Metal Men Metal Men
Ron Clements and John Musker, one of the most formidable directing pairs in modern animation, are lined up to produce – and possibly direct – a DC superhero film for Warner Animation Group (WAG). Clements and Musker dipped into the far reaches of the DC universe to find their stars: the Metal Men, a group of robots who have special powers related to the metals from which they’ve been created: gold, iron, lead, mercury, tin, and platinum. The Metal Men were Silver Age comic stars who had their own series throughout the 1960s, but have in recent decades been relegated to supporting roles and special comic mini-series.

Warner Bros. has been trying to develop a live-action feature with the characters for decades, with numerous writers, producers, and directors involved, including Men in Black’s Barry Sonnenfeld. While live action hasn’t panned out, Warners seems to have figured out an approach by switching to animation and adding the all-star directing team from Disney.

Other key people aboard the project: Celeste Ballard (a writer on Space Jam: A New Legacy) is writing the screenplay; Craig Peck will executive produce; and Allison Abbate, head of WAG, is overseeing for the studio.

Clements and Musker began their decades-long collaboration with Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective, before directing The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, two films that were key to reestablishing Disney’s preeminence in feature animation. Their other directorial credits are a veritable library of iconic Disney films: Hercules, Treasure Planet, The Princess and the Frog, and Moana.

Musker, 68, retired from Disney in 2018, but it’s now clear he didn’t retire from filmmaking. He’s been developing projects at Warner Animation Group for the last couple years. Clements, 68, continued to work at Disney after Musker’s departure, but they have now reteamed at WAG.

It’s a fascinating set-up for sure – two of Disney’s most revered directors setting up shop at another major studio for their first superhero film. Little is known about the project, but The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the news, suggests that the film may take an irreverent and humorous approach to the material.

Warnermedia has produced plenty of DC animation projects in the past, but those have traditionally been made through its Warner Bros. Animation division, which handles mostly television and direct-to-video. The WAG theatrical group will release its second DC-based animated feature next year – DC League Of Super-Pets; its first was 2017’s The Lego Batman Movie.

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