The single biggest factor that will determine the quality of Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and indeed the potential for the whole DC cinematic universe moving forward, will be the ‘Dawn’ script by “Argo” screenwriter Chris Terrio.
While Snyder and stars like Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill have been happily doing interviews left and right, Terrio has remained pretty much silent regarding the project. We know he came onboard to re-write an earlier draft by “Man of Steel” scribe David Goyer. We know he then went on to pen the script for “Justice League: Part One” which is slated to begin production in a month.
Today, Terrio has finally opened up about his involvement in the DC film universe with The Wall Street Journal. More specifically he spent much of the interview talking about that first “Justice League,” saying that initially he hadn’t planned to do it but was convinced to return after seeing scenes from ‘Dawn’ being shot. He also says the tone of the “Justice League” film will likely be a lot lighter than ‘Dawn’:
“I initially thought I wasn’t the guy to do Justice League and went off to work on something else. But the first day I went to the set, I saw Jesse [Eisenberg] in a scene with Holly Hunter and I really did feel like I was watching some strange, great performance in an independent film. At that moment, I thought, ‘I’m not done with this yet. I want to go back and keep telling the story.’
Batman v Superman is a bit of an ‘Empire Strikes Back’ or ‘Two Towers’ or any similar middle film in a trilogy. The middle film tends to be the darkest one. I do think from ‘Man of Steel’ through ‘Justice League’, it is one saga really. I expect ‘Justice League’ will be tonally not quite as dark as ‘Batman v Superman’. From that point of view, I felt compelled to go back and try to lift us and myself into a different tonal place because I think when you write a darker film, sometimes you want to redeem it all a bit.”
Though he penned “Justice League: Part One,” Terrio admits he may not write the the second part. He also spoke about the influences on the two scripts he has done:
“I have written Justice League Part One, but I won’t necessarily write ‘Part Two.’ This has been the most rigorous intellectual exercise I’ve had in my writing life. For Batman v Superman, I wanted to really dig into everything from ideas about American power to the structure of revenge tragedies to the huge canon of DC Comics to Amazon mythology.
For Justice League, I could be reading in the same day about red and blueshifts in physics, Diodorus of Sicily and his account of the war between Amazons and Atlanteans, or deep-sea biology and what kind of life plausibly might be in the Mariana Trench.
If you told me the most rigorous dramaturgical and intellectual product of my life would be superhero movies, I would say you were crazy. But I do think fans deserve that. I felt I owed the fan base all of my body and soul for two years because anything less wouldn’t have been appreciating the opportunity I had.”
In a separate interview for The Los Angeles Times, Affleck, Cavill and Snyder have spoken about the reaction and levels of scrutiny they’ve all been under throughout the film’s making. Asked about how they see the stakes of this movie, Affleck says:
“Look, in the broad sense, from a long-term portfolio perspective, Warner Bros. has already won. They own this vast underexploited [intellectual property] that is DC. They’re going to make all these movies regardless. Will every DC movie be great and be successful? No. Would it be good if BvS works for them? Yes, obviously. But if any one of the movies doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean it all goes away. Green Lantern didn’t work, and Green Lantern is going to come back and work for them.’
Zack spent two years of his life on this movie, and we put in months and months. We are truly, deeply invested in this movie. We want the movie to be good. We want to be proud of it. I want to make a movie that my kids think is cool. It’s not just us punching the corporate clock. You know, you get up at 5 and go to work at 6 in the morning and put on the suit. It’s not particularly fun and sexy to roll around in a rubber suit fighting a stunt guy.”
Speaking with EW, Affleck spoke about how Terrio’s involvement helped balance out aspects of Snyder’s filmmaking style:
“Chris is such a smart guy and so thoughtful and so invested in realism that it really was exciting to me. Zack was the guy who is so into the comic books and the fanboy world, and Chris was the guy who did political thrillers and wasn’t a comic book guy. They were sort of perfect compliments to one another. I thought that was a brave partnership on both of their parts, a perfect match, a yin and yang sort of thing. That combination was really exciting to me. So I was really psyched.”
In related news, IGN claims to have found the role that Jena Malone was to play in the film before her scenes got cut – and it’s isn’t Robin or Batgirl per se, but it is a name that will be familiar to fans. Also today comes a new featurette about the new Batmobile which you can see below:
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” will open in cinemas on March 25th. “Justice League: Part One” is targeting a late 2017 release.