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SDCC ’13 | DC’s Diane Nelson on movies, Vertigo & Harry Potter

Diane Nelson

Diane Nelson

As the finishing touches are put on Comic-Con International ahead of Preview Night, The Hollywood Reporter releases an interview with DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson that’s a blend of polite sidestepping of delicate or unannounced subjects — the departure from Warner Bros. of her boss Jeff Robinov, Man of Steel 2, the long-developing Justice League movie — and insight into how the media giant views the DC properties.

Naturally, given the outlet, much of the discussion involves film and television, with Nelson addressing why she thinks Man of Steel succeeded while Green Lantern didn’t, and why DC’s movie plans have been developing so slowly, the conversation veers a little closer to comic books when she’s asked what five characters she’d like to seen on the screen.

Sandman is right on top,” Nelson responds. “I think it could be as rich as the Harry Potter universe. Fables. Metal Men. Justice League. And yes, I’m going to say it: Aquaman.”

Unfortunately there’s no follow-up on that last part, but after tackling the perennial question of why writers and producers have such a difficult time developing Wonder Woman for film and television, Nelson is questioned about DC’s new effort to revitalize its Vertigo imprint “after a long decline.” THR’s Borys Kit states, “One reason for the decline was that other publishers offered creators better contracts when it came to media rights. Has that changed?”

“I can’t comment on deals,” she replies. “But I do believe we recognize that we have to take certain steps — that maybe we didn’t in the past — to make sure that Vertigo is a place where creators feel they can bring a property and have a good chance of it getting seen, prioritized, appreciated and hopefully developed into other media. We need to make sure that they are getting access to New Line and Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner TV and Warner Horizon. And that those parts of the studio understand that Vertigo is an incubator of the best talent in our business.”

Nelson, who oversaw the Harry Potter movie franchise for Warner Bros., is also asked about the odds of J.K. Rowling’s beloved characters making the leap to comics. Her short answer made even shorter: Don’t hold your breath.

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Comments

5 Comments

I would absolutely go see an ‘Aquaman’ or ‘Metal Men’ movie. I still don’t understand why Metal Men has never been made into a Saturday morning cartoon.

Chris Mautner

July 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Ick. Just ick. Everything this woman says here gives me the hives.

“But I do believe we recognize that we have to take certain steps — that maybe we didn’t in the past — to make sure that Vertigo is a place where creators feel they can bring a property and have a good chance of it getting seen, prioritized, appreciated and hopefully developed into other media.”

To be fair, not being able to have creations they share in get adapted has been one of the gripes creators have voiced about Vertigo (and WildStorm) in the past. That said, it’s also been suggested that Warner has been reluctant about adapting Vertigo properties into other media because doing so would entail letting creators share in the profits.

So her comments can be interpreted either way, as far as creators’ rights are concerned. Will those “certain steps that maybe we didn’t take in the past” involve making Vertigo more attractive to creators by granting them more rights and support on their creations? Or does she mean she wants to make Vertigo more attractive to Warner as an IP farm by granting creators less of a share in their projects?

Jake Earlewine

July 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Kevin, why is my previous comment “awaiting moderation” so long after it was posted? There’s nothing vulgar, inflammatory or mean in that comment. Are you now censoring opinions that differ from yours?

Oh, come on, Jake. Knee-jerk accusations of “censoring differing opinions” are beneath you, and a bit of an Internet cliche.

I don’t care that you disapprove of changes made to DC on Nelson’s watch — clearly, as others have expressed the same sentiment — but you started off the discussion on the wrong foot with a comment about her appearance, which was unnecessary, and made everything that came after it seem dismissive and tied to her looks and gender.

You may not have intended your comment that way, but that’s how it read, and it likely would’ve led to pretty heated thread peppered with unkind accusations. I’m sure nobody wants that.

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