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When Warner Bros. asked Edge of Tomorrow and The Bourne Identity director Doug Liman to take over Guillermo del Toro’s long-gestating Dark Universe project, there was an unstated request, according to the new director — namely, to take comic book movies somewhere they’ve never been before.
“I get asked to come in and do things that are ‘unconventional,'” Liman said to IGN while promoting his new VR series Invisible. “If people want conventional, they don’t come to me. It’s why doing Invisible was like right up my alley — because how can you be conventional when there aren’t even conventions that exist? And so you know when Warner Bros. wants to sort of turn the comic book genre on its head, they call me.”
Asked if turning the genre on its head is his goal with Dark Universe — the project featuring DC Entertainment’s supernatural characters, also known as Justice League Dark — he replied in the affirmative, adding, “It’s like, how do you fundamentally reinvent what people are doing?” He offered few clues about what that would actually mean, however, although he did point to a decision he made on The Bourne Identity as a potential clue.
“I promised myself I wasn’t going to have a ‘WIJ,’ which is a term they used in film school — ‘W,’ ‘I,’ ‘J’: Woman In Jeopardy,” he explained. “All movies have a WIJ in the third act — a woman in jeopardy. That’s how you know you’re in the third act, is a woman’s in jeopardy! And going into Bourne Identity, I told Matt Damon, on day one — when I met him the first time to convince him to do the movie — I was like, ‘We’re not going to have a WIJ.’ I didn’t have a script yet, I said I’m not going to have a WIJ. We’re just not going to take the woman hostage. I don’t know how I’m going to end the movie, but I can tell you right now the CIA is not going to grab Franka Potente… So I have some rules like that for myself for Dark Universe.”
Start your speculation engines about just what the forbidden rules might be for superhero movies. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the same interview, Liman was equally humble about the prospect of a follow-up to Edge of Tomorrow. “It’s going to revolutionize how people make sequels. It really will,” he said.
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