The new Superman movie – which will star a Black actor as the iconic hero – from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and producer J.J. Abrams is on the search for a director. Among the names being floated are Oscar-winning Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, Creed II‘s Steven Caple Jr., and One Night in Miami filmmaker Regina King. They’re all possible contenders to helm the race-bent take on Kal-El in a production that is described as being “in the vein of the original Superman comics” and may be a period piece set in the 20th century.
The Hollywood Reporter has a report detailing the search for a Black Superman movie director. Insiders tell the outlet that Warner Bros. and DC are “committed to hiring a Black director to tackle what will be the first cinematic incarnation of Superman featuring a Black actor.” That actor has not yet been cast, though Michael B. Jordan’s name has been brought up in the past (Jordan has denied any involvement). This nixes any possibility of Abrams directing the movie currently being penned by Coates, with one source telling THR that putting Abrams at the helm would be “tone-deaf.”
There’s already a list of possible choices to direct the yet-untitled Black Superman movie. Jenkins, Caple Jr., and King are in the list, as are J.D. Dillard, who directed indie genre hits Sleight and Sweetheart, and Shaka King, whose Judas and the Black Messiah recently scored a nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars, where star Daniel Kaluuya won Best Supporting Actor. Per THR, some potential directors have met with Warner Bros. for the new Superman movie, while a few from the same pool of talent are also being courted across the aisle by Marvel for the Mahershala Ali-led Blade.
This Superman movie won’t be part of the core DC movie universe, THR confirms. Instead, Coates is crafting a new take on Kal-El “in the vein of the original Superman comics and will have the protagonist hail from Krypton and come to Earth.” Coates may even take the race-bent vision even further and make the movie a 20th century period piece, paying homage to the setting in which Superman was first introduced but with a Black face at the center, which is certainly a bold direction. Considering Warner Bros.’ spotty track record with race, as documented in a behind-the-scenes report about the making of Justice League, there are concerns that this Black Superman might not be given his due. However, if Warner Bros. manages to score an Oscar-winning filmmaker like Jenkins (who is already making the leap to tentpoles with Disney’s The Lion King prequel), or anyone else from the names mentioned above, there’s potential for this Black Superman movie to be a fascinating venture.
Whatever the case, Warner Bros. is keen to establish a “new tone” with the next Superman franchise, per THR, with little remaining of the “Snyderverse” apart from stars Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), and Ezra Miller (The Flash).
The studio will likely look for a relative unknown to star in the movie. THR notes that Coates isn’t expected to deliver his Superman script until mid-December, so it will be a while before casting gets underway.
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