Screenwriter Michael Brandt interview Prt 2
Beverley Hills Cop 4, Spyhunter, Countdown and more

  So no fooling around lets get to the second part of Michael Brandt and his interview.Today we will hear about which direction Beverly Hills Cop 4 will go and whereabouts is Spyhunter? You will also hear some more cool projects and rituals of Hollywood. Enjoy

So Last we Heard you were working on Beverley Hill Cop 4 where are you up to on that? So with Beverley Hills Cop 4 we got a draft of the script and we kind of came to it in a round about fashion. The studio called and the producers called and said hey we just got a new draft of Beverley Hills Cop 4 and the writers we keep hiring keep trying to write a comedy and we don’t want a comedy. We want to make a down and dirty cop movie and then let Eddie be Eddie. With the original Beverley Hills Cop it is a really dark movie like his friend gets executed at the beginning of the movie. In fact I think it was originally meant for Sly Stallone back in the 80’s. It was going to be a hard core cop movie then Eddie came on and they kept the plot and a lot of the R rated violence and Eddie was just funny. So what they said to us was they wanted to go back to that and Derek and I had written a script two years ago called Dying Day which was kind of a buddy cop thing set in LA with buddy FBI agents but it wasn’t jokey at all it was pretty hardcore everybody died in the end and it was the kind of movie/script that everybody who read it really liked but nobody was ever going to make it into a movie. Too dark. And they said they would like to turn Dying Day into Beverley Hills Cop 4. We could kind of see how that could work and we said that sounds great and we were all for it and we’ll tell you where to send the cheque and the studios said no we want to bring you guys in to do some work on it and turn it into BHCP4. So we agreed and Brett Ratner came on to direct and we did our first draft of that and while it has gotten farther and farther away from our original script we’re kind of in between drafting that and a second draft coming up in a month or so.

You always hear stories of a writers work getting farther and farther away from the original script. Does this really happen that often?
Well it’s really happened on this one because a lot of time things get off track because the original story had problems and so once a director comes onboard or an actor or producer who says here some things about the script I really like and here’s some things I don’t like that aren’t working. And if you start to change the things that aren’t working, you start to change the things that are working as well. It’s kind of a natural human emotion which is as you get deeper and deeper into a project with what’s working in the beginning of the project and what wasn’t and pretty soon your so far away from where you started you forgotten how to get back there and it becomes a fairly common thing when you have many creative endeavors so it’s something you have to try and manage and stay away from. But it happens and when you bring a big personality onto a project and as a writer you have to try and manage that. It happens for the better or for the worse like 3:10 to Yuma is a good example where the result was for the better. I think we had wrote a really good script and then the you have guys like Christian Bale and Russell Crowe involved, it is going to get elevated and they’re going to bring their own things to it and that’s an example of when a the end movie is better than it’s parts in a way. Because all the guys are talented and then there are some times when people have come on and they had ideas and you say that doesn’t work at all. You’re ruining the tone, the themes and you are breaking the things that can’t be broken and you just have to step away and try and manage it the best you can and then when you realize you can’t manage no more you have to leave. That definitely happens too.

  You were once attached to direct a movie called Countdown based on a Richard Matheson Twilight Zone story? Is this still going?
No, [laughs] We worked on that all last year and we had a really good script and the studio was behind the movie and we were casting the movie. You see you only get one chance at directing a movie and honestly everything has got to be right because if you make you first movie for 30 million dollars and it doesn’t work, you’re probably not going to get a chance at directing another movie. As far as the process with the studio there were some things they wanted to do casting wise and production wise that I didn’t agree with. As a writer you can try serve it up to them as much as you can but as a director it’s your baby and you can’t just let it go. So we had to make a decision last fall to walk away from it.
That would have been hard for you?
No, it was not easy at all

So is directing the way you want to go in Hollywood? Yeah, definitely that has always been my goal. Even starting film school I wanted to be a director. And editing and writing were all things I enjoyed in the movie making process but you want to be the guy in charge, you want to be the guy making the final decisions. And even in movies we have done that have worked really well like 310 to Yuma and Wanted there is still this feeling that it’s not completely yours. Even as the director it’s not all yours because it’s a collaborative process but you kind of liken writing a movie that’s successful to watching your stepson in a baseball game hit a homerun. You’re really proud of him but he’s not all yours and that’s kind of how it feels. And I am ready to take my shot it’s just that it hasn’t worked out yet.

Do you have any dream projects you want to adapt ,write or direct? Well we have 2 scripts that we’ve written that I want to direct. One is an original called Miami-land and the other one is based on the Belgian movie that Derek and I have the rights to and that’s called The Capitalist, they are just two scripts that I totally understand, I totally get and I know how to make those movies and it’s just a matter of finding the right cast at this point and the finance support. Its always a tricky endeavor in getting the cast before you get the money and sometimes the money want you to have the cast first so it’s a juggling act with a catch 22 but were working on it . I’ll be the director and Derek will produce.

So are there projects that are really good and you just don’t connect with them?
Well you know as a director it’s different to, you have a different vision, you look at it from a different angle then you would a writer. There is a certain skill as a writer to creating a script that people can read and say I can see the movie here. In some ways the script is like a marketing document of here’s what the movie could be especially the early draft of the script because you saying here’s what the movie could be and as you get closer to production and your getting actors onboard and they bring their own voices to it then you are really starting to fine tune the script into what the movie will actually be. As a director you just have to have such a global and complete understanding of what the final movie will look like , feel like , sound like and what the tone could be and the 2 scripts the Capitalist and Miami-land are two scripts I just know in and out what the final movie will be

Are these the projects you are working on right now? Right now we are working on besides Beverley Hills Cop 4 we just got hired top adapt a novel for newline called the Thirteenth hour (written by Richard Doetch-pictured). It hasn’t come out yet; the book hasn’t come out yet. It’s a fantastic thriller with a little bit of Memento, A little bit of the Fugitive it’s a really great thriller that we just started to work on.

Also how is it going with the Spyhunter movie? That’s been years since we worked on that and every writer in Hollywood has taken a shot at that. Right after Fast and the furious came out universal called and said would we consider writing Spyhunter or were we interested in talking about it. We were like yeah I remember the video game and it was about the car that came out of the truck and the studio had a really interesting take they said imagine a guy who is a spy hunter .The guy who’s after James bond, the guy who’s after Jason Bourne. And we were like well that sounds cool. I see there is a tone in that movie I can really get a kind really cool darkness to it maybe and then at the time the Rock was attached who was nothing but a gentlemen and really one of the smartest funniest guys you’ll every meet but apart from the Rock being attached to the car that came out of the truck. It was totally hard to match the Rock and this fantastic car to this idea of a guy who hunts spies for a living and we couldn’t figure out the tone of it. We haven’t been on that for a few years.

Well that’s all I needed to ask. Thanks for the time to answer my questions.
Thank you.

Thats all fans. Thanks again to Michael Brandt and we will try to keep you up to date with his projects.


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