Guy Ritchie signs to direct 'Lobo' for Warner Bros.
Crazy DC Comics character poses unique challenges and potential rewards
Little surprise. When I was on-set for "Sherlock Holmes" last year, Guy seemed absolutely delighted by the process and the experience, and Susan Downey, who was there for Silver Films, seemed quite pleased with Guy in return. Early word on "Sherlock Holmes" is strong, and I suspect the film's going to be huge this Christmas.
So this puts Ritchie in the enviable position of having bounced back. Not every filmmaker who suffers through a "Swept Away" or a "Revolver" or, god forbid, both in a row, ever gets the opportunity to jump back into the studio game. Ritchie's earned himself a second chance here, and he appears to be serious about making it work.
When we spoke in December, "Sgt. Rock" was still very much a possibility for Ritchie and Silver to make together, and if I was a betting man, I'd say there's still a chance we'll see that happen at some point. It just appears that it's going to be after they make "Lobo" together for Warner Bros., adapting one of the craziest characters in all of DC Comics history into a PG-13 action movie that the studio hopes will kickstart a new franchise.
Good luck with that.
[more after the jump]
I'm not negative towards the idea of doing Lobo as a movie, per se. I mean, since the early days of Ain't It Cool, Warner Bros. has been talking about doing this. We ran a story about a "Lobo" script in June of 1998. In the year 2000, Harry was the one who broke the story about "Lobo Vs. Superman," developed for the studio by Keith Giffen himself, and for at least a moment, it looked like that might really happen. Earlier this year, Latino Review ran a script review for the latest attempt at bringing "Lobo" to the screen, which was the first moment I realized they were still plugging away, still trying to figure him out as an adaptation.
Why all this effort for a character that not many people know in the first place? I mean, sure, comic book fans might know him, but Lobo is pretty much a non-entity to the general public, and they're the ones who have to buy the tickets here, right?
And why would you hire the writer of "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" to ever touch another superhero film, especially one that's supposed to be funny? I mean, no offense to Don Payne, who may be a really nice guy, but his script for "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" had a tin ear for genre, no new ideas to speak of, and there's a weird sort of mysogyny to the entire execution of the thing. Not the most auspicious of efforts in terms of superheroes on film so far.
And "Lobo" is a tough property, tone-wise. He was essentially invented as a way of roasting Wolverine and other berserker characters, the super-super strong guys with the foul tempers. Lobo is what would happen if none of those characters (and none of the writers working on them) had a moral compass. And that's the appeal. So hearing that the first goal of the studio is a PG-13... well, right away, that doesn't really sound like Lobo.
I'm sure it can be done. Somehow. It just seems surprising that you'd buy a character as outrageous as this one, and then immediately try to fit it into a box. I hope they're not going to play Lobo too seriously... and I really hope no one tries to redeem him or make him into a "good guy."
It looks like Warner Bros. is starting to get serious about developing and greenlighting their lesser known DC characters these days. "The Losers" and "Jonah Hex" are both in production now, and "The Green Lantern" has been greenlit with a monster budget. I think there's certainly potential for "Lobo" to stand out, even in a field already crowded with superhero movies, so I'm curious to see how this one moves forward. Rest assured, we'll have news on it for you here at HitFix if the film does get the go-ahead.
It's too interesting to ignore, no matter how it turns out.
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