Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Interview with Alex Litvak, Part Two

The spec sale of Medieval landed Alex Litvak more than just an opportunity to write Predators. He’s also finishing up rewrites on Grayskull and a reimagined version of The Three Musketeers. So a lot of you guys probably want to hear about Grayskull, but I didn’t watch that much He-Man as a kid and She-Rah annoys me, so the novel was a priority. I love this novel. I am cautiously optimistic about the outcome of this film.

[EDITED TO ADD: Dear He-Man fans, I had two hours to ask Litvak whatever I could before he went off to a meeting, and that two hours flew by. I had a long list of questions I didn't even get to ask. I am a HUGE fan of the Three Musketeers so that was early on the agenda. If you had been the one interviewing him, you would have asked about He-Man, and then I would have been disappointed because I would have wanted to read about The Three Musketeers. Perspective is your friend. Thanks for reading!]

Anyway, Litvak was supposed to take a few weeks to punch up the existing script for Musketeers, but once he took the project home he just couldn’t stop changing things. What began as a quick little project grew into a full rewrite and another screen credit. He wrote a page-one rewrite in 16 days because that’s how long the studio had given him for the original job.
Like his previous work, this version of Dumas’ classic is balls out action. Litvak took the characters and the spirit of the story and ran away with it, playing on the opportunity the story provides for lots of sword fights. “It’s true to the spirit of Dumas,” he said.
In the original novel, a young Musketeer is tasked with saving the queen’s reputation when her husband’s advisor, Cardinal Richelieu, sees an opportunity to remove her influence from the crown. This is based on a true event from French history, and the Disney version crapped all over it. Litvak used this moment as a springboard for a sort of heist story filled with intrigue and swordfights and scuba gear. It's a little like what 2001's The Musketeer tried to but with more of an effort to stay on the source material.
In the film, M’lady De Winter, played by Milla Jovovich, is a strong-willed woman. Like Isabel in Predators and Amelia in Medieval, M’lady has her own independent goals and weaknesses. She is not merely a love interest to follow around the protagonist, a common characteristic of female characters in most action films. Litvak said he tries to write women well, and uses as influence the women he has encountered in his life.
On the other hand, he does see action films as a chance to revel in masculinity. “On one level, it’s conflict personified,” he said. “On another level, a fantasy of guys. The epitome of cool. Testosterone in its purest form.”  After all, women amounted to essentially zero percent of the market share for Predators.
As his most recent work finishes up production, another writer has taken over duties on Medieval. At this point, the story is someone else’s job now, and Litvak no longer has control over what happens next.
“It’s a bit like sending your kid off to college,” he said. “Bye. I just don’t want to see you on Youtube.”


  1. Anonymous1:26 PM

    Hi Emily:I'm an ex-Done Deal Pro member. I'm happy I found your site. Looks like a good balance here. I enjoyed reading this interview you posted. And your blog is very cool and fair and respective. I left Done Deal Pro last week and was thinking about Two Adverbs or Movie bytes but decided to read yours.

  2. Thank you for saying so!

    I am humbled.

  3. Anonymous6:01 PM

    (Disclaimer- This is not a trolling comment I have thought carefully about what I want to say and have not used any profanity. But I have a strong oppinion and I want to share it)

    Wow "She-Ra annoys you"! As a professional writer who is handeling a property that is dear to so many people I can't believe you just said that (Think it by all means, but considering the position you are in I can't believe you made such a cast away comment like that! It's such a shame that as the guy who has been handed the golden ticket (writing the MOTU film)it's shocking that you can show such little regard to POP fans by making that comment and dissing the third biggest character in the entire MOTU universe in such a care free & public way.

    I challange you to watch the Filmation MOTU Episdoe "Origin of the Sorceress". The First 5 episodes of the POP series or the cut version of the episodes "Secret of the Sword", but the individual episodes would be better, (viewable on youtube). The POP episodes "The Crystal Castle","Huntara", The Mines of Moondor", "Dark Smoke and Fire", "The Stone in The Sword", "Something Old Something New" and the "Price of Freedom.

    Watch these episodes with an open mind, forget that Mattel fucked up her toyline in the 80's and made it all pink and focus on the essence of the character. She-Ra is an incredable character and an icon in her own right. Finally she is a massive part of the MOTU story, Adams story. Just because you do not see the relevence in something that does not mean it is not there. Outside of He-Man & Skeletor no0 other character is as known as She-Ra!

    When I was a kid one of the reasions I survived incredable abuse was because i was exposed to She-Ra. She was my and MANY MANY other little children's outright Hero/ heroine. She is an icon of female empowerment and strength around the world, not something you dismiss so easily. Xena was heaviuly based on She-Ra and this has been document if you wish to check up on this fact.

    Before you so easily diss this character I challange you to watch the episodes I have mentioned above and if you still cannot see any worth in this incredable character then you need to pass this gig to someone else IMO

    She is right there at the heart of the brand. As as a writer of the new film you should know this!Please give her a chance, there is an incredable amount of heart in this character that lend's it's self to telling an incredable story.

  4. That's awesome that you had a figure to empower you as a kid. It's a testament to the power of story.

    I saw her differently as a child:

    To each her own.

  5. Anonymous6:06 PM

    I'm sorry there was one sware word in my previous statement, it was not aimed at this writer though. Is there any way you can edited it out? I 'm sorry I got quite passionate while writing my comments this must have slipped through. Appologies again.

  6. Trust me, no regular readers of this blog will care if you cuss.

    And there's no way you cuss more than I do.

  7. SwagBucks is an high paying get-paid-to website.


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