Zack Snyder has settled on his next project. The director will turn his efforts to adapting Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead. This is a project Snyder has been interested in for some time, but now he's stated that it will be the movie he's taking on next. This is the first movie Snyder will make, assuming it actually goes into production, since walking away from Justice League last year.
The filmmaker made the reveal on the social networking site Vero, in response to a fan who wanted to know what his next project would be. Zack Snyder spent the last chunk of his career shaping the DCEU for Warner Bros., starting with 2013's Man of Steel. So he was entrenched in the DC universe for roughly six years. Given the intensely divisive fam response to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (not to mention the critical lambasting) and the horrible situation he found himself in with Justice League, it seems reasonable for him to tackle something outside the comic book or franchise realm.
That said, The Fountainhead carries with it a unique set of problems. The 1943 novel deals with an architect who has modernist style but is met with resistance and backlash, having to fight for his individualism. But the controversy surrounding Ayn Rand and his work has to do with the author creating a world lacking sympathetic characters and its problematic treatment of women. Specifically, there is a rape that occurs within the book that is treated as an insignificant detail. Here's a synopsis of The Fountainhead.
The 'living example' of egoism is Howard Roark, 'an architect and innovator, who breaks with tradition, [and] recognizes no authority but that of his own independent judgment.' Roark's individualism is contrasted with the spiritual collectivism of many of the other characters, who are variations on the theme of 'second-handedness,' thinking, acting, and living second-hand. Roark struggles to endure not merely professional rejection, but also the enmity of Ellsworth Toohey, beloved humanitarian and leading architectural critic; of Gail Wynand, powerful publisher; and of Dominique Francon, the beautiful columnist who loves him fervently yet is bent on destroying his career."
In 2016, Zack Snyder spoke a bit about his plans for adapting the book saying, "I've always felt like The Fountainhead was such a thesis on the creative process and what it is to create something. Warner Bros. owns [Ayn Rand's] script and I've just been working on that a little bit." Warner Bros. has yet to comment on the adaptation just yet. Currently, there is no timetable for production or where exactly the project is at in terms of development.
The Fountainhead was previously adapted for the screen in 1949. That movie starred Gary Cooper and is generally considered to be a very good adaptation. Is Zack Snyder the right guy to adapt the novel for modern audiences? That remains to be seen, but this represents a very different type of project for him and Snyder clearly isn't shying away from material that may bring some controversy along with it. This news was previously reported by Polygon.