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Exclusive: Riddick director David Twohy talks Director's Cut and the future of the franchise

01.14.2014by: Eric Walkuski

David Twohy's Director's Cut of RIDDICK hits Blu-ray and DVD today after a moderately successful theatrical release in the fall ($98 million worldwide after a $32 million budget). Certainly, a lot is riding on this home video release in terms of determining where the franchise goes next. Twohy is clearly eager to jump back into the world of Furyans, Necromongers and the Underverse, but first he'll have to wait and see how the discs sell before he can prepare Riddick's next adventure.

In the interview below, Twohy (who also directed A PERFECT GETAWAY and co-wrote THE FUGITIVE and WATERWORLD among many other things) talks about what can be expected in this Director's Cut, his collaboration with Vin Diesel, dealing with budget constraints and what may be in store for Riddick in the future.

So let's start by talking about the Blu-ray. What's on there the fans can get excited about? I'm also curious how involved are in the creation of the disc.

Very. It's probably about eight or nine minutes longer. I didn't just pad out a couple of scenes and call it a director's cut, we went in and probably did about 60 or 70 new visual effects shots. It's kind of hard to call it a director's cut because the theatrical cut was kind of my cut, my only obligation with that was I had to get it under two hours. I felt a little constrained by that, but the studio was insistent.

So free from the obligation of running time, I went back in and added some scenes. There's a great scene between Riddick and Karl Urban in the middle of the movie that really explained Riddick's dilemma in the Necromonger world, so that is now in there in full. You'll also see an assassin take a run at Riddick in that flashback sequence. You'll see that his time on the throne is a troubled one. In addition we return to the Necromonger world at the end and Riddick dispatches the character who really double-crossed him, which is that Krone character, the guy with all the scars. We will also learn in this cut that Vaako [Urban] holds the key to where Furya is.

So really significant stuff then?

Yeah, it's not just a padded out version. For those who want more mythology, it is there.

I was looking at your site and I saw that you hate the cover art for Riddick: The Complete Collection.

Yeah. I don't even know what that is. But the other ones are good. And the theatrical poster was great.

How gratifying was it to see RIDDICK released after all those years trying to get it off the ground?

It felt like unfinished business, and we don't always get to come back to unfinished business. We both wanted to do it, but we didn't know if the audience was going to be there with us. Considering the different kinds of movies we had thrown at them - the first movie was $22 million, small, independent; second movie is a studio movie, $100 million, expand the mythology, Judi Dench; and then the third movie is small again, independent again. I guess not everyone is aware that the third movie is an independent movie, we raised our own money. It's a bit of a roller coaster ride, some people like roller coasters, some don't. But it seems like most people have gone along on that ride with us. Now we just have to figure out if there's one more movie left in the franchise or two.

You put Riddick in many different situations, almost a different genre of film each time; is there a particular subgenre or situation that you'd like to see him in next?

Probably a question of, how much mythology are we getting into it? There's a very lovely film in my mind of him returning home to Furya, it's on paper. I really like that story. Now we're trying to figure out if we have to go through the Underverse first. The director's cut tees that up, but the theatrical cut doesn't really. Are we obligated to go there? Yeah, but it's a question of money, going through the Underverse is a very expensive movie. So how well this RIDDICK does in its two incarnations - theatrical release and home video release - will determine what kind of budget we'll have next time. What kind of budget we have will determine what kind of movie we make.

Were there a lot of things that you wanted to get into RIDDICK that you weren't able to because of the budget?

Vin and I had to make the calculation what we could afford to do. We knew it was going to be an independent movie and put some feelers out into the financing world - what could we get in France, Japan, Germany? - that gave us a sense of what our budget would be, what we could do and couldn't do. That resulted in sort of the leaner survival story of RIDDICK. Similarly, with the fourth movie we'll do the same thing. What does the pot of gold look like, is it a little tiny pot of gold, a medium size pot of gold? We never try to spread ourselves too thin, that's where some movies get problems, when they're reaching beyond their budget. Then you have to go for the cheapest visual effects, bad things happen. The second release of these films is almost as important as the first release. Aftermarket release is what saved our ass on the first movie as well. That's what keeps the drumbeat going for us.

Can you talk about the collaboration with Vin on these films? What kind of input does he have?

He's got a lot. He gets a lot out there; we sit around his kitchen and we go into dreamworld. "What's possible, wouldn't it be cool if..?" And then I go away and write a treatment and a screenplay. Then reality finally sets in and we go, "Okay, this would be the coolest sequence in the world, but it's just not happening with the budget numbers we're talking about." Then you start to lose some stuff. We talk a lot, he's good on the set, and then he leaves me alone in the editing room and says "Do your thing, do your magic." And then he goes and does another FAST & FURIOUS movie. (Laughs)

You in a sense put him on the map as an action hero with PITCH BLACK; how crazy is it to see him as an A-lister with a billion dollar franchise?

It's crazy, kind of unexpected, but kind of cool at the same time. It helps us do what we want to do in this world. There's no jealousy there, it's just me rooting for him.

He's one of the only actors that I can think of that just puts stills of the movies on his Facebook page, independent of the studio, whenever he wants to. I think that's great.

(Laughs) Yeah, that's right. Sometimes he coordinates with the studio on that kind of stuff, and sometimes he just goes rogue on them. The studio has come to embrace his Facebook page.

Finally, what else is in the pipeline in addition to potentially another RIDDICK?

I would like to pop in a thriller. The unfortunate thing is, after I do a science-fiction movie, people just send me science-fiction scripts. Dudes, I can do other things. Look at my writing resume. I would like to do a thriller next, the way I did A PERFECT GETAWAY between Riddicks, just a twisty thriller that cleanses the palate before I step back into the world of a thousand visual effects. I'm also thinking of doing a movie with Voltage, which is an interesting company in town, but I can't quite talk about it yet.

Thank you for your time, David. Good luck with everything!

Okay, thanks. I hope everyone gets a chance to check out the Director's Cut.

You can visit David's official site right HERE. Order RIDDICK on Blu-ray right HERE.

Extra Tidbit: Were you a fan of RIDDICK? Are you planning to pick up the Blu-ray or DVD?

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