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.
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–
Kurtzman: Aliens.
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.

11 comments:

  1. "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."

    I hope its just me but that doesn't sound that incouraging does it?

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  2. Yeah i dont like that at all either. All i'm going to be thinking now throughout watching the film is how much better it might have been if they had given the movie the time it needed.

    I may be wrong and it may still be great, and i hope it is, but i do kinda think that they may have been able to do a much better job if they had taken more time. Any of u guys that have been to university or had to write essay's n things will remember what it feels like to hand in an essay and think to yourself, "damn wish i had just given that essay an extra week, it was good, but could have been so much better with an extra bit of time". lol.

    Thats my worry anyway. Still looking forward to it.

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  3. The good thing is they didn't have to finalize Robot dialogue in that script. They posted on TFworld that they were still writing and revising Robot lines after seeing footage. Plus they had an extra writer working on the script which should have helped the short turnaround. And it's always good to have a new perspective on the script that wasn't involved in the first film.

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  4. the read feels like orci and kurtzman does the work they're paid to do on transformers. but when it comes to star trek they're mind is turn to serious writing because orci and kurtzman have said they know more about star trek and love it more than transformers.

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  5. "I may be wrong and it may still be great, and i hope it is, but i do kinda think that they may have been able to do a much better job if they had taken more time. Any of u guys that have been to university or had to write essay's n things will remember what it feels like to hand in an essay and think to yourself, "damn wish i had just given that essay an extra week, it was good, but could have been so much better with an extra bit of time". lol."

    Yeah but on the other hand, some people do their the best work under pressure. Look at George Lucas and Star Wars. The first movie was massively over-budget and he had to essentially lie to the movie execs to convince them he was further along than he was, and filmed until the last possible moment. Conversely, when he gets all the time and budget in the world, look what happens. Yeah. I don't need to say it.

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  6. i agree with the post above me

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  7. "Orci: Add a sight gag here or a joke there."

    ... and some romance here, and a little chubby orange hick robot with big brown teeth and a partridge in a pear tree.

    Jesus Crhist, let's knock off the bull**** and let's get some real Transformer shit going on here! Da Fak!!!!!

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  8. Da Fak!!!!!

    Yo, yo, man, don'cha fak here, cos it's ma place to fak, ya mata faka, yo!

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  9. "Yo, yo, man, don'cha fak here, cos it's ma place to fak, ya mata faka, yo!"

    Wait a minute, let me get my Swahili dictionary out......

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  10. boy get to the buillllding

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