Hey FOOLS! I had a chance this week to talk with Brent Strickland who, along with writing partner Matthew Jennison, has written the latest script of Wonder Woman for WB and was recently announced that both will be working on adapting the graphic novel Villains for Universal, we spoke about both projects inlcuding the infamous Megan Fox Wonder Woman fan made poster. Check it out below.
CF: A bit of a trend with Hollywood, of late, is to have writing teams what do see are the benefits of having a writing partner?
BS: The main benefit is having two smart people with different ideas and perspectives tackling a problem. There's that element in any sort of brainstorming where one idea sparks another and then another and then somebody takes the third idea in a completely different direction and you end up with something unexpected and better than what you would have come up with by yourself. I find in writing with Matthew that the sum is greater than the parts.
CF: How did you and Matt hook up as a writing partnership?
BS: We met in an acting class in Hollywood. I moved out here to be an actor initially and Matthew wants to direct, so he was in there doing scenes, learning what actors go through to inform his directing. I gave him a ride home from class one night and discovered we were both writing screenplays as well. We traded scripts and really liked the notes and ideas the other added. Matthew thinks on a macro scale, in big story arcs and action sequences, and I like exploring the smaller dynamics between characters, so it seemed like a good match.
CF: When writing do you visualise actors as characters or do you approach characters as their own entity?
BS: I approach them as their own entity. I wrote scripts for so many years where there was no hope of anybody I'd ever heard of being in it that I just got used to it. It must be a bummer to write for Will Smith and then you end up casting the dude who sits behind you in your acting class.
CF: Working on a pair of comic/graphic novel adaptations did you both have knowledge in the projects or were they something you had to research?
BS: Matthew and I both grew up reading comics, but were not immersed in Wonder Woman per se. When we decided to write Wonder Woman, we studied her entire history and drew from the lore. Villains obviously has been around a much shorter span of time, so there's not as much to research compared to something like Wonder Woman.
CF: Is there a comic/graphic novel you'd love to adapt?
BS: There are lots of cool properties out there. We're very focused on Villains at the moment.
CF: Now with the most recent of news, Villains, what was it that drew you and Matt to the project?
BS: We love superhero movies, and the opportunity to work on a project that turns that paradigm on its head is very exciting. We're stoked about Villains.
CF: From the synopsis Universal seems a pretty good home for Villains with Wanted & Hellboy 2 doing pretty well there, do you hope to make it a hard hitting film like Wanted?
BS: Yes. We take these worlds seriously as places where good and evil face off and show down. If you have a movie tracking the rise of the ultimate villain in a world of superheroes, it's going to be hard hitting. There's a lot at stake. As our producer Sean Bailey said, he wants it operatic and epic. That's an exhilarating challenge.
CF: There was word through the interweb that a spec script you wrote featuring Wonder Woman in World War II was bought and then you were both hired to work on a script in present day what is the progress of Wonder Woman, and are you approaching the war story (it's a shame if you can't)?
BS: That is correct, they bought the spec script and then hired us to make it modern day. Since we turned that in, Silver Pictures has gone through some changes and we're waiting to see how they decide to proceed.
CF: Joss Whedon once said in an interview that other than a great origin story there isn't much you can draw from for Wonder Woman without creating it yourself, is this something you agree with and did you both have to embelish on the source material in your vision for Wonder Woman?
BS: Let me first say I'm a huge Joss Whedon fan. I, like pretty much everyone, thought when Joss took the reins of Wonder Woman it would hit theatres in short order, and I was looking forward to seeing his take. I get what he's saying about the origin story. Hollywood kind of insists that you embellish source material - a movie is different than a comic book or graphic novel and needs to be addressed differently. We certainly took liberties on our spec Wonder Woman, but we also used a ton of stuff from the comic. My feeling is that ultimately something iconic like Wonder Woman needs to be a hybrid of the source material and the writer's original inspiration. We feel an obligation to the fan base not only to treat the property with respect, but also to make it fresh - to reinvent the story without reinventing the wheel, so to speak. We enjoyed the research because her backstory often revealed things we could use and build on. I think fans would dig it.
CF: What sort of tone do you want for Wonder Woman?
BS: I want it to be a ride. It should be a lot of fun in a world taken seriously. There should be breathtaking action sequences alongside character beats that allow the audience to relate to this Amazon princess, and moments where they get to laugh but not because it's campy. People have described the spec as Wonder Woman meets Raiders of the Lost Ark. I think that's a pretty good tone. However it ends up, I hope it will be seriously fun.
CF: Earlier in the year there was a website set up where each day a piece of a poster was reveled to show Megan Fox as Wonder Woman what are your thoughts of her as Princess Diana?
BS: If somebody put me in charge of casting I would certainly ask Megan Fox to screen test.
CF: I know Villains is pretty fresh, is there anything else you're both working on?
BS: We have a couple of other projects in the hopper that excite us, but Villains is our main focus right now.
CF: Thanks for your time Brent
BS: Best of luck down under!
Man I hope Wonder Woman can get made, there are a lot of barriers though. I think the main one is that Hollywood are afraid to make an actoin film with a female lead character, fingers crossed Zack Snyder's Suckerpunch can break down some of those walls and pave the way for WW to happen.