Thursday, February 14, 2008
PUNISHER: WARZONE UPDATE
So I've officially removed my name from credit arbitration for Punisher: Warzone. That's the process where the producers of the movie submit all the drafts and the names of the writers they feel should get credit. Then the WGA decides what writers contributed most and who deserves credit (and the cash bonuses that come with the credit). I took my name off the movie for a few reasons. The obvious reason is because I didn't deserve credit. There was very little of my draft that stayed in the shooting script. The one big one they kept, was the set piece where we see how Russo becomes Jigsaw. It's pretty brutal. Glad they kept that. The other reason I removed my name is because I didn't want credit. My pitch, my vision, for the Punisher franchise was something much different. I tried to rip Frank Castle from the comic book world and place him in the real streets of NYC. Castle is the only superhero without powers. He's a tortured, highly skilled soldier with a really bad anger problem. I always felt we should see Frank in some place uber-real and gritty. I threw away the first draft written by Nick Santora and did a page one rewrite. I changed the locations, the characters, the story. I dropped Frank in a real New York City with real villians, real cops, real relationships. To me, the Punisher deserved more than the usual comic book redress. It shouldn't just follow the feature superhero formula. Apparently, I was the only one who shared that vision. I'm not saying my draft was perfect or even good for that matter. God knows, Thomas Jane wasn't fond of it. But it was, in my opinion, a much more interesting direction for the franchise. The final script, rewritten almost completely by Holloway and Marcum was the perfect comic book formula -- simple story, very obvious dialog and the inclusion of as many characters from the anthology that a movie will allow (this is not a spoiler, all the characters were announced when they began shooting). I'm sure true fans of the Punisher comic books will enjoy this movie. It will do exactly what a comic book movie should do -- fill seats, set up a sequel. This isn't sour grapes. Writing those superhero movies is a definite skill set. Not many people do it well. But it's just not something I find all that compelling. As a writer who takes (probably too much) pride in what he puts his name on, I couldn't in good conscience lend mine to this project. It's not what I do. I wish Marvel and the producers all the success. If I had to make a wager, I say it will open huge. Be ready for Punisher 3.
Posted by Kurt Sutter at 2/14/2008 11:36:00 PM