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INT: David Goyer

12.09.2004

On the one hand, David Goyer is a short, unassuming guy who can talk intelligently about Alan Moore and the Justice League of America. On the other hand, he counts members of System of a Down as good friends and has long sleeves of tattoos all up and down his arm. He simultaneously looks like the guy you'd play Dungeons & Dragons with and the guy who'd beat you up for playing D&D. Here's what David had to say about directing BLADE: TRINITY among other things...

Why did you decide to set the movie in modern America?

I just thought it would be... One aspect of the first BLADE that I liked more than the second BLADE was that the second one became so underground and insular, that we barely had any humans in the second BLADE. I thought some of the fun moments in the first BLADE were the times where Blade interacted or kinda spilled over into the real world, so I thought let’s make the whole movie that. I do think that’s where we get a lot of the humor in this film.

Patton Oswalt, who also stars in the movie, said he was pulled in by you to do a punch-up of the script.

What we did was, I’m friends with Patton and a lot of the writers for “The Simpsons,” and things like that and I had them in one day to do a little comedy punch-up. And I wish I would have filmed that session, because you had a bunch of writers for "The Simpsons" acting out the script as Blade, being very fey when he was doing it. It was pretty funny. Anyway,only three jokes came out of that session, shockingly. I expected more. The script was pretty funny already. More jokes came out of Ryan and I getting drunk a bunch of nights and embellishing the script later on during production.

What did Wesley think of you “funnying up” the BLADE franchise?

There was some humor in the first BLADE. And Wesley had script approval, so we couldn’t have moved forward without him signing off on it and everything like that. He was down with the joke and he was clearly playing the straight man in the film, but I think he does a good job of it.

Did the MPAA have issues with any of the jokes?

No, amazingly. I didn’t think we’d get the “C” word past. Although they seem to use it all the time in Europe, particularly in England. But no they had no problem with that. The film wasn’t nearly as gory as the second film. Or as bloody.

How much did you let Ryan improvise?

It’s hard to figure out exactly. It wasn’t so much Ryan improvising as much as Ryan and I embellishing. What we would do was we would write half a dozen jokes for each scene, and we would just try all the various alternates.

Do you have any great outtakes that will end up on the DVD?

Yeah, there is a blooper reel for this film, which we never had for the BLADE films before. I don’t want to oversell it - it’s not the funniest thing you’ve ever seen in your life, but there are a few quite funny outtakes.

I noticed you included "Tomb of Dracula" in the movie.

That’s my shout-out to the origins of Blade and also my own love for comic books. I love the idea of BLADE being a Marvel comic book, and then doing a series of movies, and then Blade holding a “Tomb of Dracula” comic. It’s just such a weird Alan Moore/Grant Morrison moment that I just wanted to put it in.

Was it ever an issue to call Hannibal King something else?

No, I always wanted Hannibal. He was very loosely based on the character in the comics. Originally, I was going to use Frank Drake as well, but then I decided that I wanted to use a woman, and in my very early outlines, it was Rachel Van Helsing, but then I heard about VAN HELSING and I wanted to distance myself from that as much as possible.

Can you talk a bit about casting Parker Posey?

I sort of have a list of actors I want to work with and Parker Posey has always been one of them. I’m a huge fan of the Christopher Guest films, which is why John Michael Higgins shows up in this film as well. I just went after her and she was game for it. The thing about Parker is that she’s a force of nature. We had so much fun filming those two interrogation scenes, we could have filmed them forever. She loved it. She loved it. You can be as nasty as you want to be with her. It was a real treat watching Ryan and Parker go back and forth, because they would lob things at each other and try to trip each other up. They would both just run with it.

Were you at all daunted at following in the footsteps of from Guillermo Del Toro?

No. Guillermo and Norrington both said that I was ready for this. Guillermo had some doubts when we first started BLADE II. I remember he was sort of a protégé of James Cameron and he was calling Cameron when we were embarking upon the first action set piece that Guillermo directed for BLADE II. And I think I placed a call to Guillermo when we were doing our first set piece. I dunno...maybe it’s hubris, but if I’m too plagued with doubt then I shouldn’t be directing.

Has it always been your intention to direct as well as write?

It wasn’t from the outset. Fortunately, I’ve worked with at least four quite good directors, but if you work with enough crappy directors then you want to start to direct out of self-defense. You think, “Hell, I can screw up my script. Why should I let somebody else do it?” There are definitely some real stinkers I’ve worked with and I think after that, you say “Screw it. I’m going to do it.”

Have you always been a science fiction and comic book fan?

Yeah, avid avid avid. I’m a voracious reader. You name it, I love it. Comic books like all the Marvel and DC stuff. Science fiction wise, I’m a giant Gene Wolf fan, although his stuff is sort of two-layered and complex to probably ever see an on-screen adaptation. I like Jack Vance quite a bit too.

Ryan fits so well in the role but it’s such an odd choice.

I love casting against type and doing things you wouldn’t expect, because I think you get more interesting performances that way. Hollywood loves to pigeonhole people and there’s nothing an actor loves more than to do something different. I knew of Ryan obviously from various films and through acquaintances. I knew that he was very bright, very funny and very good with improv. I thought he would be a perfect foil. He is the polar opposite, onscreen and in real life, from Wesley. You couldn’t find two people who are more dissimilar. Really, both on screen and off, they were like oil and water. I just thought that would be great. With Ryan, it was more a question of whether he was committed enough to go through the training regimen. Ryan is one of those sickening guys that sheds pounds and pounds. He can’t put on weight to save his life, so he had to put on over 20 pounds of muscle for the film. It was really a question if we could credibly turn him into an action star. I think in the ‘80s, there were a lot of muscle men who were trying to act, but I’d much rather take an actor and train them and teach them how to fight. I think if we could take Van Wilder and turn him into what we did, that’s definitely the way to go.

Did reading comics and writing for comics help you with the direction of the movie as far as visuals?

Absolutely, because when you write a comic book, it’s like you’re writing a script but you’re also describing the storyboards at the same time. I ended up writing something like 45 issues of “JSA” so that gave me a lot of experience working with artists and graphically learning how to tell a story. How would a high angle work here or a low angle? Things like that. It helped me a lot.

Have you gone back and filled in your comic book collection?

I sold my comic collection en masse to the drummer from System of a Down. I have a lot of the stuff on the archives and things like that. I had 10,000 and they were taking up my entire garage.

Can you talk about the Y: THE LAST MAN movie?

That’s something I’m producing. It’s an adaptation of the Vertigo book. Jeff Vintar that adapted I, Robot is working on it right now. We’ve been pretty heavily involved with Brian K. Vaughan as well. I love it.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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