Brief “Deathstroke,” “Birds of Prey” Script News

Though he’s been linked with the role for at least two years, to date the only real-time Joe Manganiello has been able to play the DC Comics villain Deathstroke on screen was a post-credits sequence on last year’s “Justice League”.

That of course was a tease for a Ben Affleck-directed “Batman” film which was to have had Deathstroke as its main villain. However, that has ultimately been retooled with Matt Reeves directing and another character serving as the antagonist.

Then came word last year that Manganiello would get to play Deathstroke again in a proper way, this time in a solo film currently in development which has “The Raid” helmer Gareth Evans linked as a potential director. Manganiello guest starred on Chris Hardwick’s ID10T podcast (via LRM Online) this week and the topic of Deathstroke came up and the actor explained the research he did for the role:

“When I met with Ben Affleck about Batman, the meeting we were having was for Deathstroke. This is a real opportunity to figure out who this guy is on the inside. Like what he’s battling with…

…From the inside, this is a person who is struggling with all types of things. I think it’s really interesting to tell that kind of a story and tell the truth emotionally of a story like that when you’re talking about a man who lost an eye, was betrayed, lost a son. These different types of aspects.

Then you couple that with real world military training. Then I started training at like a Ninjutsu dojo and started learning sword fighting. Started learning and understanding where those techniques come from. All of a sudden this thing starts writing itself.

…Somewhere along that way I know that it was announced where the studio – there was talks with Gareth Evans and talks about an origin movie. I’m not giving news. I spent six months prior to all of those phone calls writing a backstory that was turned into sixteen pages, which got turned into a treatment, which then led to my Skype call with Gareth.”

So it sounds like much of Manganiello’s research into the character will be utilised in this film should it go forward. Right now though the DC Universe on screen is in flux with only a few guaranteed movies on the way – namely “Aquaman,” “Shazam” and “Wonder Woman 2”. Beyond that it’s uncertain, though recently “Birds of Prey” suddenly become a high priority.

Following last week’s reports of Cathy Yan joining that film as director, Variety’s Justin Kroll has tweeted that there are two versions of script, with the only constant being that Harley Quinn and Barbara Gordon are in both. He also hears there’s a chance that the “Suicide Squad” sequel will go into production immediately following the wrap of filming on “Birds of Prey”.

For now, neither “Deathstroke” or “Birds of Prey have set production start dates yet.