Anticipation can be a dangerous thing. It can warp perception for fans, and create impossible standards for any production. George Miller doesn’t think excitement killed his proto-DCEU action movie Justice League: Mortal, but he doesn’t think it helped, either.
Deadline recently asked the Mad Max director about his dislike of talking about projects before they’re in the can. Miller brings up Mortal, and science fiction movie Contact, as examples of where it might’ve been better to operate in secrecy. The director was removed from Contact, something that would’ve been made all the worse by the already-running PR machine.
“I’ve been sacked off a film – that happened with Contact and I was very enthusiastic about that,” Miller says. “Then, we were very keen to do Justice League back around that time, and there were already photographs and publicity out, and then that fell away. I’m not saying that’s what jinxed it, but I think it’s just better to finish the film and offer it to audiences; to let them take on the story or not.”
Famously, Justice League: Mortal had the plug pulled very late in the day. Cameras were to start rolling in Australia in February 2008, but Warner Bros got cold feet in January, citing script issues. This was during a writer’s strike, and once that ended, Warners wanted another draft for filming in Canada in April, but it all fell apart.
Only bits and pieces are known about Miller’s version. Though Adrien Brody was to appear as The Flash, Miller steered away from known actors for his cast, in order to allow them to grow into the superheroes over a trilogy, and the script drew from JLA: Tower of Babel, and Superman: Sacrifice.
It’s a huge ‘what could have been’, but if it was successful we likely wouldn’t have gotten Mad Max: Fury Road. Always a silver lining. Miller is currently promoting his new fantasy movie Three Thousand Years of Longing, due in theatres on September 30.