Friday, February 15, 2008
PUNISHER: WARZONE UPDATE ... UPDATE
Man, I forgot just how intense the comic book underground is. I've already gotten hate mail and car-bomb threats. I thought this was obvious, but for the record, after arbitration I WOULD NOT have gotten credit anyhow. So I didn't "pull my name off the script", I removed my name from arbitration. It was just my way of taking some control of the situation. Didn't want the WGA to waste their time or insult the other writers who did the majority of the work. I thought it was the high road, but maybe not. I guess blogging about it was the mistake. This update may also be a mistake... Let me say, also for the record, the Punisher: Warzone script is not a bad script, in fact, I think it's a very tight script. My beef, my frustration, was not about the script being good or bad, it was about creative choices. The comic book formula I referenced makes for fantastic movies. The last Batman, the Spiderman franchise, these were all fun, well-written movies. I had hoped The Punisher could be something more unique. Again, I'm not saying this movie will not be unique. I hear very good things about Lexi's lead. The fact that it went the way it did was the decision of some very talented producers who know a lot more than I do. Okay, I think I've qualified my ass bloody, here. So, no disrespect to Marvel, Lexi, the producers, the writers, the Punisher fanbase... now can someone please return my fucking dog.
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.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
A SIMPLE THANKS
There will be an onslaught of post-strike blogs and articles that will address the pros and cons of our 3-month struggle. If you've been reading my posts, you know my opinions were subject to my fluctuating levels of fear. I had many. I will let others, more in the know than I, digest and regurgitate the facts. I am just grateful that we have reached a compromise. That we secured a future in new media. That we are going back to work. I would like to thank the WGA leadership and all the members who made noise and listened to the noise of others. The wolves prevailed.
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