This story is being published for the first time on Friday the 13th, so it seems fitting to be relating the tale of a singularly unlucky project and some welcome – if not completely final – news about who’ll be directing it. The development of Tonight, He Comes reads like a spooksome ghost story, a warning about a curse for anyone who dares get close to its director’s chair. Some say a famous helming talent once occupied that position, but then went off to do something else – and his film died at the US box office.
It’s no legend - that Mann was a Michael and he originally set up the offbeat superhero tale at Artisan, before being tempted away by the shiny sparkles of Miami Vice. And we know how well that turned out, earnings-wise. The loss of Mann prompted Artisan to throw Tonight, He Comes out like last week’s rotting Chinese take-away, whereupon producer Akiva Goldsman ran crying to Sony. With a sweet Columbia Pictures deal in his pocket, Goldsman attached Will Smith and Terminator 3 director Jonathan Mostow. But his happy claps of joy turned to the stomped feet of frustration when Mostow ditched because of “creative differences” (we hear there just weren’t enough sexy naked cyborgs in it for him).
Still, no matter. Smith came to the rescue - must’ve been getting into character a superhero - and got on the blower to his mate Gabriele Muccino, who he’d just worked with on The Pursuit Of Happyness. Hooray! The film could go into… Oh, hang on… No, Muccino himself walked a few weeks later.
So now the story of a super-powered crusader who crash lands in Brooklyn and causes trouble for the neighbourhood when he kicks off an affair with a housewife has been looking for a new director. And Peter Berg, part-time actor and the director who’s just completed a tour of duty in the Middle East (well, Arizona, given that the real Middle East is dangerous and stuff) for terror drama The Kingdom.
Berg is negotiating to take the reigns of the movie and, if he signs, we hope he doesn’t mind the unearthly howling from nearby rooms. That’s not a supernatural curse, just Akiva Goldsman chanting to an ancient, demonic spirit to make Berg take the job and stay until he’s finished.