Exclusive: We Interview Ryan Unicomb, Director Of ‘Justice League: Mortal’ Documentary

by Joshua Raynor
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Back in 2007, DC and Warner Bros. began work on the infamous Justice League: Mortal.  With a script by Kieran and Michele Mulroney and directed by George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), this $220 million film was set to hit theaters in 2009, but never saw the light of day due to several unfortunate circumstances, including the 2007-2008 Writer’s Strike.

This film had a full cast, which included Armie Hammer as Bruce Wayne/Batman, D.J. Corona as Clark Kent/Superman, Megan Gale as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Adam Brody as Barry Allen/The Flash, Common as John Stewart/Green Lantern, Santiago Cabrera as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Hugh Keays-Byrne as J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter and Jay Baruchel as Maxwell Lord.  It even had a complete script, which you can check out HERE.

Then, earlier this year, it was announced that a documentary was being made about this lost film, directed by Ryan Unicomb and produced by Aaron Cater and Purryburry Productions.

I was lucky enough to speak with Ryan about the film.  Check out the interview below:


DC Comics News:  What spurred your interest in doing a project like this and what was you inspiration for this particular project?

Ryan Unicomb: My interest in the project has existed for quite some time. Being part of the Australian Film Industry I always heard stories about projects that ‘nearly happened’ or ‘fell over right before we started’. George’s Justice League was BIG news for the Aus industry so when it didn’t happen it affected a lot of people who I’ve since been able to meet and work with on sets years later. Inspiration-wise I guess I have to look at projects like Jodorowsky’s Dune or Lost in La Mancha as main inspirations. Projects that had such promise and such talent attached but ultimately failed to get off the ground. Newer documentaries like DOOMED: The untold story of Roger Cormans Fantastic Four & Jon Schnepp’s The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? really showed that there is great interest in these properties and what happened to ultimately cause the cancellation of the projects. As a massive fan of comic books and these characters, I feel like the story behind the project should be explored.

DCN:  How did you get the opportunity to work on this project? Was it something you’ve wanted to do for a while?

RU: I’m a career filmmaker, so I always have a few projects ‘ready to go’ at any given time. I have been developing a feature film called STREAM for a little while now and during an interview for that film I mentioned that I was also interested in perhaps exploring what happened with George Miller’s Justice League film via a documentary. That little bit of the interview exploded online and places like The Hollywood Reporter and IGN all started running pieces on the prospective project. So we made the decision to cool off on STREAM for a bit and see if we could make this doco happen.

DCN:  Has DC/WB been cooperative during this process?

RU: DC & Warner Bros. are talking to us about it all but that’s really about as much as I can say for now.

DCN:  Will we get to see interviews for the cast and crew, possibly even George Miller himself?

RU: Thats the plan for sure! We’ve already talked to a lot of the people who were involved – some really want to talk to us, some not so much, BUT almost everyone’s involvement hinges on what Warner Bros. allows us to do. Australian fair use law isn’t the same as everywhere else so we really need to work WITH Warner Bros. if we hope to get this made.

DCN:  What has been your favorite experience so far working on this film?

RU: Seeing the designs and talking to those involved. There was so much love and hard work put into the project – it’s part of the reason I’m so motivated to get this made. The designs are amazing and the work that WAS done is world-class, as you’d expect.

DCN: What was the most surprising thing you found while researching the film?

RU: The biggest surprise was probably how much time and effort went in to fleshing out the characters – Wonder Woman feels like Wonder Woman, Flash feels like Flash. It would have been great.

DCN:  I saw the beautiful posters done by the very talented BossLogic. Were those commissioned or did he do those on his own?

RU: BossLogic is someone who I had come across online a while ago. I’ve been a follower of his work for a long time, so when he contacted me after the project was announced and offered his services, we jumped at the chance to collaborate with him. We were able to get him some of the concept designs that were used for Mortal to which Boss was able to make those posters for us using them as the base. He’s one of the best in the world, and now he’s also a great friend of ours.

DCN:  What direction are you taking this film as far as telling the story?

RU: Lots to cover, so direction is important. I want to mainly focus on what the project WAS and COULD have been rather than dwell on the circumstances that brought it down.

DCN:  What can our readers and all the other fans expect from this documentary?

RU: You can expect to be surprised by how damn close we were to getting this movie! You’ll also be pleasantly surprised by how much respect was given to these characters – they truly were big screen versions of their comic book counterparts. Most of all expect to be entertained because those who were involved are still so passionate and excited by the work they did and I really think that will come across in the interviews.

DCN:  When can we hope to see the finished film?

RU: Well it’s hard to put a date to it because things are all still in the air. We’re ultimately still at the mercy of DC Comics and Warner Bros. We’re talking to the people we need to right now but as you can tell, it’s already been a very lengthy process. For now I am back to concentrating on STREAM while we work stuff out. It’ll get made – maybe not quickly but I am 110% determined to make this project a reality.


Cast photo
Aquaman concept art
Wonder Woman concept art
Wonder Woman concept art
Martian Manhunter face mold

Be sure to head on over to the official Facebook page for the film HERE and give it a like to keep up on any and all updates regarding the film.


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