Plans have begun to formulate for James Gunn and Peter Safran’s slate of DC Studios films, with filmmaker James Mangold in early talks to take on “Swamp Thing.”
Sources tell Variety that Mangold is a longtime fan of the DC Comics supernatural hero and approached Gunn and Safran with his idea for the forthcoming project.
Of course, Mangold is a comic book veteran after writing, directing and executive producing the R-rated superhero movie “Logan,” the third “Wolverine” film starring Hugh Jackman, which is regarded as the pinnacle of the “X-Men” movie franchise. However, the filmmaker has a particularly busy dance card, with “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” set to hit theaters in May and Searchlight’s Bob Dylan biopic “A Complete Unknown,” starring Timothée Chalamet, up next.
News of Mangold’s interest in “Swamp Thing” comes just 24 hours after Gunn and Safran announced the first 10 film and TV titles within the rebooted DC Universe on Tuesday morning. The co-chiefs explained that these films make up Chapter 1 of the DCU, which they are calling “Gods and Monsters.”
During the presentation, Safran said that the film will “investigate the dark origins” of the DC Comics character through the prism of horror.
“This is a much more horrific film, but we’ll still have Swamp Thing interact with the other characters,” Gunn added, making a reference to the introduction of Rocket Raccoon to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the “Guardians of the Galaxy films. “That mashup quality,” of having that character interacting with live-action players like Thor, he explained, ended up working out beautifully.
On Tuesday evening, following the project’s official announcement, Mangold posted an image of Swamp Thing to Twitter and Gunn retweeted the post, which got comic book fans buzzing that a collaboration might be in the works.
Swamp Thing was created by writer Len Wein and horror artist Bernie Wrightson (whose artwork is featured in Mangold’s tweet) and first appeared in a standalone story in 1971’s “House of Secrets No. 92,” followed by a popular run under Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben in the 1980s. The DC Comics character first appeared on the big screen in 1982’s “Swamp Thing,” directed by horror master Wes Craven, and most recently headlined a short-lived series created by Gary Dauberman and Mark Verheiden for the DC Universe streaming service in 2019. He also appeared in Season 3 of HBO Max’s animated series “Harley Quinn,” as a vegan, health-nut voiced by Sam Richardson.
The Hollywood Reporter was first to report news of Mangold’s involvement in the project. Warner Bros. did not comment on the reports.
Mangold is repped by WME, Entertainment 360, and Sloane Offer.
Additional reporting by Adam B. Vary.