Christopher Nolan did a lot of research into figuring out how to make The Dark Knight, or for that matter, any sequel better than the first film and to make it better in every way he could. For Transformers 2, is this something you guys actively thought about moving into it? Or how much actual–
Roberto Orci: You bet. We resisted it for a long time.
Alex Kurtzman: Especially because the first movie was such a big success and then it was like let's just make another one. For us, I think the credibility that we would've lost — forget with the world, but just with ourselves — to saying yes before we really had a good idea, would've been really disappointing. I think for us, before we locked into what the idea was for the movie, we had to say: "What are the sequels that influenced us as kids and why did they influence us?" The answer was always the same. It was that the movie stood on its own, completely on its own and was a–
Orci: Like Superman II, Empire Strikes Back–
Orci: What are the movies where the sequel was as good as the first one? Those are the things we referenced and thought about and watched again.
What was the timeline in connection with the writers' strike? Were you guys brought on before the writers' strike?
Orci: It was insane. We literally started breaking stories two weeks before the strike. In two weeks, we generated an outline. It was pens down the minute the strike hit. We didn't deal with Michael at all during the strike.
Kurtzman: They prepped the movie off of the outline.
Orci: Yeah, but we had to come up with set pieces and sort of the basic thrusts of the movie and Michael prepped a lot of it. And the second the strike ended, it was like two months — I'm not exaggerating — two months between starting to write and day one of direction. So it was a crazy, crazy race to get it done.
How many changes or how much did Michael Bay add when he did his, as we all reported, his notes about the sequel and story ideas for the sequel during the writers' strike? How much did that play into what eventually became the final script?
Kurtzman: He actually didn't do anything other than, in his own mind, elaborate on action sequences. We had set up the foundation for a lot of those action sequences and he kind of came in and just–
Orci: Add a sight gag here or a joke there.
Kurtzman: But story-wise, it was kind of what it was and it never changed from the first thing we pitched to what we ended up shooting. We didn't have a choice. It was what was there.
Have you chosen to include certain robots because people really wanted to see Soundwave or something like that?
Orci: Yeah, sure, absolutely. We excluded Soundwave from the first movie because we knew that the version we were discussing was going to be too off-putting and we put other things in there based on fan responses. Same with the sequel.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Orci, Kurtzman Talk Writing Transformers 2
Transformers 2 writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci spoke with FirstShowing.net in a two part interview about their two summer projects. Part 1 covered Star Trek and part 2 was about writing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, their other projects and approach to movies in general. Below are choice bits from the interview, the full text is here.