Warner Bros. is developing two Aquaman screenplays, one written by Kurt Johnstad; the other by Will Beall. The studio will choose the better of the two scripts in order to fast-track their stand-alone Aquaman movie.
The studio is tapping 300: Rise of an Empire screenwriter Kurt Johnstad to write one script and Gangster Squad writer Will Beall to pen the other script for the studio’s Aquaman film. Insiders are reporting that the two will not co-write a project but will, in fact, be writing two separate scripts with the studio choosing the best of the two. This practice is used to allow a release date to be set while the project is still being developed.
It’s not clear where Aquaman fits into Warner Bros’ roster of mystery DC-related movies. A total of nine announced-but-untitled DC movies are on the studio’s schedule, and we already know they are planning a Justice League movie and stand-alone films for Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. This is just another notch on the ever-evolving and incredibly busy list of comic-book movies hitting screens between now and 2020. Warner Bros. is not revealing which one of those will be Aquaman, but the first untitled DC movie is set for release on Aug. 5, 2016, with two more due in 2017, on June 23 and Nov. 17.
As for the two writers in contention, Will Beall wrote a Justice League script back before David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio (Oscar- winning screenwriter of Argo) took over, and Kurt Johnstad has worked with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder in the past on both 300 films, as well as the in-development war drama The Last Photograph—a project long attached to Snyder.
Beall might end up being the dark horse in this two-man race as his Justice League script was deemed too ambitious while his Gangster Squad screenplay left much to be desired. It’s difficult to differentiate whether his writing career has been a series of wrongful studio-involvement situations or not, but it does call into question whether or not his writing skills could be detrimental for adapting the Sea King for the big screen.
On the other hand, Johnstad is a more obvious choice, working previously with Snyder on multiple projects and being situated at Warner for some time. Johnstad’s screenplays have brought incredibly visual movies so it’s easy to see that his specialization in the visual-action department would be well suited for Aquaman‘s underwater battles.
Apart from the hiring of these writers, the only other information we know about the project is Jason Momoa is playing Aquaman for Snyder’s Batman v Superman and will probably sign on for multiple films.
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Images: DC Comics, HBO