EDITORIAL: 10 Directors Who Should Be Attached to Comic Book Movies

EDITORIAL: 10 Directors Who Should Be Attached to Comic Book Movies

With comic book movies becoming increasingly popular, I decided to take a look at some of the movie industry’s contemporary directing talents and match them with projects best-suited to their skills.

With comic book movies becoming an increasingly popular sub-genre in Hollywood, I decided to take a look at some of the industry’s greatest contemporary directing talents and match them with projects best-suited to their skills as storytellers. Here are my top ten directors who should be attached to comic book movies.


John Hillcoat


Notable Works: The Road, Lawless

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • All-Star Western
  • Old Man Logan


With John Hillcoat’s inclination for gritty, southwestern period pieces (The Proposition and Lawless come to mind) I’d think All-Star Western featuring Jonah Hex would be a no-brainer. Considering the shameful treatment he’s been given by the movie industry in the past, I’d say the character deserves a proper adaptation. The project I would most like to see Hillcoat attached to, however, is an adaptation of Mark Millar’s Wolverine story “Old Man Logan.” With Hugh Jackman hinting that he’ll soon be hanging up the claws for good, I think that story would be his perfect swan song with Wolverine.


Steven Spielberg

Notable Works: Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, The Adventures of Tintin

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Shazam!

Steven Spielberg is arguably one of the greatest directors of all time. So why do I think he’s best suited to adapting a comic book that’s childish by its own definition? Because ... well, who else would make it work?

Spielberg has made timelessly endearing family movies like E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark, heartbreaking dramas like Schindler’s List, and even modern gems like The Adventures of Tintin. Is he overqualified? You bet. But you can be pretty much certain he’d make a great movie out of the treacherously goofy source material. 


Paul Thomas Anderson

Notable Works: Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, Punch-Drunk Love, The Master

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Superman

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most fascinating and ingenious directors working today. All of his projects, though particularly There Will Be Blood and Magnolia, are so intricately made it feels like he’s not just making a movie -- he’s recounting the events of his stories as if they actually happened. His storytelling is so rock-solid in these films that they almost seem real.

Superman is a character that just brings a tear to my eye when I think deeply enough about him, and I think that Paul Anderson would be able to convey the gravitas, the power, the restraint, and the gentle lovingness of the character better than any other director.



Joe Cornish

Notable Works: Attack the Block, The Adventures of Tintin

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • The Flash
  • Deadpool

This is a bit of a risky one seeing as Cornish is really only known for one film, and that’s Attack the Block. However that’s still a very strong movie in itself, especially considering that it’s Cornish’s first directorial attempt. He’s got a flair for visual effects and a witty, screwball sense of humor that would make him a prime candidate for Fox’s long-developing Deadpool movie. And if that doesn’t work out, I think both those qualities would work equally well for DC’s super-speedster the Flash.


Sam Mendes

Notable Works: American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, Skyfall

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Captain America

Do I really need to explain this one? After returning Bond to form, Mendes has officially proven himself to be one of the strongest directors in Hollywood today, capable of creating both exciting thrillers (Skyfall) and stirring character pieces (Jarhead). It’s not really a stretch that he would be able to make an action-packed, politically relevant espionage story with Steve Rogers and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

With Marvel/Disney seeming pleased with the work of the Russo brothers on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a Sam Mendes-directed Cap movie any time soon. But we can dream, right?



Paul Greengrass

Notable Works: The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, Captain Phillips

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Green Arrow

I think Green Arrow is recognized for two things: one, he is one of DC’s more prominent “street-level” heroes. Two, many of his most memorable stories contain some sort of political bent or social commentary; since the 1970’s Oliver Queen has become somewhat of a left-wing political activist. This might be a touchy subject to sell to general audiences in America, but Paul Greengrass managed to meld subtle political commentary with hard-edged action in The Bourne Ultimatum and its predecessor, The Bourne Supremacy. I believe Greengrass would be able to provide Green Arrow with both gritty realism and intelligent social commentary.


Also, his name is Greengrass. Get it? Ha-ha. Ha.



Nicolas Winding-Refn

Notable Works: The Pusher Trilogy, Bronson, Valhalla Rising, Drive

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Daredevil
  • Punisher
  • The Sandman

Winding-Refn is a peculiar filmmaker. His roots begin in the Pusher trilogy, an interwoven series of crime stories set in the grimy underbelly of Copenhagen, Denmark. From there he’s gone on to direct the unsettling biopic Bronson starring Tom Hardy, the bloody Viking epic Valhalla Rising, and most notably, Drive starring Ryan Gosling. His films are not only beautifully shot, but jarringly and disturbingly violent.

For these qualities, I think Refn’s talents would be best suited taking on some of Marvel’s darker characters such as the Punisher or Daredevil. Or, if not them, maybe something more fantasy-based such as Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman.” That may seem to come out of nowhere for people who haven't seen his films, but they all have a really lucid, trancelike feeling I think would work well for "Sandman."



Bennett Miller

Notable Works: Capote, Moneyball

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

This is more of an experimental choice. I’ve always liked Alan Moore’s “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” graphic novel, particularly its first volume with Professor Moriarty. The book has already been adapted (horribly) which may put studios off from attempting to remake it -- but I think with an Oscar-nominated director like Miller, a “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” movie could be made that both respects the source material and the books it draws inspiration from.


Tomas Alfredson

Notable Works: Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Hellblazer

Another experiment, but one that I think could pay off. Alfredson is probably best known to American audiences for directing espionage thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, although his past directing achievements include the creepy vampire romance Let the Right One In, about a young boy in Sweden who falls in love with a centuries-old vampire girl. That might sound a little reminiscent of Twilight for those who haven’t seen it, but Let the Right One In is less a vapid teen romance and more of a disturbing classical fairy-tale. For that reason I’d choose Alfredson to direct a proper adaptation of “Hellblazer” starring John Constantine.

With Constantine set to premiere on NBC, a “Hellblazer” movie seems unlikely. However, if the powers-at-be choose to revive the character on the big screen, they could do worse than Tomas Alfredson as a director.


James Cameron

Notable Works: The Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, Avatar

Projects He Would Be Suited For:

  • Aquaman

Thank you, Entourage, for this hilariously inspired choice of director. James Cameron is one of the most successful film directors in history, with record-breaking blockbusters such as Titanic and Avatar under his belt. You can argue about the quality of those films all day, but you can’t deny that Cameron is a visionary capable of appealing to mass crowds. And Aquaman? Any comic book fan would tell you he’s been the butt of far too many jokes, and that he deserves a bit more recognition than “the guy who talks to fish.” Imagine the man who brought us the world of Pandora, bringing us leagues under the sea to the mystical city of Atlantis. I can already see the massive undersea battles Cameron could bring to the big screen with an Atlantean civil war at his disposal.


And for those who still claim Aquaman commanding sea life is lame, I have two words for you: “pet Kraken.”


So what do you think? Leave your thoughts in the usual place, and thanks for reading.

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Sumitsjc - 3/30/2014, 11:30 PM
IF Cameroon is Director For Aquaman then there is no doubt he'll be the F**king biggest superhero you'll ever see.

but there is no chance Cameroon will work with any Comics .
Sumitsjc - 3/30/2014, 11:33 PM
Beside I think it will be Peter Jackson who is going to bring Aquaman to big screen.[as he work with WB]
Sumitsjc - 3/30/2014, 11:35 PM
hey Sorry Man I post two comments before but didn't Thanks you for making a good article.

so Thanks..and well done.
Doopie - 3/31/2014, 3:07 AM
a proper league of extraordinary gentlemen film would be great. paul greengrass doing GA would work. these guys could all make awesome comic-book movies, sadly i don't think many of them ever will but cornish should get in on the action
DaVinci31 - 3/31/2014, 8:02 AM
Well done, man.

ACMilan - 3/31/2014, 8:03 AM
Right choice with Paul Thomas Anderson, wrong character selection. Apart from his ability to tell a story, Paul Thomas Anderson has the ability to extract such powerful performances from his actors that they routinely are Oscar nominated. I argue that Daniel Plainview is the best portrayal in film history, and J. Phoenix in The Master was pretty bloody intense too.

If Paul Thomas Anderson does a comic book movie, it needs to be an intensely character driven one, and that is Batman, Daredevil, Spawn, etc.
Nomis - 3/31/2014, 8:03 AM
Guillermo Del Toro for SWAMP THING reboot based on Alan moore classic run of the series!

CaptainTumeria - 3/31/2014, 8:08 AM
Good picks. There's one that I'd like to add, and that's John McTiernan (Die Hard 1 & 3, Predator, The Hunt for Red October, Basic) if it ever comes up to do a S.H.I.E.L.D. or Black Widow movie. He would be the right guy to combine action and political intrigue into a thriller.
wavehunter - 3/31/2014, 8:11 AM
Sam Mendes would not be a good choice for Captain America. The guy can't stand anything American
Mastyrwerk - 3/31/2014, 8:11 AM
Can we stop suggesting Old Man Logan for a movie?

As awesome as it would be, and it would be so awesome, the only way to do it justice would be to include all the properties that are spread out among multiple studios. It's a pipe dream. It's never going to happen.

Worse is that it does happen by one studio, like Fox, but they replace all other non mutant characters with mutants that are pale imitations of the MCU properties they represent. It would be a nightmare and a disappointment. I would rather they never make this movie than make a bullshit version they call Old Man Logan.
DaVinci31 - 3/31/2014, 8:17 AM
Can we stop suggesting Old Man Logan for a movie?

I second this motion.
corey81 - 3/31/2014, 8:28 AM
i hard somewhere that james cameron helped on DOFP,
Mastyrwerk - 3/31/2014, 8:36 AM

Yeah. Singer said he called him up to see if the time travel element made sense. That's pretty much it.
Tuuralihn - 3/31/2014, 8:39 AM
I never want Winding-Refn anywhere near ANY CBM. Terrible director.
NicolausCopernicus - 3/31/2014, 8:47 AM
kathryn bigelow fow WW
brad bird for GL
wachowski would be cool on something too
totally agreed on greengrass
FilmDork1221 - 3/31/2014, 8:54 AM
Gareth Evans to direct The Punisher??
Td0g93 - 3/31/2014, 8:55 AM
Good picks! I've actually compiled a list of my own ;)

1. J.J Abrams- Green Lantern. After his work on Star Trek (The 1st one is one of my favorite science fiction films) I think he could crack a movie about a team of intergalactic "police officers". James Kirk = Hal Jordan, see where I'm going?

2. Brad Bird- Fantastic Four. Watch the Incredible and you'll understand this haha. The man is a force to be reckoned with!

3. Guillermo Del Toro- Doctor Strange. I'll admit that I know NOTHING about the character, but Del Toro is the first man I can think of to do a movie about magic, other dimensions, and all that jazz.

4. Steven Spielberg- Superman. Call me crazy, but I think Mr. Spielberg could bring the right balance of drama and lightheartedness that this story requires.

5. Joss Whedon- X-Men. Probably not a possibility, but DANG I would pay ridiculous sums of money to see the X-Men interacting under Joss Whedon's direction. Ahh, if only.

I have some more ideas, let me know if you'd like to hear more :)
dannramm113 - 3/31/2014, 9:00 AM
I want Scorsese to do a CBM! The best director ever should make the best!
Dmon - 3/31/2014, 9:09 AM
James Cameron would not do a comic book film he has said as much. He only does original concept work now.
DVonShakari - 3/31/2014, 9:12 AM

Steven Spielberg would be excellent for making a Superman movie
Magus - 3/31/2014, 9:27 AM
I pretty much disagree with all of these. I guess we are just looking for different things from our comic book movies.
CaptainShazam - 3/31/2014, 9:50 AM
Greats choices, this is my own list :
-David Fincher for a Spider-Man movie
-Wes Anderson for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
-Francis Ford Coppola for 1000 Bullets
-Alfonso Cuaron for Green Arrow (based on Green Arrow Year One).
TheTank - 3/31/2014, 10:26 AM
I still think someone like Brad Bird would have been perfect to take on Superman, I said that 15 years ago when I saw the Iron Giant, then the Incredibles, and everyone was like he hasn't done any live action...then right before MoS went into main production, he began work on Mission Impossible. So he was def capable of doing a live action movie of that size. Not that I hated MoS. Some days I love it, some days I totally think they missed the mark.

I enjoyed the whole fearful of aliens things, I always said that if they did Superman realistically that you would HAVE to do it like that. But I never once through the movie did I have fun with him being Superman.
DrunkenNukem - 3/31/2014, 10:29 AM
Del Toro said a long time ago that JLD script included Jhon, Zatanna, Madamme Xanadu, The Spectre, Deadman and Etringan The Demon

Alfonso Cuaron should direct Green Lantern

Darren Aronofsky should direct Aquaman

James Cameron should direct a Justice League movie...using this guy for a solo superhero film is a waste

Gareth Evans is the man to direct Deadpool

TheBigLebowski - 3/31/2014, 10:57 AM
@PowerOfDarkseid Wes Anderson to direct League of extraordinary gentlemen? Woah that's interesting. I'd like to see Ben Affleck direct Batman when they reboot his own series... just as long as it isn't Snyder
Pharaoh - 3/31/2014, 11:00 AM
I'd attach Cameron to Green Lantern

Robert Rodriguez to Blade

Peter Jackson to Thor 3

Joss Whedon X-Men and Justice League...
Foolkiller - 3/31/2014, 11:19 AM
Neither Spielberg or Cameron should be allowed near a comicbook movie.
Shaggy - 3/31/2014, 11:46 AM
I know it's all a huge pipe dream, but it's still cool to imagine.
Also Del Toro is a brilliant choice for SWAMP THING, that never actually crossed my mind!
sKeemAn - 3/31/2014, 11:46 AM
I'd like to see David Cronenberg helm a Dr. Strange movie. Cameron should do a big movie like JL, Avengers, or AvsX if we ever get that far.
TheManFromMars - 3/31/2014, 11:52 AM
James Cameron won't make an Aquaman movie.

He'll be too busy making Avatar 19.
Td0g93 - 3/31/2014, 11:57 AM
IMO, Edgar Wright would be a great choice for a Deadpool movie.
Spock0Clock - 3/31/2014, 12:19 PM
I'm not 100% on this, but if I were Marvel, I'd have Aronofsky in to talk about Dr. Strange.

If by "tried to bring Spider-Man to the big screen" you mean had his assistants do minor touch-ups to an existing script for millions of dollars with no real intention of actually going forward with the project, then yeah, he totally did that.
TheTank - 3/31/2014, 12:32 PM

Cameron was involved with Spiderman for a few years in the early 90's as the director. After turn overs with the rights he was no longer involved but his concept of organic webslingers stayed in Raimi's movie.
beane2099 - 3/31/2014, 12:51 PM
There are some interesting choices here but the majority of this list are fairly obvious choices too. Mendes, Cameron, Greengrass, Spielberg, Cornish, and Anderson (Not Paul W. S., thank God) have all made big/great films but that also means they bring a hefty price tag and share of ego to the table. I agree James Cameron would make a great Aquaman film but the chances of that ever happening are astronomical. Likewise with Mendes (Who previously turned down an unnamed Marvel film) or Spielberg.

The real finds are not the guys who have already made big screen movies but the guys who have done great stuff with very little or in other genres. Who's the next Russo brothers or Gareth Edwards (or Evans)? The Russo's came from television comedy. Jon Favreau came from comedy as well. Nolan directed innovative hard hitting dramas. Could the next big CBM masterpiece come from Bobby Roth or Paul Edwards (both of whom directed episodes of Agents of Shield) or maybe James Wan (Insidious)? Who knows? Better men than I, that's for sure.
Td0g93 - 3/31/2014, 12:53 PM
@beane2099 James Wan for Spawn perhaps?
Danbojohnj - 3/31/2014, 1:02 PM
Tarantino needs to do a CBM,ditto the Watchowski's,they would kill Batman.

Spielberg would have made a great Cap flick.
pointman - 3/31/2014, 1:13 PM
I agree. Why pitch an old man logan movie when they couldn't secure half the rights to the characters? It would just be another fox cluster fornication. They have done enough damage.
REPOMAN - 3/31/2014, 1:21 PM

Nicolas Winding-Refn is all ready attached to a comic film:

Judge Dredd creator John Wagner's Buttonman from 2000AD.

UltimateDCandMarvel24 - 3/31/2014, 1:28 PM
What about a martin Scorsese daredevil
AbedIsBatman - 3/31/2014, 2:01 PM
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