Speaking to the LA Times’ Geoff Boucher, Superman: The Movie director Richard Donner had a simple answer to the question of how to get the Superman movie franchise back on track: give it to Geoff Johns.
"I'd like to see Geoff Johns take a crack at the Superman...I think he would be startling,” Donner told Boucher. “Did you read his comics? There it is. It's there on paper."
But, Donner also laments that the studio (Warner Bros.) isn’t already doing this, saying: "The studio hasn't gone to him and said, 'Give us a screenplay.' That would be the smart thing to do, but that's show biz. Right? Show biz, that's our life."
To be fair, Donner did co-write Johns’ opening arc on DC’s Action Comics - “Last Son”, teaming with the writer who had previously worked in his office as an assistant. “Last Son” was noted by many fans and critics as being thematically in line with Donner’s original Superman film which starred Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder.
Since the opening story with Donner, Johns has been writing the series solo, bringing back such characters as Toyman, Bizarro, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and most recently, Brainiac, in which Superman's father Jonathan "Pa" Kent died in a manner reminiscent of Glen Ford's death in Superman: The Movie. The next storyline coming up is "New Krypton," which features the Kryptonian city of Kandor being transplanted on to the earth.
The storylines that Johns has written have all been noted for maintaining the feel (albeit updated) of the first Superman film.
Johns will be writing Superman on a screen in the coming months, as he is writing an upcoming episode of Smallville, which will introduce the Legion of Super-Heroes to the show.
As for the report that DC and Warner Bros. are looking to take Superman in a “darker” direction when they reboot the film franchise? Donner’s all for it.
“I do think you could probably take Superman into some other areas today,” Donner is quotes as saying. “I think maybe it's ready to break the mold slightly and bring a little greater sense of reality into it. Not contemporizing it to like today. Just making the heavies -- and the situation that is the tension piece -- a little more broken away from the comic-book character. It would take some tricky writing, some good acting and some good directing."