For some reason it seems that superhero films quite regularly wind up being directed by people you’d never in a million years imagine going near them. For some reason studio execs seem prone to thinking along the lines of “the perfect person to direct our new blockbuster about a massive green monster smashing stuff is definitely that guy who made sense and sensibility a few years back.”
Andy Warhol – Batman Dracula (1964)
The celebrated pop artist and coiner of the term ’15 minutes of fame’ was a massive fan of Batman comics. In homage he created a film called ‘Batman Dracula.’ This film was only ever shown as part of Warhol’s exhibitions, possibly because he had made it without permission from DC Comics.
It was thought for a long time to have been lost but sections of it have now been recovered.
It’s notable for having a score by Velvet Underground and for coming up with the idea of a very camp screen portrayal of the caped crusader, two years before the Adam West TV series.
Ang Lee – The Hulk (2003)
This really ought to have worked. Ang Lee has a sensational back catalogue of films. He showed with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon that he could do action and has subsequently shown with Life of Pi that he can handle CGI.
Alas it sucked. It managed to be be neither fun nor have any gravitas. Still, given the quality of the rest of his work we can probably forgive, Ang Lee the odd duff film.
Kenneth Branagh – Thor (2011)
The idea seems to have been that putting a renowned Shakespearean thespian at the helm of this unconventional superhero film, would lend weight to its large sections of sub-Shakespearean dialogue. It didn’t. Instead the result is rather meh.
Rather surprisingly Branagh is having another shot at action blockbusters. He’s directing and staring in the forthcoming Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Christopher Nolan – Batman Begins (2005)
These kind of left field choices are not bound to fail. Getting an art house director know for psychological and non-linear storytelling to reboot a massive franchise was not a conventional choice but more than two billion dollars later I doubt Warner Bros regret it.