Dark Universe, or Justice League Dark, is the most exciting DC Extended Universe project for me. For those not familiar with the comic or animated feature, no, Justice League Dark is not an evil Justice League. JLD is a "team" of individuals who specialize in magic and the supernatural, including of John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Zatanna, and Etrigan the Demon. I use "team" loosely, as these would-be heroes get along worse than the Guardians of the Galaxy or Task Force X from Suicide Squad. And it's all because you can never trust John Constantine.
Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity) was attached to the project last August, not long after he exited Fox's Gambit. Horror is essential to pulling off Justice League Dark, but Liman has little to no experience in the genre. Liman discussed with Cinemablend what would inspire his film, Dark Universe:
"It's going to have real horror elements, for sure. I love early horror films, be it The Exorcist, or Carrie, The Omen. In the same way that Bourne Identity, I went back to the '70s paranoia. There's stuff to be mined from the people who have come before me that I'm planning to bring to Justice League Dark. And also the arena, my good friend Simon Kinberg, with Deadpool really pushed the arena. I'm never going to do something that's straight forward, but I'm not going to do something campy either. I have a take on it that isn't like anything else out there. At the end of the day I make character driven movies."
Speaking of character movies, Liman also told Cinemablend what would set Justice League Dark apart from other DC team-up films like Suicide Squad and the regular Justice League:
"I think people will be surprised how character driven and how intimate Justice League Dark is -- in kind of a field of bloated comic book movies. We've found a way to do something that's actually really personal and small, and that's my goal. [My new movie] The Wall is about character. The scenario allows me to dive into what I think is... I just love people! I love putting people in crazy situations. For John Constantine, we have an amazing set-up for him for Justice League Dark that's really human."
I hope Liman does find great inspiration in those horror films, as he is a fine director, but not the man I would have picked for this job. Guillermo del Toro was attached to Justice League Dark for a time, which was too perfect a match to be true. It looks like Liman's in the right head-space at least, so hopefully he makes the right decision... and casts Matt Ryan from NBC's Constantine and WB Animation's Justice League Dark for the live-action Dark Universe! Though, that would also be too good to be true.
Are you excited for Justice League Dark? Or does it still feel like this DC project may never materialize?
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