Warner Brothers recently announced that acclaimed Director Ava to Direct an adaptation of DC Comics New Gods.
Damn. Just Damn.
Now normally I’d be elated for Ava DuVernay with this announcement. On dramas like I Will Follow and Selma she’s a good director. But when it comes to a concept on the level of DC Comics New Gods she’s just out of her depth.
Ava Duvernay is good at drama. But she just doesn’t know how to make fantasy films work. Her first film in the fantasy medium, A Wrinkle In Time was critically panned and flopped at the box office. And all her inexperience in the fantasy genre showed onscreen. If she directed New Gods it would be a DISASTER.
New Gods is an EPIC fantasy. It’s two worlds in of incredibly complex characters who are larger than life. It’s the kind of project that requires a seasoned fantasy filmmaker who understands how to make a grand vision work onscreen. Someone like a Peter Jackson, a Steven Spielberg, James Cameron or a George Lucas in his prime. Someone who understands how to work in the medium and use all the tools of it including miniatures, stuntmen, and green screens and CGI to make a world come to life onscreen.
As talented as Ava DuVernay just does not have the experience with fantasy film genre to understand how it works. And that showed in A Wrinkle In Time. While she has done great things in dramas like I Will Follow and Selma, She needs a LOT more seasoning on lower-budget fantasy movies before she can tackle a massive project like New Gods.
Warner Brothers big mistake regarding DuVernay is believing that because she could direct one type of film, she could direct any type of film. However, when it comes to the fantasy genre it requires a set of specialized skills. Skills that a person builds over time working on smaller lower-budget films in the genre before tackling bigger budgeted films.
All the legends of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre like James Cameron, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg had to hone their skills on smaller films like Duel, the original Terminator, and THX 1138 before they got known for fantasy classics like E.T. Aliens, The Abyss, T2, Indiana Jones, and the Star Wars Trilogy. But Ava DuVernay is given the reins of one of DC’s biggest after one film.
Yeah, we need more Black directors working in the fantasy genre. But not like this. Ava DuVernay directing New Gods is an affirmative action hire plain and simple. Unfortunately DuVernay is so caught up in being Hollywood’s diversity darling she can’t see that the game is chess, not checkers.
Warner Brothers is setting DuVernay up for failure in the same way it set Pitof up in 2004 when he was offered an opportunity to direct Catwoman starring Halle Berry. Pitof had an acclaimed film VIDOCQ under his belt. But when it came down to Catwoman he was out of his depth. After a year of bad buzz, The film flopped and Pitof’s career in film was over before it even started.
Hollywood is using Ava DuVernay as their pawn to checkmate Black directors and the Black fantasy and sci-fi genre in the future. They’re giving her big projects on the front end to make it appear like she’s got a fair shake. But after her projects fail at the box office and get critically panned those same studio executives use her flops as the reason not to go out and finance and produce fantasy films by other African-American filmmakers or offer Black people jobs behind the camera on fantasy and sci-fi movies.
Comic fans have been anticipating a New Gods movie for decades. And with a seasoned fantasy director it could be an epic film on the level of the Original Star Wars Trilogy. But if Warner Brothers produces a New Gods film with Ava DuVernay today, it’s guaranteed to be a failure far more epic than Batman V. Superman and Justice League combined. Something that would completely TARNISH Ava DuVernay’s career and make it where she’d never work in film again.
Ava, if you want to make a movie in the fantasy genre more suited to your skills Contact me. Cut your teeth on an adaptation of The Temptation of John Haynes or Isis. On a smaller scaled smaller budgeted project like this you can learn the ins and outs of fantasy filmmaking and get an understanding of how the story model works. You’re just NOT ready for New Gods.