Sometime around the turn of this century, movie geeks began buzzing over a proposed showdown between the two biggest icons in comic book history. Now, a new movie poster is advertising 2009 as the release date for the long-awaited "Batman vs. Superman," and the flick is finally coming to a theater near you.
Well, sort of.
"That was Akiva," laughed "I Am Legend" director Francis Lawrence this weekend, referring to a geeky sight gag created by his writer Akiva Goldsman. "It's very funny."
In "Legend," Will Smith's character is one of the few humans left alive in 2012, following a massive 2009 virus attack. As he wanders the abandoned, filth-ridden streets of Manhattan, the world is frozen in time from the moment that the rabies-like disease hit. When "Legend" hits theaters December 14th, eagle-eyed viewers will be able to spot all sorts of futuristic billboards, including one that features the iconic symbols of Batman and Superman.
"That was Akiva's department; Akiva became the cheerleader for every movie poster and [inside] thing you'll see in this movie," grinned Lawrence, who previously directed the Keanu Reeves flick "Constantine." "So, because we're in a video store, you'd see movie posters around, and when we're in Times Square so you'd see movie posters around."
When "Legend" eventually lands on DVD, fans will be able to slow down the action and fully enjoy all the in-jokes that appear behind Will Smith's adventures. The "Batman vs. Superman" billboard is one of the largest in Times Square, however, so even though the title of the film isn't written out, the phony advertisement will come through loud and clear to the geeks.
"I just let Akiva handle [coming up with those], and he got very excited," Lawrence said of Goldman, who was once attached to a real-life "Batman vs. Superman" failed script, and also wrote 1997's "Batman & Robin."
"It became his own little department," Lawrence remembered. "His own side project of 'What movies would be coming out in 2009, when the apocalypse happens?'"
Unfortunately, fans interpreting the billboard as a sign that Supes and the Dark Knight will soon square off are setting themselves up for disappointment. "No, no, no," laughed Lawrence, when asked if the billboard was his way of announcing his next project. "That's not me."