With Warner Bros.’ Justice League looming, it’s easy to forget that DC Comics’ flagship team of superheroes nearly arrived on the big screen years earlier under the direction of Mad Max: Fury Road‘s George Miller. For many, the abandoned Justice League Mortal is just a distant memory, but for actor Jay Baruchel, who was cast as Maxwell Lord, the film’s brutal battle between Superman and Wonder Woman remains fresh in his mind.
“There’s a scene where Maxwell Lord brainwashes Clark, and all of a sudden this guy’s got Superman as a weapon,” Baruchel recalled on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “But in order for me to do this – to get in to a Kryptonian brain – I start bleeding out of every fucking orifice because it takes that much to get into the head of a Kryptonian. And then I turn him into Red-Eye Superman, and there’s this big-ass fight between him and Wonder Woman where he breaks her wrists.”
Justice League: Mortal was originally targeted for 2009 release, with Armie Hammer as Batman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Common as Green Lantern and Adam Brody as The Flash. Warner Bros. abruptly shelved the film in January 2008 due to the writers strike, concerns about Australian tax incentives and the possibility of an actors strike. However, in the words of Miller, who had signed on to direct just four months earlier, Justice League Mortal was simply never meant to be.
“I really was attracted to it,” he said last year. “But there was a writers strike looming. We had to cast it very quickly, which we did with Warner’s casting people. And we cast it really quickly and we mounted it very quickly. And it depended on a start date and it depended on some basic rebate legislation that had just got through a new Australian government. But it was just too big a decision for them to make in the time. And that fell through and the whole film fell through. We almost got there. And it wasn’t to be. But that happens a lot, where films line up and the stars look like they’re aligning and they didn’t.”
Arriving Nov. 17, Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Willem Dafoe as Vulko, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta and J. K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon.
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