Schmoes Know via Bleeding Cool; header artwork by Boris Vallejo]