The clock is ticking for 20th Century Fox to put its "Daredevil" reboot into production before character rights revert to Marvel -- but Fox chairman Tom Rothman and Marvel brass have been talking about a tradeoff that would allow the comicbook franchise to remain at Fox past its Oct. 10 deadline.
One reason for the backroom dealings: Fox is in discussions with Joe Carnahan to direct what's been described as a "Frank Miller-esque, hardcore 70s thriller" take on blind Hell's Kitchen superhero Matt Murdock -- a vision that would deviate from Disney/Marvel's family-friendly tone. Carnahan has yet to receive an official offer, though multiple sources tell Variety that he's the choice.
But Fox also has something Marvel wants.
Sources say Marvel would give Fox more time to make "Daredevil" in return for the rights to use characters from the "Fantastic Four" universe, including the giant, world-devouring supervillain Galactus, rumored to play a key role in future Marvel pics. Marvel is also eyeing future use of the Silver Surfer, who in the comicbooks brokered a deal to serve as Galactus' herald in order to save his home planet.
Fox owns rights to the Silver Surfer as part of its deal for "Fantastic Four," which the studio is also rebooting with "Chronicle" helmer Josh Trank.
At this point, the ball is said to be in Fox's court, with talks expected to resume later this week. But as of right now, Fox needs to start lensing by the Oct. 10 deadline to keep "Daredevil" in-house.
Neither Fox, Marvel nor reps for Carnahan would comment on the dealings.
David Slade was previously attached to direct the "Daredevil" reboot, which boasts a recent draft by David James Kelly. Chernin Entertainment is producing the pic.
"Daredevil" would mark a return to the Fox lot for Carnahan, who butted heads with the studio while directing "The A-Team"; the two sides appear to have worked out their differences. After the success Open Road Films had with Carnahan's Liam Neeson-starrer "The Grey," Fox quickly began developing Carnahan's actioner "Continue," which was believed to be his next project. CAA-repped helmer is also developing a fresh take on "Death Wish" for MGM.