Could Nicolas Winding Refn’s Batgirl ever happen?
News broke Monday that Nicolas Winding Refn – the visionary director behind Neon Demon and 2011’s sleeper hit Drive – has a vested interest in directing one of DC’s tentpole superhero films. And he has a particular hero in mind.
“God, I would love to make one, it would probably be great fun,” Refn told Business Insider this week. “I just don’t know when it’s going to happen. I very much enjoy my freedom creatively, but I also would love to make one of those big Hollywood films that costs a lot of money and has a lot of people running around with cell phones and all that insanity.” … “You know the one I want to do? I want to make Batgirl. Let’s get Warner working on it.”
Fans of Batgirl might remember her previous and only film outing, played by Alicia Silverstone in 1997’s Batman & Robin. And since that movie is literally the worst thing to ever happen, it’s fair to say that a reimagining for Babs is long overdue.
While Refn was clearly spitballing in his interview, the real question is – could this sort of thing really happen?
DC and Warner Bros. have proven that they’re slightly more willing to take risks with their cinematic universe than Marvel and Disney. And while the MCU has churned out a number of solid films, Disney is happy to keep everything in a safe zone, especially when it comes to behind-the-scenes talent. There’s a tangible feeling of control in each of their outings, which guarantees box office return but also a lack of longevity in the minds of fans. Comparatively, DC’s willingness to give their directors more creative control gave us gems like Chris Nolan’s Batman films, and disasters like Watchmen and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Refn’s career post-Drive has been up and down, where his follow-up films have found less-than-favourable critical and financial reception, despite working with some big names. But his vision has never lacked for originality, which could potentially be a perfect fit for Batgirl. Refn understands atmosphere, tension and violence better than many modern directors, which are staples for any of the Bat-family.
There are currently no plans to give us a big-screen version of Batgirl on the horizon, with the DCU’s main focus holding squarely on the upcoming Justice League. But it’s no secret that Warner Bros. wants a chunk of the money that the MCU has generated in going beyond The Avengers, and with Batgirl having grown in popularity in the last few years, bringing her to the big screen seems inevitable.
So while Refn’s comment may have been off the cuff, I expect he’ll be the on the shortlist of directors when Warner Bros. finally makes the call.