Warner Bros. Finds "Justice League" Screenplay Writer

Last spring, shortly before Marvel began production on "The Avengers," a newspaper profile of new Warner Bros. President Jeff Robinov raised a few eyebrows by mentioning that "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Man of Steel" would be followed in 2013 by "Justice League," the DC Comics adaptation the studio abruptly shelved three years earlier. Because of the project's history, and new target date, some dismissed it as fanciful thinking.

However, Variety now reveals that while Marvel was filming its $1.3 billion blockbuster, Warner Bros. was quietly reassembling its own superhero-team movie, lining up "Gangster Squad" writer Will Beall to pen a new "Justice League" script. The trade paper is careful to note that the hire "was more in anticipation of -- rather than a reaction to -- the box office success of 'The Avengers,'" a statement that seems handcrafted by the studio, which had no official comment.

Beall, a Warner Bros. favorite who's also writing the studio's reboot of "Lethal Weapon" and remake of "Logan's Run," hasn't yet turned in his "Justice League" script.

The long-discussed "Justice League" movie was shut down in January 2008, less than a month before it was to begin production, amid the writers strike, concerns about Australian tax incentives and the possibility of an actors strike. George Miller ("Mad Max," "Babe") was attached to direct from a script by "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" screenwriters Kieran and Michele Mulroney. The ensemble cast included Adam Brody as The Flash, Armie Hammer as Batman, D.J. Cotrona as Superman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman and Common as Green Lantern.

When -- indeed, if -- "Justice League" will be released is clearly the big question, followed closely by what approach Warner Bros. will take to casting. Miller's version geared up even as Christian Bale donned the cowl for a second time in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight," and Brandon Routh still held out hopes for another flight in a sequel to "Superman Returns," yet cast different actors in the roles of Batman and the Man of Steel. With Nolan's Batman trilogy concluding in July, and plans to "reinvent" the franchise already in the works, will Warner Bros. use "Justice League" as a launching point for the new series as well as long-developing movies like "The Flash" (written by "Green Lantern" collaborators Marc Guggenheim and Michael Green for director Greg Berlanti) and "Wonder Woman" (written by Michael Goldenberg)?

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