We'll certainly give Marvel credit for doing the impossible in creating a linked cinematic universe for their characters that is (mostly) coherent and complete. It's certainly no easy task, but they've managed to take their brand beyond the comic book store and into the pop cultural sphere at large, so kudos are definitely deserved. But when it comes to trying to snare A-list directors, they might want to rethink their approach.
While doing the press rounds for "Skyfall," helmer Sam Mendes chatted with Moviefone and revealed that he received a pitch to direct "The Avengers," though it wasn't exactly what you would call substantive. "The funniest letter I got — they were sending [a packet for] 'The Avengers,' right? For directors to pitch — and I got a package, which was full of comic books, but no treatment; there was no script," he said.
He reveals that he got the package a few years ago (the release date for the movie was announced in March 2009), but in general Mendes laments the release date first, script comes later approach Hollywood often takes these days (fyi, "The Avengers" was originally slated for a July 2011 release). "With a lot of these movies, the date’s announced before anything exists, let alone a script….But the cover letter said 'Marvel’s ‘Avengers’ will be released on May 3, 2012' or whatever it was. That was the first sentence of the cover letter," he said. "Not, 'We have the pleasure of enclosing the materials…' or 'Here is the script for…' but the release date. That was the first sentence."
And while he says he was one of a few dozen helmers who got the package — he wasn't the only person sought out — he wasn't too keen on it anyway. "I wasn’t interested. I mean, that’s not my world particularly. I’ll go see it, particularly with my kids, but I didn’t want to make it," he shared.
But hey, Marvel landed on their feet with Joss Whedon, so it all wound up being okay. And it seems these days they are more carefully plotting things out. But just think: in an alternate universe there would have been a Sam Mendes-directed "The Avengers"…