He-Man and the Masters of the Universe has a director
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, or Masters of the Universe as it's now being called, has a director, finally, and it's showing the level of investment that's in the film considering that he's co-directed Kung-Fu Panda and directed four episodes of the television series Father of the Pride.
Now that's not saying John Stevenson is a poor director, just that they aren't pitching this film as high as other comic book adaptations, and no I'm not going to blame that on any recession.
Justin Marks has written the script for Masters of the Universe which some sites have described as really good, and as The Hollywood Reporter tells us that there's a director on board for the film they also tell us that Marks' take on the story is a much “grittier” version...presumably that means a little more realistic, less fantastical, and darker in tone.
His version of the story has a soldier setting off to find his destiny and finding the magical world of Eternia where a creature named Skeletor has raised a technological army that is setting forth on the world to destroy all traces of magic from it.
Sounds a little more interesting than the cartoon blurb, which to be honest was a bit of a mish-mash of ideas and characters centred round the powerful core of the He-Man story, and the weekly “let's overthrow Greyskull but in the end we're just too silly” never really caught me.
So this take sounds a lot better, and let's face it it would have to be to capture today's audiences and to make it as a feature film.
Mattel, the toy company, seems to have been heavily involved in the selection process for a director, something which doesn't sound quite right to me. However they took them to their headquarters and interviewed them in their own style and ended up with John Stevenson. Barry Waldo is Mattel's Vice President and said:
“...the candidate has a strong passion for it or least shares the same passion we do, and has a strong vision within and outside the current script, which shows us they are leaders...Masters of the Universe was a billion-dollar franchise for us in the '80s. There are so few of those in the vault; it's one of the crown jewels. So we were looking for a master storyteller.”
A master storyteller? Kung-Fu Panda co-director and four episodes of the Father of the Pride? Well let me defend him for a moment and take the opposite side, every director has started somewhere. The Scott brothers were once straight out of directing commercials, so maybe we just haven't seen Stevenson apply his trade as yet, perhaps this could be it. That's what Mattel, the toy manufacturers, believe:
“I think it's fair to say, and knowing the epic nature of this script, you will see things you have never seen before. John has that creativity.”
Well who's to doubt that?