In June 2012, it was announced that Barry Sonnenfeld, the director that brought us The Addams Family, Men in Black, Get Shorty and one of my favorites, The Tick starring Patrick Warburton, is finally getting started on the long-awaited Metal Men movie based on the DC Comics.
The story centers on William Magnus, an artificial intelligence expert who creates six different cyborgs, each made of a different metal on the periodic table. Gold is the leader and can stretch his form in an infinite number of ways. Iron is the muscle of the group, and Lead protects the group from radiation. Mercury can melt and slide into the tiniest of spaces, Platinum (also called “Tina”), the only female, who believed she was a real woman and was in love with her creator, could stretch or flatten her form, and Tin is the self-doubting and insecure cyborg, The group’s personalities mirrored their namesake metals, being dictated by devices called “responsometers”.
Speaking with ComicBookMovie.com, Barry Sonnenfeld says “You know, it’s funny because I am developing Metal Men with Warner Bros. We’re actively working on a treatment for that. For me, it’s not so much a superhero thing as it is world-building.”
“If you look at the work I’ve done, whether it’s The Addams Family, Men in Black, Pushing Daisies, Schmigadoon!, or A Series of Unfortunate Events, it’s all about creating a world. An unusual, slightly off-kilter quirky, different kind of world; that’s what I love doing. It’s not specifically, necessarily superhero, but even in Metal Men, that I am developing, it’s going to be a very specific kind of world. It’s a real-world because I always like things to be reality-based, but slightly with a tilt to that. It all started with The Addams Family which is both real but slightly pushed.”
With the success Barry Sonnenfeld has found in the quirky world-building long form episodic storytelling, a series would give him and the story room to stretch their legs. Schmigadoon!, The Tick, Pushing Daisies, and of course, A Series of Unfortunate Events which was a Netflix hit for years, are all great examples of what Sonnenfeld might be able to do within the world of DC Comics.
How about a world where a couple on a backpacking trip discovers a magical town in which everyone acts like they’re in a musical from the 1940s? Schmigadoon!, with a cast of comedy and musical heavy hitters including Cecily Strong, Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Armison, Kristin Chenoweth, and Alan Cumming is a perfect example.
While only two seasons of Pushing Daisies were made, the fans were devastated to see it leave. Quirky world, you say? How about Lee Pace starring as a pastry chef with the power to bring dead people back to life, solves murder mysteries with his resurrected childhood sweetheart, a cynical private investigator, and a lovesick waitress. There you go!
And I can’t recommend The Tick enough. Ben Edlund, the comic creator, described the series as, “closer in tone to the comic book, favoring character over action, painting a superheroic portrait of genuine human lameness.” The show had fans of the comic and the series lining up to guest-star including Ron Perlman, Christopher Lloyd, Kurt Fuller, Armin Shimerman, and Dave Foley. Superhero experience!