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'Aquaman' Movie Hooks Two Writers (Exclusive)

Will Beall, who wrote 'Gangster Squad,' and Kurt Johnstad, who wrote '300: Rise of an Empire,' are tackling two separate scripts for Warner Bros.

Aquaman Illustration - H 2013
Jim Lee/DC Entertainment

Will Beall and Kurt Johnstad are sleeping with the fishes.

The scribes are writing — separately — scripts for Aquaman, one of the installments in Warner Bros.’ multimovie scheme to create a cinematic universe based on the DC Entertainment characters.

Aquaman is being developed on dual tracks, where studios and producers hire two separate writers to work on the same project in the hopes of getting the best version. The practice allows for release dates to be set while a project is still in development while giving it a muscular push. Warners needs just that as last week it dated nine untitled DC movies between 2016 and 2020.

Warners is not revealing which one of those will be Aquaman, but the first untitled DC movie is due for release on Aug. 5, 2016, with two more due in 2017, on June 23 and Nov. 17, respectively.

Aquaman is one of comicdom’s classic characters, having been created in 1941 by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger. The character has been with the Justice League since the team's inception in 1960 and got a major boost in pop culture recognition with the 1970s cartoon series Super Friends. The show, however, also made him the butt of jokes about him being too hackneyed and simple; the perception was that all he could do was talk to marine animals.

(The jokes continue to this day. An Aquaman movie was at the center of a major storyline on HBO's Entourage and just last week Zack Snyder, who is directing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice as well as the Justice League movie, surprised a Detroit radio talk show, whose DJs were disparaging the hero, by calling in and defending him.)

Jason Momoa is widely acknowledged as having secured the role of Aquaman in Warners’ DC cinematic universe, although Warners had not yet officially confirmed the casting.

Both Beall and Johnstad are part of Warners’ familiar stable of scribes.

Beall wrote Gangster Squad for the studio and worked on a version of Justice League before the project was made part of the DC movie tapestry. The writer, who is repped by CAA, Management 360 and McKuin Frankel, also penned episodes of TV’s Castle.

Johnstad, repped by WME and Untitled, is a Snyder favorite, having worked on the director’s 300 and the recent Snyder-produced 300: Rise of an Empire.

Warners had no comment.

Email: Borys.Kit@THR.com
Twitter: @borys_kit