One of the hottest director job openings in town is Deadpool 2, and it understandably has top emerging directors circling. While Deadline too has heard for the past few days that John Wick‘s David Leitch made a strong impression on 20th Century Fox, today’s reports that he is the clear front-runner that make his coronation imminent might be a bit too breathless. Sources insist that while Leitch is in pole position, the studio is still meeting with shooters pitching their vision. Those names, Deadline hears, include Oscar nominated The Martian scribe Drew Goddard and up and comer Magnus Martens (Luke Cage, Banshee), among others.
Deadline last week broke the news that Tim Miller, who directed this year’s original starring Ryan Reynolds as the foul-mouthed superhero Deadpool, has left the sequel over creative differences. Deadpool shocked Hollywood in February with a $152.2M opening that no one saw coming. It continued to roll domestically and overseas, topping out at north of $782M worldwide. Fox plans to release the sequel in 2018.
Leitch had been working as a stuntman for more than 20 years before teaming with Chad Stahelski to direct 2014’s John Wick, the Keanu Reeves uber-actioner that banked &86M globally and spawned a sequel that Lionsgate started selling at Cannes the following year. Stahelski is back onboard to direct Reeves and other returning castmembers.
Goddard has been poised to make his big move as director. That was going to happen with The Martian, which he wrote, until he jumped from that project to direct his other big scripted studio pic, the supervillain-centric Amazing Spider-Man spinoff Sinister Six. Unfortunately, that wa squashed after Sony and Marvel teamed up to do the new version of Spider-Man, which Jon Watts is directing with Tom Holland as the young webslinger. Goddard also served as EP on 10 Cloverfield Lane and such TV fare as The Good Place, The Defenders Daredevil and Lost.
Norweigian Martens has directed episodes of such TV shows as Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, Luke Cage, Power, 12 Monkeys and Banshee. He also directed the regarded Norwegian film Jackpot, which is being remade with Will Gluck directing and Mila Kunis starring.
Miller made himself a director to be reckoned with after his blockbuster directing debut on Deadpool. Fox moved him right into another potential franchise, Influx, a Mark Bomback-scripted adaptation of the Daniel Suarez novel eyed as a film trilogy. Clearly, there is an opportunity for another emerging helmer to make a mark with this sequel, which is why it’s such a coveted job. Stay tuned.