While their previous filmography is rather diverse (Crazy/Beautiful to Clash of the Titans), screenwriters Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay tackled a whole new genre with the upcoming R.I.P.D.—a buddy cop movie. The film is based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name and stars Ryan Reynolds as a newly deceased cop who joins a group of undead officers in the “Rest In Peace Department” to help combat a rising force of nefarious corpses. Reynolds is introduced to the world of the dead by an R.I.P.D. veteran played by Jeff Bridges, and what follows is a buddy cop film of sorts with a supernatural bent as gleaned by the pic’s recent trailer.
With the film hitting theaters July 19th, I recently sat down with Manfredi and Hay for an extended interview. During our wide ranging conversation they talked about how they started writing together, how Crazy/Beautiful happened, R.I.P.D., Ride Along, The Boys, Big Man Japan, their writing process, and so much more. Hit the jump to watch.
Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay:
- :10 Introductions
- :27 How’d they get started working together?
- 1:13 How did Crazy/Beautiful happen?
- 3:25 The different between the development process during Crazy/Beautiful and how it is now, when the marketplace is dominated by tentpoles.
- 5:00 The current status of the screenwriting industry. Talk about prolonged development and the R&D process.
- 6:18 How did they first get involved with R.I.P.D.?
- 7:20 Why they were attracted to R.I.P.D. They wanted to make a buddy cop movie in a supernatural world.
- 9:25 Talk about how the film changed along the way. It got bigger in scope as they went along.
- 11:34 What is it like to be on set and see Jeff Bridges saying their lines? Talk about what the actors bring to the characters
- 12:50 Talk about the differences between the movie and the comic book and how involved the comics creators have been with the script.
- 14:23 Possible franchise talk. How much were they planning for a sequel?
- 15:55 How did they get involved with Ride Along?
- 17:00 Did Kevin Hart stick to the script much or is he all improv?
- 18:39 What’s the status of The Boys? Talk about the difficulty of getting a hard-R, high budget comic book movie made.
- 20:05 How long have they been working on the script? Talk about director Adam McKay’s vision for the film.
- 21:17 Has it ever been super close to getting made? They say the sticking point has always been the budget.
- 22:27 How faithful is their script to the comic book? Talk about their conversations with the comic creators about the screenplay.
- 24:03 How involved were Ennis and Robertson with the script?
- 24:45 Will Simon Pegg be in the movie?
- 25:13 They show a signed copy of The Boys from Robertson
- 26:02 Could The Boys be Adam McKay’s next project? They talk more about McKay’s vision for the project.
- 27:12 Do they keep a bunch of written scripts in a drawer somewhere or do they take them one at a time? They talk about their big influences, like The Blues Brothers.
- 29:00 Talk about a movie they really want to get made called The Invitation and some of their smaller projects.
- 29:42 Future projects. They’re currently adapting Big Man Japan. They say, “we’re doing an adaptation of a Japanese movie for Neil Moritz called Big Man Japan – well, the movie was called Big Man Japan, this will probably by “Big Man United States. It’s a great, crazy movie about a guy who is blown up to size via electricity to fight of monsters…The Kaiju that constantly attack Japan. It’s a mockumentary about this kind of underappreciated guy and you follow him around through Japan. It’s a great, crazy, really fun movie.”
- 31:02 Talk about hoping Pacific Rim does well because it would open the door for Big Man Japan to get made.
- 32:00 Their writing process. They outline and edit together, but they write separately.