A Touching Cast Photo From The Justice League Movie That Never Was
Greg Van Borssum, a stuntman on the upcoming Mad Max reboot Fury Road, posted a photo to his Facebook page last month that offers a previously unseen glimpse of the cast and crew of the never-made 2008 Justice League movie.
Justice League: Mortal was meant to film in 2008 under George Miller, co-writer and director of the Mad Max franchise, including Fury Road. Justice League: Mortal never began filming, possibly because of the Writers Guild Strike of 2007-2008, but the photo reveals that Miller at least got as far as bringing his cast together.
Justice League: Mortal would have starred Armie Hammer as Batman, D.J. Cotrona as Superman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Adam Brody as Flash, Common as Green Lantern, Hugh Keays-Byrne as Martian Manhunter, Santiago Cabrera as Aquaman, Teresa Palmer as Talia Al Ghul, Zoe Kasan as Iris Allen, and Jay Baruchel as the villain of the piece, Maxwell Lord.
The photo, taken in Nielsen Park, Sydney, shows Miller, Van Borssum, and producer Barrie Osborne posing with most of the cast, excluding Common and Kasan. Blogger Tom Vidovich at Rust Belt Flicks spotted the photo on Facebook and identified Hammer in the back row, Cotrona directly in front of him, Cabrera, Brody, Palmer, Van Borssum and Osborne in the second row from the front, and Miller, Baruchel, and Keays-Byrne in front. The woman to the left of Cotrona may be Wonder Woman actor Megan Gale. The man to the right of Cotrona has not been identified. Other photos on Van Borssum's Facebook wall show him posing with Hammer, Cabrera, Gale and Palmer.
In retrospect this seems an unlikely cast of mostly very young and unknown actors. Adam Brody was arguably the best known actor at the time, coming off four seasons of The O.C., while Jay Baruchel was known to fans of the short-lived sitcom Undeclared. The movie would have been one of rapper Common's first major acting gigs; Armie Hammer would not get his big breakthrough role as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network for another two years. (The would-be Batman will be seen on screens in next year's Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie from Guy Ritchie opposite none other than current Superman Henry Cavill.)
It's notable that Common would have played the John Stewart version of Green Lantern, familiar to fans of the Justice League animated series that ran from 2001-2004. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is rumored to fill that role in 2016's Batman Vs. Superman, following the dismal reception to the 2011 Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan.
Santiago Cabrera would have been the first actor to play Aquaman on the big screen -- he can now be seen playing the dashing Aramis in the BBC's Musketeers show. D.J. Cotrona, who would have played Superman, may be known to readers as Flint in G.I. Joe: Retaliation or Seth Gecko in Robert Rodriguez's TV adaptation of From Dusk Til Dawn. Megan Gale, who would have played Wonder Woman, is a model and TV presenter who will appear in Mad Max: Fury Road alongside both stuntman Van Borssum and actor Keays-Byrne, who would have played Martian Manhunter and may be best known as the villain Toecutter in the original Mad Max movie.
As Warner Bros. once again gears up to bring the Justice League to the screen, with many of the characters expected to debut in the forthcoming Batman Vs Superman film from Man of Steel director Zack Snyder, this photo offers a glimpse of what might have been. Justice League: Mortal would have been released the summer of 2009, just one year after Marvel kicked off its ambitious cinematic universe-building with Iron Man.
It's hard to imagine Hammer, Cotrona, Baruchel, Brody et al having the same cultural impact as Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, and Chris Evans. The cast seems, in a word, goofy. But with the right execution, who knows? We might already have had our Wonder Woman movie by now.
The Justice League: Mortal script leaked online last year, so anyone curious about its quality can judge for themselves.