EXCLUSIVE: After being involved in just about all of Warner Bros‘ successful efforts in translating DC Comics characters to film, David S. Goyer has been staked by the studio to a three-year first-look deal for his Phantom Four banner. The deal gets underway with an untitled Hitchockian thriller with a grounded sci-fi element that Doug Jung is writing as a potential directing vehicle for Goyer. He will produce it and his Phantom Four production president Nellie Stevens-Reed will be executive producer, and Jon Berg is overseeing for the studio. Jung scripted two projects for Paramount: Antwerp for Bad Robot and Circle Of Confusion to produce, and The Last Duel, which has Martin Scorsese attached to direct and Kevin Misher producing.
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Studio producing deals are hard to come by these days, but it makes good sense for Warner Bros to want Goyer close by. He most recently scripted the studio’s Superman reboot Man Of Steel, which grossed $665 million worldwide, and he is well into writing the Batman Vs. Superman follow-up that Zack Snyder will direct with Ben Affleck playing the Caped Crusader and Henry Cavill reprising. Before that, he collaborated with Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight trilogy, with the trio of pictures grossing close to $2.5 billion worldwide. Goyer separately hatched Da Vinci’s Demons, the Starz series on which he serves as creator, writer, director and executive producer. That series, which focuses on the complex life of Leonardo Di Vinci, premiered in April.
Goyer said that he didn’t really need a deal for the past six years because he was so busy on DC Comics superhero scripts. “I was perfectly happy not having a deal, and just financed the overhead myself,” he told me. “Warner Bros graciously offered me a deal and they’ve provided the lion’s share of my employment over the last decade, so what the hell?”
Goyer hopes to develop other directing and producing projects, and give chances to some of the sharp writers he runs into moonlighting in television. “Aside from me helping the studio break story on some of their properties and them supporting me as a director, we want to find other projects in an area I could call elevated genre, and this first project falls neatly into the category,” he said. “I’ve found TV to be a more collaborative medium for writers than film, and there is a ton of terrific writers working in network TV and basic cable right now. Part of the intent of this deal is to tap that stable of writers and bring them into the feature world as well.”
As for the obligatory question on how Affleck will fare as Batman, Goyer said, “He’ll do the role proud.”
Goyer’s repped by WME and attorney John LaViolette, Jung by UTA, Circle Of Confusion and Adam Kaller.