What We Know About the Deathstroke Pitch by Gareth Evans

by Neil Bui
Joe Manganiello has played Slade Wilson, the assassin known as Deathstroke, in the post-credits scene of "Justice League."

Back in 2017, director Gareth Evans was attached to the DC Comics film Deathstroke starring Joe Manganiello, which unfortunately never came to fruition and likely will remain in limbo.

“I was quite enthused and excited about [Deathstroke] back in the day when it was first pitched to me,” Evans told Yahoo. “I met with them, and talked to them about it, and was certainly attached to it at a certain point.”

Manganiello first appeared in the post-credits sequence of 2017’s Justice League as Deathstroke meeting Lex Luthor on a yacht to discuss the formation of a Legion that would take on the League.

“I’ve spoken to Joe Manganiello, who was attached to star as Deathstroke. I spoke to him a while back, and we both lamented the fact that it didn’t happen,” Evans said. “But yeah, I don’t really have much more than that, in terms of anything else lately on it.”

The Deathstroke film would have ended up being an origin story that would have fit within a two-hour film.

“The plan was, I wanted to tell something that would be a lean story, that would be kind of an origin of that character,” Evans said. “Something that felt like it could be 100 minutes or 110 minutes long, max – not to go over the two hours period with it.”

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South Korean noir films served as an inspiration point for Evans in the tone and cinematography of this film that never came to be. Given Deathstroke/Slide Wilson’s character as a mercenary, it would have been an interesting expansion of the DC film universe with a noir film showcasing a certain depth of storytelling not as thoroughly explored with other assassin characters such as Will Smith as Deadshot in Suicide Squad.

“Back then, I was massively influenced by the noir films coming out of South Korea, so that was my pitch,” Evans said. “I was like, these films are amazing: the texture and the tones of colors, the grit, and the aggression of them is super interesting to use to tell Deathstroke’s story.”

Not only did Evans draw influence from overseas films, but he also did his own dive into the source material of comics.

“I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m not a massive comic book hero or superhero fan, but something about Deathstroke interested me,” Evans said. “I did some reading into it – not enough to make real hardcore fanboys happy – but I tried my best to consume as much as I could in the time that I was on it, for a bit.”

Upon his research into the character’s 40-year publication history, he identified three different origin stories that involved the loss of the character’s eye, a major physical feature of the one-eyed blind Slade Wilson, as well as how he becomes the supersoldier he is through experimentation.

“When I read up on it, there were about three different versions of how his character originated. And so I thought we could do something quite Shakespearean, in terms of how he loses his eye, and how he gets created as the character that he is,” Evans said.

At the time, Ben Affleck was still attached to the Batman solo film with talks of Deathstroke having some role either as the main villain or a smaller appearance. Now that Batman film has evolved and recast the role of Bruce Wayne to Robert Pattinson. With such significant changes to those pieces of Warner Bros.’ DC films, it is likely the studio has decided to shelf Deathstroke for the time being and focus on their current roster of film characters, before expanding the cinematic canon with more characters from the comics.

“I think that project just stopped being a priority for them. It never went further than two or three phone calls. I’ve never heard anything since, so I just presumed that project was either on the back burner somewhere, or someone else might just be doing it,” Evans said.

Source: Yahoo Movies UK

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