Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dark Horizon Interviews Transformers 2 Writers

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman continue their online promotion of the movie in an interview with Dark Horizons as they contrast working on Star Trek with Abrams and Transformers with Bay and their writing carrers. Snippet below, full interview here.

Question: How seriously do you take the good with the bad? I mean, Star Trek received over 90 percent rave reviews, while Transformers, not so much. Do you take it seriously? Do you ignore it? Why do you think this is?Orci: We take it seriously, in as much as a real fact of a media blogosphere dialogue. And as its own phenomenon, that’s a fascinating thing to engage in one way or the other. We tend to separate that from what an audience feels. And we tend to go by the audience. You know, you always want to make sure that you don’t overlook a valid opinion that has something constructive to say, merely because it’s negative.
Kurtzman: Nobody can honestly say that they don’t care about reviews. Like, nobody. But we knew the minute we agreed to do Transformers 2 that these were gonna be the reviews, no matter what we came up with. And that’s just a fact of life that you accept going into it.

Question: Let me ask you this. You’re working with two very, very filmmakers, with Abrams and Bay. And I’m just wondering when you’re working on a Bay film, what the different process is in writing a script, for a director who has very different visual sensibilities to somebody like J.J. Abrams?
Kurtzman: I mean, it’s a very different process. They’re very different directors. They look for very different things.
Orci: But part of that difference comes from the fact that they’re different franchises. They require different things.
Kurtzman: Yeah. That’s right.
Orci: You know, it’s not just that we’re writing for Michael Bay. We’re writing for Transformers. And Michael Bay is perfect for Transformers. And J.J. is perfect for Star Trek, because what Star Trek requires is something else. So, we tend to look at it as, the show is the boss. All of our boss. And we’re servicing that more than anything. You know, in terms of differences in the experience. Obviously, Transformers 2 was unique, in that it went down in the middle of the strike. We were writing the movie three months before it was about to be shot, therefore we were handing Michael pages that night. You know, every night, so they could be prepared. Which was different than Star Trek, where we had six leisurely months to go write two drafts.

Question: Right. And Star Trek is very much a character-based film. I mean, you’re dealing with both iconic characters, but also you’re developing relationships in that particular movie. This one, you’re really creating, I guess, a lot of set pieces for Michael to work with. And I’m just wondering, how frustrating is it for you when you do have such limited time? And does that affect the final product, as screenwriters?
Orci: In terms of “frustrating,” we try to think of it as just an interesting challenge. I mean, putting together a movie of this size, coordinating with Michael and production and the military and Hasbro, is a fascinating thing to do. You know, we try to sort of learn and enjoy, and not be paralyzed by the fear of it. On the other hand, it’s not to say – it’s just a different experience, going off to write a script for six months, you know?

Question: What do you do differently as a writer, when you’re doing something like a Transformers 2, that you don’t have to worry about when you’re doing a Star Trek, or any other initial film?
Orci: Well, one is, we’re making more room for the action. Because we know that Michael is going to want to push that, and get every dollar on the screen. You know, you don’t just go to Egypt for a two-minute sequence. If you’re going to be at the Pyramids of Giza and be one of the first people to be allowed to shoot there, you really want to maximize that. And we know that that’s going to be the case with him. So, of course, there’s a different kind of a pacing.


  1. The novel version of the movie written by Alan Dean Foster is absolutely better than their script. Michael Bay should have used the novel version for the movie, that way all the flaws that we see now in the final product wouldn't have existed. The novel version is practically perfect. It could have been changed a bit but it contains a lot better scenes described there than what Orci,Kurtzman and Kruger managed to write.

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  4. There's a novel version? Wow...

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