'The Flash': Matthew Vaughn, Robert Zemeckis, Sam Raimi on Shortlist to Direct

Matthew Vaughn, Robert Zemeckis and Sam Raimi_Split - Getty - H 2017
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Who will direct the DC Comics hero in his solo movie?

Warner Bros.’ big-screen take on The Flash has narrowed down its search to three directors: Matthew Vaughn, Robert Zemeckis and Sam Raimi, who have all met with the studio in recent weeks and are each strong contenders for the gig.

The trio of helmers emerge as Warners is in the final throes of its search for a filmmaker to tackle the Scarlet Speedster after losing Rick Famuyiwa, who made the Sundance sensation Dope, in October 2016 over "creative differences.” Those differences emerged even as casting was ramping up, and his departure put The Flash on the skids, temporarily shelving production and a release date.

Famuyiwa was the second departure after Seth Grahame-Smith, who had written the script and was slated to make his directorial debut.

The recent search for a Flash helmer was a closely guarded affair, and each of the names rose and fell on the studio's heat index even as each had challenges, scheduling or otherwise, to overcome. Even Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were reconsidered to possibly return to a project for which they wrote a treatment years ago.

The latest frontrunner appears to be Back to the Future and Forrest Gump director Zemeckis. He is currently focused on a new project — an untitled drama that will star Steve Carell and is set to shoot this fall — which appeared to sideline him from the gig. But now some sources say that Warners is willing to wait for him.

Jon Berg and Geoff Johns are producing The Flash, which is working with a new draft by Joby Harold, writer on the studio’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Vaughn, a filmmaker already deeply experienced in comic book movies with pics such as X-Men: First Class and Kingsman: The Secret Service and counts Kick-Ass in his comic book movie repertoire, is readying his latest film, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, for a Sept. 22 release.

Raimi spent the better part of the 2000s working on Columbia's Spider-Man trilogy, which starred Tobey Maguire as the Marvel Comics hero along with Kirsten Dunst and James Franco. The second movie, which featured Alfred Molina as the villain Dr. Octopus, is considered a landmark in the comic book movie form. The trilogy grossed almost $2.7 billion worldwide. The last film Raimi directed was Oz the Great and Powerful, the 2013 Disney movie that acted as a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. 

Zemeckis last directed Brad Pitt in the WWII spy drama Allied.