Ron Shusett, Part Three - Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog




Baby Name Voyager graphs baby name frequency by decade.

Social Security Administration: Most popular names by year.

Name Trends: Uniquely popular names by year.

Reverse Dictionary Search: "What's that word that means....?"

Facebook Name Trees Match first names with last names.


Archives

April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

 

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Crafty Screenwriting:   Could you talk about the ALIEN franchise? How has that developed?
Ron Shusett:        Not that well. The second was brilliant. I think James Cameron is on the level of Steven Spielberg as a director. He did a smart thing. He didn't try to compete with the first. He concentrated more on action. Brought the little girl in. It was the perfect complement to our film. The exoskeleton and the queen being larger than any of the other aliens. That was a superb evolution.

From there, some very bad things happen. The critics and the box office prove it. 3 and 4 were quite failed, flawed movies. Audiences didn't like'em.

The one later sequel that did work was the first ALIENS VS. PREDATOR. It had a great inspiration based on comic books. It was like "Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man," two unbeatable creatures fighting. It grossed over $200M and was not extremely expensive.

Unfortunately, they didn't refresh the franchise on the second AVP. Just too many repetitive elements from one AVP to the other. I’m just happy that I got a shared story credit on only the first one in 2004.

CS:    Which brings us to PROMETHEUS.
RS:    I read the script for that, and I thought, it's got a lot of great scenes, but the ending is gonna undo it. There are some things you can't follow. Why would they destroy a race they created?
CS:    Why would an advanced race of super-powerful aliens need to destroy humanity by dropping aliens on us? Why not nuke us from orbit? It sort of felt to me like a classic visual director's movie:  one scene that's cool after another, but nothing holding it all together.
RS:    Some directors, when God gave their visual talent, maybe He did something to impede their story talent.

CS:    What themes bind your work together?
RS:    If I had to choose one thing to bind my work together, it would be:  I want to amaze the world. I don't want to make a movie that is something they've seen before in any other movie. I'm a writer and a producer, and those two always fight each other. The showman in me cares less about the story working great than the audience going bananas. Usually the showman wins, but I'm working with partners who excel at character, and they keep me on track.

CS:    How has the environment changed since you came up?
RS:    Those that make the decisions on big budget films seem less interested in original material, more inclined to lean heavier than ever on sequels and remakes.  But still we see from time to time hugely creative original material that does get made successively.  That gives me and others I know the courage to continue and go for highly imaginative ideas.

I heard Dick Zanuck say seven years ago, you can't figure out what a good script is. Intelligence and craftsmanship count, but the only way you really know is gut instinct. Your brain can talk you out of some of your best ideas. And he was in both eras, at Fox under his father, and then at Warners. He did JAWS and THE STING.

Was TOTAL RECALL too complicated? Financiers said it wouldn't work.  They felt the action audience will be annoyed by the convoluted story structure. They'll find it too cerebral. For eight years, everyone said "6 people will come and see it". Arnold wanted to do it, but he couldn't do it until he became number one at the box office. And people thought ALIEN would not get made—it was too bizarre. 

These days it takes a major name to do something original. Joss Whedon's AVENGERS did a billion seven hundred thousand because they let him do it the way he wanted. Cameron, Spielberg, Christopher Nolan—they have the clout to do the outrageously imaginative. No one wanted to do INCEPTION, but "How can we turn down the guy who made a billion on BATMAN?" I was thrilled when the executives said in an interview, "We wouldn't have done it if it wasn't Christopher Nolan." That took a lot of character to admit.

I can't go by logic. I have to trust my own instincts. Do I like it myself? It's that simple.

That's why I'm having difficulty now. The business people are trying to go by logic. To sell a script, you have to do things that the buyers don't think are too crazy. But the things that do the best, if they're done well, are the things that are too crazy. 

1 Comments:

Great interview.

Interesting comparing Cameron and Spielberg.

Also, while "Alien" and "Aliens" feel quite different, the structure of the sequels second half matched that of the original's quite closely.

By Blogger David, at 4:36 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.



This page is powered by Blogger.