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Old October 1 2010, 11:24 PM   #1
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Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

Back in 2007, Warner Bros. had tapped George Miller (The Road Warrior) to direct a live-action version of Justice League. The film was eventually cancelled by WB, but it's one of those famous aborted attempts like Tim Burton's Superman Lives that got very close to actually happening.

Apparently, they were doing tons of tests in Australia, in which WETA had developed the costumes, props, etc. for the characters. There were scripts, storyboards, pre-viz fight sequences and practically the entire movie laid out. The film was even cast: Armie Hammer was Batman, D.J. Cotrona was Superman, Adam Brody was The Flash, Teresa Palmer was Wonder Woman, Common was Green Lantern, and Santiago Cabrera was Aquaman. No word on who was set to play Martian Manhunter.

Well, not much was known on Miller's planned JLA film but Armie Hammer sat down with Ain't It Cool News to talk about The Social Network, his new movie which opens today, and Hammer opened up a little bit about what Miller had planned for the film.

Quint: I’m fascinated by that stuff, the “almost happened,” the “What if” stuff and just the idea of George Miller doing a JUSTICE LEAGUE movie still… I think it’s going to go down as one of the saddest “This didn’t happen” things ever.

Armie Hammer: And dude I saw it all. Like I saw the prevised fight sequences. I saw the entire storyboarded film that he had in a room ten times the size of this room with storyboards floor to ceiling, so you walked around the entire room and read the movie like a comic book. What he did… He created something that was so magnificent and put so much work into it, the fact that it never got a chance to be seen by daylight or appreciated by those who really would appreciate this more than anything else… I mean he was bringing in the psychology of these characters more than anyone else ever had.

We had psychiatrists with us in our rehearsal process to be like “Why this?” He was like “Well you see, with a delusional character like this, like the Batman, who thinks in this such a way, like a paranoid schizophrenic like this, this would be the motivating factor.” You bring so much more to these characters, because it’s not just “Well in this frame you are going to jump on top of this car and you are going to throw your Batarang.” It’s like “Why is everyone doing what they are doing, but in George Miller’s true style.” He was going so in-depth in this.

We had a brain surgeon, a psychiatrist, a Joseph Campbell expert, and all of these people in every single table meeting we had for a month and a half and then all of the characters were also training as their characters, so The Flash, Adam Brody, was training as The Flash with rubber bands, so he’d be fast and twitchy. Aquaman, Santiago Cabrera, was swimming a lot and Miller would send him to go swim with Dolphins in Northern California for hours so he would be used to being around sea creatures. Batman, being the only human of the Justice League and having to really prove himself there, he had to be the consummate martial artist, as well as the ultimate detective, so he was playing psychological games with all of us.

He would leave me out of things, like intentionally, but I wouldn’t know this until months later when I would just get the feeling of like “What is going on? Why is everybody?” Because he wanted me to constantly be getting into that paranoid mind frame of The Batman.


Quint: Yeah, “you’re not really in the group.”

Armie Hammer: Exactly and he wanted to create that in everybody. For instance, DJ Catrona who was playing Superman; he brought DJ down a month early and showed him the ropes, introduced him to everybody, made him have fun with everybody and all of that, so that when everybody would go down there they would be like “Well what do we do now, DJ?” So they would look up to him like people look up to Superman in The Justice League. It was amazing.
Now, I was never in favor of Miller's planned JLA movie for various reasons: You were introducing a new Batman when there was an already established take on the character; you were introducing new characters such as The Flash and Green Lantern that audiences were not immediately familiar with when you could introduce them separately to a modern audience; if the movie tanked, you ruined several characters' chances at reaching an audience verses allowing them to flourish individually.

It seems that Warner Bros. had some of these qualms as well since after cancelling Miller's film they decided to go the route of separately introducing these characters to an audience, and furthermore, apparently have no desire to build toward an eventual Justice League movie, or so DC Entertainment says.

However, with that said, Hammer's comments sound really intriguing. I think George Miller is a fantastically talented director and probably would have delivered a good movie regardless of my reservations. I'm still glad we didn't get it for the reasons I stated above but I have to say based on Hammer's comments it sounds like it could have been a really interesting film.

Thoughts?
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Old October 2 2010, 12:59 AM   #2
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

The script was really interesting and I'm convinced that after reading it (no I can't share it with anyone unfortunately) that this film was meant for a-list actors just from the way it was written...it was big and bold, and the cast that was cast seemed miscast after reading the script.
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Old October 2 2010, 03:37 AM   #3
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

Is that the same Armie Hammer who played Morgan on Reaper? Love that guy, very funny. Would have made a kick-ass Batman (but probably an even better Joker.)
Santiago Cabrera was Aquaman
Well of course, he's a dead ringer for Vincent Chase.
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Old October 2 2010, 08:21 PM   #4
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

Admiral_Young wrote: View Post
The script was really interesting and I'm convinced that after reading it (no I can't share it with anyone unfortunately) that this film was meant for a-list actors just from the way it was written...it was big and bold, and the cast that was cast seemed miscast after reading the script.
Miller was thinking sequels, so he probably cast young for a reason. I mean, after all, this is the guy that jumpstarted Mel Gibson's career.
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Old October 2 2010, 08:23 PM   #5
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

Sounds interesting; Miller had clearly put a lot of thought into this, even the way that he was preparing the actors for it. I had sort of dismissed Hammer as a Himbo but he's getting rave reviews for The Social Network (in a dual performance as twins), so clearly I was wrong. He could well have delivered an interesting take on Batman (though I think he was way too young for the role).

I agree with Jackson that the timing for this movie was all wrong - it was a dumb idea to have a rival take on Batman while Nolan's series was doing so well, it was risky to put all the DC heroes in one movie, without giving them a proper introduction and it could have nixed all chances of giving them solo franchises. But yes, it does sound like an intriguing could have been.

I hope the storyboards etc turn up online soon. And who knows, when Nolan and Bale quit the Batman series, when the next incarnation of Superman is up and running and the Green Lantern franchise needs a boost - maybe the time will be right to revive this project.
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Old October 2 2010, 08:28 PM   #6
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

I'm just surprised the pre-production got as far as it did.
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Old October 2 2010, 09:09 PM   #7
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

Captaindemotion wrote: View Post
I agree with Jackson that the timing for this movie was all wrong - it was a dumb idea to have a rival take on Batman while Nolan's series was doing so well, it was risky to put all the DC heroes in one movie, without giving them a proper introduction and it could have nixed all chances of giving them solo franchises. But yes, it does sound like an intriguing could have been.

I hope the storyboards etc turn up online soon. And who knows, when Nolan and Bale quit the Batman series, when the next incarnation of Superman is up and running and the Green Lantern franchise needs a boost - maybe the time will be right to revive this project.
I think WB just wanted to compete with Marvel and get a superhero team movie out there before they could release The Avengers. However, I think that competitive mindset wasn't exactly the most sage way to go about things, and I'm glad they eventually decided to go another way. Let Marvel test the waters first with The Avengers- who knows, it could very well fail to connect with moviegoers (a seemingly rare possibility, but who knows).

I already don't like how they are unnaturally trying to connect every Marvel movie together, sometimes to the detriment of their individual properties (for example, I thought Iron Man 2 suffered because of too many shoe-horned in Avengers elements; it honestly felt more like an Avengers infomercial than a standalone Iron Man film).

Keeping the DC heroes separate- at least for now- is probably the better proposition and way to go. Establishing them first and then bringing them together sometime down the line will probably work better, verses aggressively trying to squeeze them all in one movie or push toward connecting them so they get into one movie faster.
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Old October 3 2010, 01:41 AM   #8
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

I would've been very uncomfortable seeing Batman depicted as "delusional" and a "paranoid schizophrenic" -- that's Rorschach, not Batman. Aside from that, though, I'm intrigued by the depth of preparation described here to get the actors into character. Maybe that could've been an advantage of using young unknowns -- they're more malleable, less likely to let their egos or established personas get in the way of molding the characters.
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Old October 3 2010, 01:47 AM   #9
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

Yet those traits are exactly what led Bruce to creating Brother Eye and which led to the OMAC's (which would have been used in the film) along with alienating him from his friends and allies. I think it is an interesting facet of his character that isn't focused enough on actually.
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Old October 3 2010, 02:23 AM   #10
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

Was that the main villain of the film? Was Max Lord gonna be in it?
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Old October 3 2010, 02:41 AM   #11
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

Yep Max was in it as well, although they never casted him they just mentioned the Justice League cast.
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Old October 3 2010, 04:20 AM   #12
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

So was it that Bats creates Brother Eye and then Max co-opts it? Obviously no mention of Alexander Luthor or Superboy Prime...
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Old October 3 2010, 05:20 AM   #13
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

There is a review available online somewhere I believe. I think AICN did one around the time the project was in development. Give me a week or so and I'll post my own review of the script.
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Old October 3 2010, 07:03 AM   #14
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

i would love a live action JLA movie! and make it a a all star cast! if you good to do it big go BIG!
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Old October 3 2010, 02:24 PM   #15
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Re: Armie Hammer talks George Miller's aborted JUSTICE LEAGUE

Admiral_Young wrote: View Post
Yet those traits are exactly what led Bruce to creating Brother Eye and which led to the OMAC's (which would have been used in the film) along with alienating him from his friends and allies. I think it is an interesting facet of his character that isn't focused enough on actually.
There's nothing interesting about Batman if he's simply insane. A rational Batman who's ultracautious, always preparing for the worst, is one thing. But a delusional, schizophrenic Batman would be preparing himself against threats that don't exist, and would be blind to real threats. That's what delusions and schizophrenia mean: that someone is out of touch with reality, unable to discern the real world from the fantasies inside one's mind. A paranoid schizophrenic Batman would be useless as a crimefighter. He'd be attacking innocent civilians and ignoring real crimes. He'd be "inventing" defenses that didn't work because he was making them out of tinfoil and discarded coffee grounds. He'd be an inmate in Arkham, not a functioning crimefighter or even a functioning human being.

Batman is not insane. Obsessive, yes, but one can be obsessive-compulsive and still rational and functional. Psychosis is a whole different level of behavioral disorder, the kind characterized by the Joker, Two-Face, etc. The reason Batman's always able to beat those guys is because they're insane and he isn't. He's able to think and perceive clearly, to formulate rational strategies, to understand how to operate within the real world in order to achieve his goals. That makes him an admirable figure in his own way, a man who's achieved the ultimate in human potential. An insane Batman would just be pathetic and pitiable. Defining Batman as a lunatic is completely missing the point of the character, the essence of the fantasy he embodies.
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