WB Hires First Time Director For THE FLASH

Seth Grahame-Smith helms the Scarlet Speedster.

Here's a choice guaranteed to raise some controversy: Seth Grahame-Smith has been hired to direct The Flash for Warner Bros as part of the new DC Movieverse. A caveat upfront: I am friendly with Seth and think he's a really good guy and has a lot of legit nerd bona-fides that make him an interesting choice for this film. But with that out of the way let's get into the stuff that people will react to, namely that he's a white male with zero feature directing experience being hired to make a big budget tentpole movie while women and people of color with actual CVs didn't get the call. 

Grahame-Smith directed two episodes of a TV show called The Hard Times of RJ Berger, a dirty teen comedy on MTV. That could give us an idea of the tone of The Flash, which Grahame-Smith is also writing (from a treatment by Phil Lord and Chris Miller). Still, the lack of experience in the feature realm is going to make Grahame-Smith a target of those who (rightfully) decry Hollywood's mentality of hiring white guys as a default, no matter their experience. 

For hardcore fans of the DC properties Grahame-Smith's hiring may also bring some pause. Warner Bros has been touting their superhero films as coming from directorial vision, but nobody knows what Grahame-Smith's vision is, exactly. And the stuff that people have seen from Grahame-Smith - he wrote Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - may also make them wonder just what DC is getting themselves into here. 

But WB knows where Grahame-Smith is coming from, as he's been writing Lego Batman for them. He worked with Lord and Miller there, and he certainly knows their aesthetic and tone, and will likely be able to execute their treatment of The Flash well. Like I said I'm friendly with Seth from a distance (emails and Twitter exchanges, mostly), and I think he's a good guy and, given the right circumstances could bring home a great script for this film. But directing - that's going to be his big question mark, and that's going to be the big cudgel used against him in the weeks and months to come. As Marvel announces their first non-white filmmaker, WB goes and gives a white neophyte the keys to their fastest vehicle. It could be a great artistic choice in the end, but politically it's going to come under a lot of scrutiny.