Aquaman: Jeff Nichols explains why he declined to direct the DC superhero flick

'It was me trying to jump on a moving train'

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The Independent Culture

Warner Bros and DC have invested a lot into their upcoming cinematic universe: Batman v Superman will hit cinemas later this month, Suicide Squad following on later in the year, and the now-filming Justice League next year. If things don’t go well and one of the films drastically underperforms then there is a lot on the line.

It should come as no surprise then that any director they hire is expected to somewhat play ball, setting up plot points for future films and using already established characters. It was for these reasons that Jeff Nichols of Mud and Take Shelter fame didn’t take on their Aquaman adaptation.

“The trick with Midnight Special is even though it was made at the studio, [Warner Bros] gave me a lot of control over the process”, he told Screencrush while promoting the aforementioned film. 

“And I don’t just mean control over final cut, but it felt like we were making one of my movies. I had my team. I had my family there. My crew. We made the movie we all wanted to make. With the DC universe, so many parts of it had been activated and so many decisions had already been made that it felt more and more - and Warner Bros. agreed - that it was me trying to jump on a moving train.

“The decisions that Zack [Snyder] is going to make in Batman v Superman, those all connect to things that are going to happen in Justice League and all that. And I was a huge comic book nerd, so I know all these characters and they all need to be beautifully webbed together. 

“I was just far enough on the outside that I could develop things in a vacuum all day long but it wasn’t going to line up with everything they had planned”.

Other directors to have turned down massive superhero flicks include Ava DuVernay who turned down the chance to helm Black Panther - instead Creed’s Ryan Coogler signed on.