Winding Refn to Shoot 'Drive' Next, Also Talks Wonder Woman
The last we heard about any upcoming project from director Nicolas Winding Refn pegged him to next write, produce and direct his neo-western Only God Forgives, a Bangkok-set modern western about a Thai police lieutenant and a gangster settling their differences in a Thai-boxing match. This project was in place of a previously reported adaptation of James Sallis' novel Drive, which centers on a Hollywood stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) who moonlights as a getaway driver in heists. Well, The Playlist says he's back to directing Drive as his next project and first Hollywood feature, and funding is in place to shoot Only God Forgives.
Apparently Refn had every intention of actually shooting Only God Forgives as his next feature, but a recent sit down with Ryan Gosling got him excited about the Drive project and he changed his mind about what to work on next at the very last minute. Refn explains: "Only God Forgives was going to be my next film. I was going to write it, direct and produce it. And then I met Ryan Gosling in LA and he's a very nice guy, and we had dinner. And he wanted to [do] a movie called Drive which I had read and [after talking] we suddenly felt like we could collaborate. So I decided to make it now and we're shooting in the fall in LA." So far, so good.
Luckily for us, it sounds like Refn is going to be as practical as he can with the car chase and stunt sequences unlike the awful CG incarnations of automobiles in the recent Fast and the Furious installment. Here's what Refn had to say about his approach to Drive:
"… I would love to do a car chase film where its all done in camera. So I don't have any CGI possibilities and I have to do it all like how they would do it in the '70s and how do you do that again? There's a technical challenge to it and 'Drive' has a very interesting storyline running through it, it's almost like a super hero movie because its a guy who realizes he's half man, half machine. It's all about what would I like to see, in terms of how could I visualize the film and I had this idea that if you were to carve up the Driver, what would you he look like on the inside and there would be an engine cause that's his heart. So I suddenly had this obsessive nature about mechanics and engines of cars, that began to create that impulse."
Refn also dropped a bomb regarding his motivation to get Drive off the ground. Though he's mentioned this in passing recently, many thought he might be joking, but Refn is dead serious about this project being a stepping stone to convincing studio execs to let him direct a Wonder Woman feature film. The director said previously (via SlashFilm), "Well, I would say that Wonder Woman is probably something that, to me, would be not just a satisfaction, but almost a [catharsis], and I was born to make it." Refn thinks that with Drive, he's making himself a little more "Hollywood friendly" and more appealing to studios. So what would a Wonder Woman movie look like from the guy who brought us Bronson and the Pusher trilogy?
"[Wonder Woman] is, along with Batman and Superman, one of the three original, iconic super heroes. And I think that it being a woman and she being created by a psychologist who was very interested in certain fetish elements — if you look at the original Wonder Woman its all about woman in very little clothes tying each other up, I don't know what you would call that, but I would call it quite fetish. And then giving her interesting powers and having her come from an island of women. To me the real rosebud lies in the fact that it's really about, what if women were stronger than men on all fronts: how would the world look like? If you do her as an average crusader in hot pants running around — which of course you have to do to some extent— but if you don't go beyond that its going to be really cheesy or silly and sure they'll be action, but its nothing special."
Don't worry, he won't be focusing on the weird fetishes and island of women too much, because he's well aware that the film needs to have an audience. Of course, he knows some of the key hurdles that he would have to overcome with Wonder Woman and her general lack of super villains to fight. He told MovieLine:
"You need a great, extravagant, marketable action film and everything that comes with it. But I think that when Christopher Nolan did the Batman movies, I think he very cleverly went back to the source material and took themes that had maybe not been exercised. And where Wonder Woman on one hand is a great female character who can be included in many great fight scenes, she doesn't have great villains against her. OK, so you create some. She doesn't have a Joker or those classic Batman kinds of guys. But she does have her whole world that she comes from, which is fascinating. The whole idea of a woman who is basically more powerful than any man — and who will always be that, and comes from a society of women who are more powerful than men is an interesting theme that I think can be very contemporary."
Well okay, but I'm still not sure exactly how he will turn this into the female-led superhero franchise that studios would love to get their hands on, but at least Refn is putting some serious thought into it (and that's the most important part, right?). Unfortunately, DC Entertainment hasn't contacted him about the job yet, and he may never be seriously considered. So for now we'll just have to eagerly await Refn putting together his first big Hollywood movie with Ryan Gosling who is also taking on his first action role ever. Consider me interested in the prospect of both Drive and a Refn directed Wonder Woman movie. What do you think?