It’s funny that Warner Brothers is reportedly considering four very distinct but very high-grade directors to take on a new Twilight Zone movie on which the studio is hot to trot. What’s funny is that they only want one of them as they’re discarding the quadfurcated anthology format of the early 80s film and instead going for one big blockbuster narrative. Even if Nolan wasn’t at the top of the short-list I think most would read that as a response to the success of Inception, but with the director supposedly the most likely target for WB’s first offer, it definitely reads that way.
The other three directors supposedly considering the script are Michael Bay, Alfonso Cuaron, and recently upgraded blockbuster director Rupert Wyatt (of Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Along with Nolan, all of these directors would bring something very very different to the project, and frankly, all of them sound interesting for very different reasons. If it’s a strong script that has WB excited and not just the idea of cashing in on a dubiously marketable name, then this could be an exciting science fiction project.
I’m sure few people would be excited to hear Bay take on a project being waved in the face of Nolan and Cuaron, but again, if it’s the script that has everyone excited then I would actually love to see Bay apply his craftsmanship on top of an actually well-developed screenplay. That would be a rare bit of spectacle indeed. Then again Bay’s very nearly killed some actors and extras on his sets lately, so doing a Twilight Zone flick might mean he actually manages to whack someone this time… Could be messy.
Of course, this project also make sense for Cuaron, as it would be a logical bet-hedging move to sign on to a safe, franchise studio-darling project before Gravity –his own risky, expensive science fiction blockbuster– hits screens. You know, just in case…
Wyatt is a filmmaker that I’ll be excited to see develop and yet I don’t have a distinct set of expectations for him. He’s the only choice that I don’t feel like comes with some degree of opportunity cost, in terms of us losing out on or having delayed a more passionate project from Nolan, Bay, and/or Cuaron.
And of course with Nolan, there’s certainly the feeling that we won’t get our proverbial “one for us” quite as soon if he immediately dives in to another studio darling project. If he has a nice amorphous batch of science fiction concepts or techniques he’d like to blow out though, and they would apply well to this script, then maybe this could be a serendipitous project. Otherwise, let the guy toss an exec producer credit on it and move on to whatever it is he really wants to do post-Batman.
So who would you like to see tackle the project? It’s a shame that anthologies seem so outside the realm of studio possibility these days, but if the Twilight Zone brand will be the means by which a really original sci-fi project gets made, then I’m all for it.