When Warner Bros. contacted “Charm City Kings” filmmaker Angel Manuel Soto about potentially directing a DC comic book tentpole, he geared up to pitch the studio on a much different movie.
“I wanted to pitch ideas, and one of them was the Bane origin story,” Soto recently told Den of Geek magazine. “I always thought that there was something interesting in exploring his reality and how a character like that comes to be… [but] the conversation was not about that.”
According to Soto, Warner Bros. already had “Blue Beetle” in mind for him to direct. He recalled the studio saying, “There’s this character that we’ve been developing for a couple of years. The Blue Beetle, a Latino superhero.”
It’s not the first time someone has tried to bring Bane back to the big screen following Tom Hardy’s portrayal in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” Dave Bautista revealed revealed in April 2021 that he met with Warner Bros. and demanded he play Bane. The studio wasn’t planning for the villain to appear in a movie at the time, but that didn’t stop Bautista from trying again when his “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn took over DC Studios.
“I have had conversations with James about that,” Bautista told Insider earlier this year about his dream Bane role, “but I think the direction he’s leaning in, completely rebooting that whole universe, he’s starting from scratch and starting younger and fresher and I think you need to do that. I think for the DC Universe to be revived, you need to start from scratch.”
As for Soto, he wasn’t so sure “Blue Beetle” was the right project for him at first when Warner Bros made the offer. “I didn’t want it to be another story where 15 minutes in, something happens, and 50 minutes later, he’s dominating the experience, and by the end, he’s saving the world,” he said. “I get it, I enjoy it, I go watch those movies and eat the popcorn and it’s fun, but it was hard for me to relate to an experience like that. If someone gives me a lot of power, the first thing I’d do is say, ‘I don’t want it.’ I just wanna provide for my family; I don’t need it, more power, more problems!”
Getting the keys to a comic book movie was hard to pass up, so Soto found his way into the “Blue Beetle” story by grounding it in the real world as much as possible.
“He’s not going to save the world yet; he doesn’t deserve to yet,” Soto said about creating believable stakes for the film. “We wanted to find a way to really explore his growth, how it relates to how his family and community see him in this role, as well as how his relationship with Khaji grows as well.”
“Blue Beetle” stars “Cobra Kai” actor Xolo Maridueña as Jamie Reyes, a college graduate who gains superpowers when an alien Blue Beetle scarab grabs onto him. The film co-stars Adriana Barraza, Damián Alcázar, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon and George Lopez.
Warner Bros. is opening “Blue Beetle” in theaters Aug. 18.