Oh, what’s the use? According to the employer of that weirdo Scott Holleran, director Shawn Levy’s five movies have grossed over $575 million, which averages out to around $115 million per picture. He is obscenely bankable. He also has no pretensions to greatness because he has thus far expressed zero interest in making a halfway watchable movie, meaning that he’ll never clamor for final cut or try to smuggle in some dangerous thematic content that might get the studio in trouble. The guy is a soulless production chief’s dream, which explains why he’s so popular with Fox’s Tom Rothman.
So when I read that Levy pulled a screenplay called The Way Back "from a pile of material", and, upon reading it (i.e. "scanned the coverage"), "rushed the pages" to Rothman and Fox Searchlight head Peter Rice (who, given his affection for I Heart Huckabees, makes him the anti-Rothman), I’ve got to figure the impulse he felt was some involuntary spasm of conscience triggered by a sedulously suppressed resentment of his own pitiful oeuvre. Either that, or he heard Adam Shankman was about to make a move on the property.
I do, however, love Levy’s quote to Variety about the Nat Faxon and Jim Rush script: "It’s very different from the movies I’ve done, and that’s exactly why I wanted to dive in. It’s an edgy, character-driven story." In other words, the coming-of-age tale about a young boy who escapes the torment of his bullying stepfather by hanging out with a friendly grown man at a local water park (!) won’t require millions of dollars of CG to distract audiences from the gaping holes in the barely stitched together plot.
For those of you worried about Levy mucking up The Flash, you’ll be pleased to learn that the project isn’t even mentioned in today’s story. But when he fails at the box office with this homoerotic Radio Flyer riff, I bet that’s the first project he’ll use/defile to rehabilitate his commercial image.