After Being Rejected By The DCEU, Mike Flanagan’s Clayface Movie May Have New Life

DC Comics artwork of Clayface
(Image credit: DC Comics)

Mike Flanagan is a creative talent best known for his horror content, ranging from Stephen King adaptations like Doctor Sleep and the upcoming Dark Tower series, to Netflix offerings like The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass. However, Flanagan has been wanting to contribute to the superhero media space for a while, specifically by directing a movie centered on the Batman villain Clayface. While that project was never greenlit for the DC Extended Universe, apparently it may have new life.

According to Deadline, Mike Flanagan met with DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran to pitch his Clayface movie, one in which the character wouldn’t be depicted as a bad guy. While Warner Bros. Pictures hasn’t greenlit the project, the studio also hasn’t said no to it either, leaving it in a limbo state. It was also mentioned that this Clayface movie isn’t intended to be tied to Matt Reeves’ The Batman world, but the publication has also heard from other sources that as thing currently stand, that character is set to be a “big addition” to The Batman: Part II.

So one way or another, Clayface is being talked about over at Warner Bros., but it remains to be seen where exactly he’ll show up, if at all, and which creative talent would be driving such a project. Mike Flanagan did confirm discussions had happened by tweeting the following:

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There have been various characters who’ve gone by Clayface over the decades, but the most well-known of the bunch are actor Basil Karlo, who was introduced in 1940’s Detective Comics #40, and treasure hunter Matt Hagen, who was introduced in 1961’s Detective Comics #298. These Clayfaces all share the ability to shapeshift and are also usually gifted with superhuman strength in their monstrous forms. In addition to being adapted numerous times in animation, live-actions versions of the Batman baddie have been depicted in Birds of Prey, Gotham and Pennyworth, although these takes on the character were more limited with their shapeshifting.

Although Mike Flanagan had also once expressed interest in making a Superman movie, James Gunn already has that covered with Superman: Legacy, so now he can focus firmly on Clayface, which he described as a “horror/thriller/tragedy.” If a Clayface movie were to move forward and it wasn’t tied to either The Batman continuity or the new DC Universe, this would be the second Batman character to get their own “Elseworlds” feature, the first being The Joker. Joaquin Phoenix debuted as the Arthur Fleck incarnation of the Clown Prince of Crime in 2019, and he’s currently shooting Joker 2 with Lady Gaga, who will appear as Harley Quinn.

Should Clayface become a reality, you can count on CinemaBlend to let you know. In the meantime, we’ll keep you updated on other kinds of upcoming DC movies, or you can use your HBO Max subscription to stream the released DC movies in order. Mike Flanagan’s next project up is the miniseries The Fall of the House of Usher, though it hasn’t been announced yet when it will premiere to Netflix subscribers.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.