Apparently Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the only wonder woman in Joss Whedon's life.
The writer-director has officially dropped out of Warner Bros. and Silver Pictures' feature-film adaptation of DC Comics' Wonder Woman, blaming the usual creative differences for his depature.
Whedon broke the bad news in a post on the fan site whedonesque.com, saying the split was amicable and he decided to bail to help the chances of the film getting off the drawing board.
"I had a take on the film that, well, nobody liked," he wrote. "We just saw different movies, and at the price range this kind of movie hangs in, that's never gonna work," Buffy's creator said. "Non-sympatico. It happens all the time."
The iconic female superhero was originally an Amazonian princess named Diana who comes the U.S. during World War II to use her physical skills and accessories (bullet-deflecting bracelets, truth-inducing golden lariat, invisible plane) to help defeat the Nazis. The character was a fixture in the Superfriends 'toon and spawned a campy, standalone 1970s hit television series starring Lynda Carter.
Warners had hoped Whedon would be able to update Wonder Woman, paying him a reported $2 million to $3 million to develop the story.
"Everybody knows how long I was taking, what a struggle that script was, and though I felt good about what I was coming up with, it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk," wrote Whedon. "I like to think it rolled around the rim a little bit, but others may have differing views."
Whedon and the studio also had trouble casting the lead role. And although former Buffy stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Charisma Carpenter were among those rumored to be in contention to don the tiara, Whedon said, "I never had an actress picked out, or even a consistent frontrunner. I didn't have time to waste on casting when I was so busy air-balling on the script."
His exit comes less than a week after Warner Bros. bought a Wonder Woman spec script, set in the 1940s, from screenwriters Matthew Jennison and Brent Strickland. Per trade reports, the studio snapped up the rights mainly to shield itself from any future plagiarism lawsuits. The Hollywood Reporter also quotes "insiders" saying that producers liked elements within the duo's script, which they were sending around as a sample to secure future writing gigs.
A Warner Bros. spokeswoman confirmed Whedon's depature to E! Online but declined additional comment.
Whedon has several other projects in the pipeline, including the thriller Goners for Universal and an adaptation of Marvel Comics Runaways, about superpowered teens. He's also supervising Dark Horse Comics' new Buffy story.
Meanwhile, in related comic book happenings, filmmaker Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) is feeling the need for speed, taking over the reins on Warners' The Flash.
He replaces David Goyer, who is best known for writing the screenplays for Blade and Batman Begins.
In a message on his MySpace page, Goyer wrote an obituary of sorts for his version of the exceptionally speedy Justice Leaguer, who apart from a short-lived TV series in the '90s, is another DC favorite yet to hit the big time in Hollywood.
"I am sad to say that my version of The Flash is dead at WB. The god's honest truth is that WB and myself simply couldn't agree on what would make for a cool Flash film," he wrote (sounding a lot like Whedon). "I'm quite proud of the screenplay I turned in. I threw my heart into it ,and I genuinely think it would've been the basis of a groundbreaking film. But as of now, the studio is heading off in a completely different direction."
Goyer's script was apparently too dark for executives, mining similar territory as Batman Begins by focusing on the "legacy aspect of the hero," which involved the different men who assumed the identity of the title character.
Aside from his current blockbuster hit with Ben Stiller, Levy's big-time credits include The Pink Panther remake and Cheaper by the Dozen movies with Steve Martin.
Per the Reporter, Levy is not turning The Flash into a comedy, but rather will oversee a new draft of the script that will incorporate elements of Goyer's work while giving the character a lighter touch in the vein of 20th Century Fox's Fantastic Four. Ryan Reynolds is reportedly in the, um, running to play the speedster.
As for Goyer, the go-to guy for comic-book adaptations has plenty to keep him busy. Aside from creating Blade: The Series, he's also been hired to cowrite the upcoming Batman sequel, The Dark Knight, as well as hatch stories for future feature films about Thor and Captain America.