Exclusive: Director David Dobkin Talks About His KING ARTHUR Movie and the VACATION Reboot/Sequel

by     Posted 3 years, 60 days ago

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With director David Dobkin’s The Change-Up opening in a few weeks, I was able to get on the phone with him yesterday to talk about the movie.  While I’m embargoed from writing a review…I will say that The Change-Up is extremely funny and the last time I laughed that hard in a theater was Bridesmaids.  Definitely recommended.

Anyway, towards the end of the interview, Dobkin gave me some updates on his King Arthur movie and also what’s up with the Vacation reboot/sequel which he’s producing.  While I knew his King Arthur movie was a priority at Warner Bros., I had no idea they were already casting and they’re planning on filming this January in London.  Much more after the jump.

david-dobkin-01According to Dobkin, his King Arthur movie is going to be PG-13 and it won’t be in 3D (for now).  I also asked how much is his movie based on the legend and how much is he coming up with.  He told me:

“I pulled the legend apart. I only kept a few things. I kept certain characters, I recreated the entire launch of the legend and why it starts the way that it starts, I don’t want to give away too much but it’s always had a flaw. I pulled the flaws out, I reinvented the characters as grounded characters. I took a much more realistic and grounded approach towards everybody, you know why would this character be this way and why would this character be that way? You know Arthur’s superpower is compassion and vision. I will tell you this, the whole thing is wrapped around the birth of democracy as a concept and it’s positing Arthur as the first man to say all men are created equal.”

On producing the Vacation reboot, Dobkin told me:

“Oh my God dude, this script came out so good it’s crazy. It’s not a total reboot by the way, it’s a reboot of the franchise but it’s Rusty’s story. It’s not trying to start again from zero.”

He went on to say they aren’t sure if they’re going to go to Wally World, how the movie is about how you make the same mistakes your parents made, how they’re about to start casting, and he wouldn’t confirm or deny that Chevy Chase will be a part of the cast (I think he will be).  Here’s a choice quote:

“Look one of the things I love about the original movie is comedies overall do not stand up over time, the sense of comedy changes in each generation, but Vacation is still as shocking and as funny as it was when it was made. There’s stuff in that movie that you would think was insane today: “Daddy taught me how to French kiss,” I mean there’s just things that are insane, it’s off its head. So that’s why I went for it, cause I really loved it and I just love the themes of that movie.”

Here’s the part of the interview on both films.  Look for the full conversation the week The Change-Up gets released (August 5th).

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King ArthurCollider: What’s up with your King Arthur movie?

David Dobkin: I had this idea for almost a decade about how to reinvent it and I sat down and wrote that script over the last few years. It went out on the town about a month ago and there was an—you know I’m sure it’s been in the trades and everything—there was a big bidding war for it. Warner Bros. scooped it up and they said “we’ll make it right away,” so we are in the process of casting and crewing up the movie and you know we’re off to the races, we’re looking at a sometime in the first quarter, hopefully January, start to that.

I’m sure you’re ecstatic.

Dobkin: I’m totally ecstatic, it’s gonna be so much fun.

Is it on the level of one of these big tentpole kind of things?

Dobkin: It is, it’s kinda put like somewhere between Sherlock Holmes and, I don’t know what, I don’t know what you would call it. I loved Excalibur as a kid I just never, you know I watch it as an adult [and] it’s hard for it to hold up because of the special effects and all that and it’s never really had an opportunity—you know the great thing about fantasy films now, and what was so thrilling about Lord of the Rings and everyone who loved this genre, I grew up with comic books and Dungeons and Dragons and all this fantasy stuff and digital effects have finally had their moment when you can create those worlds for real. The opportunity’s never been this cool, and so it’s really exciting as an audience member and as a filmmaker to jump in that arena and get to play in there.

Is it PG-13?

Dobkin: It is PG-13.

David DobkinAre you shooting in 3D, are you post-converting, or are there no plans for 3D?

Dobkin: Right now there’s no plan for 3D. You know, the studio may want to discuss that in the future. I respect Chris Nolan for holding to his guns.

(laughs) I do too.

Dobkin: There are times when it’s great, look I really loved Avatar, I really did. He helped me get over the “3D is a gimmick” concept. I think the thing I’m most excited to see is Great Gatsby in 3D, I think Baz Luhrmann’s gonna do something insane.

How much is Arthur based on the legend and how much are you coming up with?

Dobkin: I pulled the legend apart. I only kept a few things. I kept certain characters, I recreated the entire launch of the legend and why it starts the way that it starts, I don’t want to give away too much but it’s always had a flaw. I pulled the flaws out, I reinvented the characters as grounded characters. I took a much more realistic and grounded approach towards everybody, you know why would this character be this way and why would this character be that way? You know Arthur’s superpower is compassion and vision. I will tell you this, the whole thing is wrapped around the birth of democracy as a concept and it’s positing Arthur as the first man to say all men are created equal.

Are you shooting in L.A. or are you going to Europe to shoot it?

Dobkin: I’m shooting in London.

Everyone seems to be shooting in London now.

Dobkin: Well you know with the big digital effects movie’s it’s a big help, because while you’re shooting you can have them working the pipeline and you’re there to see it and do it. I’ve shot there twice, I’ve had a great experience in London both times. And the tax rebate is significant and it works in a way that’s percentage-wise often more advantageous than some of the tax breaks that are happening here stateside.

Vacation movie poster Chevy ChaseAre you also producing the Vacation reboot?

Dobkin: I am. Oh my God dude, this script came out so good it’s crazy. It’s not a total reboot by the way, it’s a reboot of the franchise but it’s Rusty’s story. It’s not trying to start again from zero.

So you’re basically doing it where he’s grown up and he’s basically doing the same thing to his family?

Dobkin: Yeah, but it’s great because it’s all about how you make the mistakes your father made, that your parents made (laughs).  It’s so smart, and it’s insanely funny. The guys that wrote Horrible Bosses, Goldstein and Daly, wrote it. We’re just about to go out for casting for that.

So that things moving forward?

Dobkin: Oh yeah, yeah yeah we’re makin it.

Is it still Wally World?

Dobkin: To be determined. TBD. This is actually one of the things that we were on the phone with New Line discussing the destination. In some ways it works brilliantly, and then for other obvious reasons it may or may not. But it’s really cool, it’s insanely funny. Look one of the things I love about the original movie is comedies overall do not stand up over time, the sense of comedy changes in each generation, but Vacation is still as shocking and as funny as it was when it was made. There’s stuff in that movie that you would think was insane today: “Daddy taught me how to French kiss,” I mean there’s just things that are insane, it’s off it’s head. So that’s why I went for it, cause I really loved it and I just love the themes of that movie. The whole thing about how family is so fucked up and all of our good memories are somehow memories only in the photographs and the real experiences are all on the borderline of being horrendous. There’s just a great universal truth in that thing. And look they destroyed the franchise in the second and third movie, but the first is just an absolutely brilliant piece of filmmaking.

Of course I have to ask, is there a role for Chevy Chase in the movie?

Dobkin: I absolutely have to take the 5th on that (laughs). I cannot answer it.




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