According to Deadline Hollywood, New Line has chosen internet sensation Dan Trachtenberg to direct the long-gestating adaptation of “Y: The Last Man.” It comes as a huge surprise because of how much sense it makes. There was a way for the production company to play it safe (especially considering D.J. Caruso was once attached), but they’ve picked an untested young talent with a fresh perspective and a comic book shelf full of geek credibility instead.
In the interest of full disclosure, I know Trachtenberg personally, but his talent speaks for itself. He rose to prominence on the Totally Rad Show and then made a name as a director with the short film Portal: No Escape. He’s shown he can handle action, but he must have also proved to New Line that he has the chops for something on this scale.
Y won’t be an easy movie to make. Considering its fans, the sheer amount of locations, and the difficult balance of post-Apocalyptic fear and off-the-cuff humor from the last living male human on the planet, it’s going to be difficult to get right. Trachtenberg is an excellent choice for the gig, but it goes without saying that he’s also a bit of a gamble. Plus, this project is one we’ve heard from before, so no amount of speculation that New Line is gunning for real this time can overshadow the tough reality of the project’s history in development hell. The question is whether Trachtenberg will be the last man standing in a line of other directors.
Keeping in mind that this news is thrilling (if only for how inspired and unusual the hire is), there’s one thing that worries me about it. All due respect to Trachtenberg, but production houses have gone to commercial directors and first-timers in the past specifically so they can control them more easily. That’s not to say that will happen here, but it’s been a standard tactic when you want your commercial vision to survive the director’s artistic one. Simply put, the freshly minted music video helmer is easier to nudge than the veteran.
On the other hand, New Line has a recent history of creative freedom, so hopefully the entire experience is a positive one, and we finally get our Y: The Last Man movie after waiting patiently and wading through bad personell for years.