The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #16 Lauren Shuler Donner

Lauren Shuler DonnerIt has been said that behind every great man stands a great woman. Be that as it may, it is certainly the case that behind every X-Man stands Lauren Shuler Donner.  She has (with the assistance of #19 Ralph Winter) brought Marvel Comics’ X-Men to the forefront of American pop culture with her productions of X-Men, X2, and X-Men: The Last Stand. Capitalizing on the success of this franchise, she is currently producing X-Men Origins: Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman, scheduled for release on May 1, 2009. She has also been announced as a producer for X-Men Origins: Magneto, based on a screenplay most recently written by #5 David S. Goyer, also scheduled for release in 2009. Ms. Shuler Donner was instrumental in bringing the main character from Hellblazer (published by DC’s Vertigo imprint) to the screen in her production of Constantine (with producers #8 Benjamin Melniker and #5 Michael E. Uslan and executive producer #15 Gilbert Adler). She remains attached to the possibility of producing a sequel to the film, also with Adler and Melniker, but according to IESB.net, possibilities are waning. Hollywood.com reports an announcement that Shuler Donner will also be producing an adaptation of DC Comics’ Metal Men, but no release date has been revealed.

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The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #18 Christopher Nolan

Christopher NolanAfter over a decade of steady decline, Christopher Nolan resurrected the Batman film franchise into a starkly beautiful and gritty world, telling a new generation of Batman fans that the Caped Crusader has not faded away. Indeed, the Bat has only just begun his flight.  In 2003, after the critical and box-office failure of 1997’s Batman & Robin, and after no less than five unsuccessful attempts at a new Batman film, Warner Brothers approached Nolan to direct a project begun by #7 Frank Miller and Darren Aronofsky, known then as Batman: Year One.  Nolan was a risky choice since he was relatively unknown at the time, but had garnered some critical success with previous films such as Memento and Insomnia. After several false starts, Nolan took over the Batman project and, with writer #5 David Goyer, set out to make a Batman grounded in a “recognizable, contemporary reality against which an extraordinary heroic figure arises.” Nolan directed and co-wrote the screenplay for the finished Batman Begins (with executive producers #8 Benjamin Melniker and #5 Michael E. Uslan on board), which won great critical and commercial success upon its release in 2005, including one Academy Award nomination. Nolan and Goyer were also a writers for the 2005 Batman Begins video game, and Nolan is credited as having produced, directed and co-written (again with Goyer) the screenplay and story for the highly anticipated sequel, The Dark Knight (again executive produced by Uslan and Melniker), to be released July 18, 2008, starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, and the late Heath Ledger. In 2003, Variety reported that Warner Brothers had optioned The Exec, a comic book created by the late Doug Miers, to be adapted for the screen by Christopher Nolan.

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The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #22 Michael De Luca

Michael De Luca

Now a producer at Columbia Pictures, Michael De Luca has been the president of production at DreamWorks Pictures and the president of production at New Line Cinema. A self-avowed lover of comic books, he got his comic book movie start by serving as the executive producer (with #6 Mike Richardson) of The Mask, based on the Dark Horse Comics publication.  Shortly after that, he collaborated on the story to 1995’s Judge Dredd, along with William Wisher, Jr., which was based on the British comic character of the same name published in the comics anthology 2000 A.D.  He was the executive producer for Blade and Blade II (although he was uncredited for Blade), working with #13 Mike Mignola and writer/executive producer #5 David S. Goyer.  In 2007 he produced Ghost Rider with director and writer #14 Mark Steven Johnson and executive producer David S. Goyer to a dismal reception.  However, he is set to be an executive producer for Marvel’s martial-arts piece The Hands of Shang-Chi to be released in 2009, and will be producing Priest, based on South Korean graphic novelist Min-Woo Hyung’s work of the same name, also to be released in 2009.

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