Normally, I'm reporting on a deluge of directors who abandon projects due to creative differences or basic incompetence. This week, several high profile projects now have directors after a revolving door of candidates.
After a search that seemed more like a high school drama, F. Gary Gray has the helm for FAST & FURIOUS 8. The film went through two top notch directors in James Lin and James Wan, both of whom brought new excitement to a series that should have died after two films. Both Lin and Wan bowed out of FURIOUS 8, citing other commitments; however, Outtakes sources claim the real problem was star Vin Diesel. Diesel tagged near impossible demands onto his return to the eighth movie in the series. He also insisted on approval for script, shooting and editing. The only star who demands that kind of control is Steven Seagal, and his movies now go straight to video.
Diesel went to social media, and several interviews, to promote directing the film himself. He even went so far as to say his mom told him to direct the movie. Gray is a hot commodity, after his stint with STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. He may also be the only director currently willing to tolerate Diesel’s demigod demands.
The second film to finally find a director is the film version of THE FLASH. Set for a March, 2018 release, the movie could not nail down a boss. Part of the problem was casting. Grant Gustin, who fanboys like and plays THE FLASH on the TV show, was passed over for the film versions. Instead, Ezra Miller will play Barry Allen both in THE FLASH movie and in the lead-up teasers JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN. Contract terms tying Gustin to the CW Network presented part of the problem. Once again, several high profile directors turned the job down, thinking the actor conflict could hurt box office returns. As an example, they pointed to Luc Besson’s TRANSPORTER: REFUELED, which featured a different actor in the reboot movie than the one playing him on TV. Speculation in Tinseltown is the film would have performed better with a consistent star.
So, THE FLASH has a first time director, which is puzzling considering the magnitude of the film. Seth Grahme-Smith is set to not only direct THE FLASH, but script it as well. He wrote ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER and PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, so scripting the film could be his forte, especially if the Flash encounters zombies or vampires. My bet is viewers will show more loyalty to the TV Flash than the movie Flash. Time will tell.