David Robert Mitchell, the indie filmmaker behind It Follows and Under the Silver Lake, is set to make his studio movie debut with the genre-bending superhero movie Heroes & Villains.
Mitchell wrote the script, and while details remain under wraps, it is described as a unique take on the superhero genre. That should come as little surprise, seeing as Mitchell can’t help but be unique as a storyteller.
The filmmaker burst onto the scene with his 2010 debut The Myth of the American Sleepover, a $50,000 coming-of-age drama that got him meetings around town. That water bottle tour led to the hit 2014 horror movie It Follows, a recent highlight for the genre. Mitchell’s third film, the Andrew Garfield noir Under the Silver Lake, was given a minuscule release by A24, which never figured out how to market the ambitious yet divisive movie. I can’t say I blame them, for my take on that film is that it’s a fascinating failure in the vein of Richard Kelly‘s Southland Tales, though there are plenty of folks at Collider who adore the shaggy detective movie, which has developed a cult following.
New MGM boss Michael De Luca produced Under the Silver Lake, so the fact that he’s getting back in business with Mitchell despite the commercial failure of that film is a sign of confidence in the filmmaker and the material. De Luca has been aggressive in recent weeks, and he must see something in Mitchell and his latest script to make a play for it. Just last week, the studio worked out a deal with Universal to allow Phil Lord and Chris Miller to direct its astronaut movie starring Ryan Gosling, based on an upcoming book from The Martian author Andy Weir.
As for Heroes & Villains, Mitchell will produce with Chris Bender and Jake Weiner of Good Fear Content, and casting is expected to begin shortly. I’d love to see the director work with Garfield again, but the actor has probably had his fill of superhero films following the Amazing Spider-Man movies.
Alternative superhero movies remain all the rage in the development trenches, as Netflix just shelled out for the pricy package Ball and Chain, which will star Jungle Cruise duo Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.