Berlanti Talks Flash Movie Influences

Greg Berlanti recently spoke to SuperHeroHype about the upcoming Flash movie. Berlanti co-wrote the treatment with Marc Guggenheim and Michael Green, and it appears that Guggenheim and Green are working on the script.

He describes the tone as “somewhere in between GL and Dark Knight,” and goes on to explain how the CSI aspect of Barry Allen’s character is shaping their approach to the film.

It’s actually a little bit darker than when we were working on (‘GL’), because you’re dealing with somebody who is already a crimefighter in a world of those kinds of criminals and that kind of murder and homicide. I find you talk a lot about different films when you’re working on a film, and we spend a lot more time talking about Se7en or The Silence of the Lambs as we construct that part of Barry’s world, then I thought when we got into it. It helps balance a guy in a red suit who runs really fast.

He also talks about the possibility of dealing with alternate dimensions, fitting the sci-fi and crime parts of the concept together, and taking a “visceral and real and cool” approach to the sci-fi aspects, “more in the tone of The Matrix.”

I don’t know…I appreciate that they’re taking the character seriously and not turning it into a comedy, the way it sounded like Warner Bros. wanted to do when they had Shawn Levy and David Dobkin attached…but at the same time, I’m not sure that Se7en and Silence of the Lambs are the best source of inspiration for a character who is, fundamentally, about speed. I guess it’ll depend on how well they manage to balance things. (Assuming, of course, that this version of the film doesn’t go the way of the Goyer, Levy, Dobkin and Mazaeu versions.)

Read the full interview (well, the Flash parts, anyway, since they’re holding the complete interview until October) at SuperHeroHype.

(Hat tip to Andrew Filipe for sending me the link!)

Update: Berlanti also talks to HeroPlex about the films, adding a few notes about the speed element.

The character, like Hal, I think it’s his time. I feel like in this environment we’re in now, our society is moving quicker and quicker. There are all these ways to connect; there’s an element of our society that feels like it’s on speed, for lack of a better word. There’s something very timely about the story of the Flash at this moment, Barry Allen’s story.

(Hat tip to SpeedsterSite for pointing to the second interview!)


13 thoughts on “Berlanti Talks Flash Movie Influences

  1. Sawyer

    I tend to agree with what you are saying here – I don’t want it to be a comedy, but words like dark and gritty and The Flash don’t really go together.
    At least for me.

    On the other hand, yeah, if they balance it right that could work fine. We shall see – and it’ll be a good while before we see 🙂

  2. Kyer

    SILENCE OF THE FREAKING LAMBS! (I never heard of Se7en or I’d probably be even more upset right now.) They are using THAT for inspiration?!

    Oh god…if anything gets killed I hope it is this script…at super speed….new writers…

    Where is Waid! Somebody from early on when Flash was fun!

    This is exactly what worried me when I thought Johns would be doing the script…blood splatters galore. It’s reminding me of the one Wally story I read that I out-and-out hated: #33 with The Comforter. I don’t want to see internal body parts or melted ones in a Flash story. If I wanted to see ‘darkness’ I’d rent Dark Knight, Silence of the Lambs..and a barf bag, thank you.

    *Breaks out Messner-Loeb issues to comfort self.*

  3. Xian

    Flash, for me, is about the fun of the powers and the harmless abuse of them as a dream come true. With Jay, he uses it to become a football legend. For Barry, he turns into his favorite comic book character. For Wally, he gets to be like his idol.

    It’s that earnest giggle of joy Dash, of The Incredibles, gets when he lets loose and realizes he can run across water. Or Steph (No Ordinary Family) getting to come home early because her powers let her finally catch up on work.

    I really hope they’re not trying to shoehorn Flash into the Batman mold (like the TV series, created to capitalize on Burton’s Batman, more or less did in its origin story) which takes a lot of joy out of the powers and makes them naught but a weapon of wrath for Barry to wreck vengeance against some crime which has wronged him. And to tread lightly on the CSI elements which really were never a big/serious part of the Silver Age comic or appeal of last 25 modern years of Flash storytelling.

    In the public’s eyes, Batman is the criminologist… why blur Barry’s character distinctions by making him a subset of Smallville’s superman or Batman’s forensic abilities? Flash is about the high end aspects of his power, the optimism that comes with that (a curse for Batman, a burden and responsibility for Superman, but almost pure boon for the Flashes). Given that Batman is a street-level vigilante dealing with cops, Barry is a cop, and GLs are space cops… I’d want WB to think real hard about distinguishing the franchises and hearing that GL is lighter in tone than Flash is worrisome.

    It sounds like they’re leaning harder on the CSI elements than what really define The Flash traditionally and I’m skeptical that’s the way to go.

    The simplicity of the power but the surprising applications… Flash is all about, “I want to be him.”

    I want to be the football star, to be a hero, to run on water, to finish all my work in a snap. He has just enough power to abuse, but not so much power that- like a Space Knight or Man of Steel- it burdens him… he has no guilt complex or psychosis- like a Dark Knight or a Web-Slinger- to weigh him down. That unique freedom makes him light on his feet and in spirit… the audience that feel that kind of speed.

    But if you leaden his feet with twisted tragedy, grisly crime, morbid CSI elements, psychotic serial killings, and gruesome soul wrenching perversion… you lose that.

    “I-I… don’t want to be that!” You suck all speed right out of the speedster because now his powers are just a tool with which to wipe away a burden the audience didn’t have before they came to the theater.

    1. Xian

      I also hasten to say that light doesn’t require dispensing with death. It is still completely possible to acknowledge Barry’s law enforcement role, his CSI job, and the fact people are dying… for me, this is an issue of tone. Consider Monk or Bones… shows that need dead bodies on a slab, nonetheless maintain a light tone.

      If deciding the tone, emphasis, and plot elements between crime-fiction and super-powered speedster… I obviously opt for the latter whereas they seem to be aiming for a “balance” which doesn’t seem that true to Flash.

      1. Kyer

        Sir, you said most eloquently what I was too upset to articulate. In Harry Potter, the best films were considered the first ones because that’s where Harry was expressing his joy at finding magic was a part of him. In the Star Wars films, Han having a blast playing hero for Princess Lei was *way more fun to watch* than Anakin angsty over his imperfect life.

        What good is a joke or two to add ‘lightness’ to the material if the vast majority is bogged down in depressing tar?

        In the comics, Central City was almost always shown as a cheerful city compared to the likes of Gotham. Their respective heroes matched their cities…Batman scowled…Flash gave a cheeky grin. Let’s keep it that way.

    2. Kelson Post author

      I absolutely agree: it’s about the joy of speed and about adventure. The Rogues can go as dark as you want, but the Flash works best when kept bright.

      1. West

        This seems contradictory, to me. The movie is the protagonist(s) versus the antagonist(s).

        If either goes “as dark as you want,” so goes the entire flick…and the other character, in tone if nothing else.

    3. Perplexio

      If done right it could work. It could kind of be like Christopher Nolan’s Batman/Bruce Wayne in reverse. Bruce Wayne as the fun-loving billionaire playboy who doesn’t take life seriously at all and Batman who takes things far too seriously and wreaks justice and sometimes vengeance on criminals. Barry would be a bit darker, but as the Flash he’s suddenly fast enough to prevent crimes before they have a chance to happen– thus lightening the dark edge they’d be giving to Barry.

  4. Superhero Legacy

    Right, we don’t want a comedy, but we don’t want the darkness of The Dark Knight, either. Somewhere between GL and The Dark Knight sounds like a happy medium. There should, however, be some sense of humor to Allen’s character. And speaking of which, I know the script isn’t even completed yet, but do we have any frontrunners of actors to play the Scarlet Speedster?

  5. Lia

    Considering the Dark Knight scared the hell out of me (yes, I’m a wuss), I’m incredibly dismayed by the possibility of a semi-dark Flash movie. Maybe the movie execs haven’t figured out yet that darkness doesn’t work for every superhero property — just because one is incredibly successful that way doesn’t mean everything else will be too. I hope they’ll remember the Iron Man flicks are fairly light-hearted and yet well-made and successful, for example.

    TL;DR I want to see the Rogues, but not as serial killers.

  6. Clegane, Sandor

    Berlanti is exactly right.

    All he’s saying is that the darker CSI stuff serves as a nice counterbalance to the lighter, superhero aspects. You have the light and the dark.

    I also agree with him about how timely a Barry Allen Flash film is now, since our culture is all about moving faster – phones, internet, information, etc. He’s obviously been talking to Geoff Johns, since that’s the theme of his current Flash run.


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