Over the past few weeks we’ve posted a number of things from my exclusive interview with writer/producer Simon Kinberg. Perhaps you saw what he said about the Logan’s Run remake, X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool, the Gambit movie, and the Legion and Hellfire TV shows.
Regarding Wolverine, Kinberg reveals “we’re pretty close to a script that everyone’s excited about” and “it’s something that Hugh has been excited about for a while.”
On the subject of Josh Boone’s New Mutants, Kinberg says we’re “working on the first draft now, but the hope is that we’ll shoot it soon.” He went on to say that “Josh has been game with this and gave us this incredibly elaborate presentation about New Mutants. He’s a huge comic book fan and grew up loving and reading specifically New Mutants, so he came with a whole movie presentation where he laid the film out and it was really cool.”
While it hasn’t been confirmed, I’m willing to bet after X-Men: Apocalypse hits theaters, Fox will take a break from X-Men movies and try and make New Mutants as successful and popular as the X-Men. The fact is you can only tell so many stories featuring Professor X and Wolverine before audience fatigue becomes a factor. Launching a successful New Mutants movie will allow Fox to have a new superhero property that can be built properly from the ground up. Because one of the big issues about the X-Men franchise is that it was never designed to go on for so long, or they would have worked out the timeline a bit more. With New Mutants, the studio and filmmakers know their ultimate goal is to make a number of movies so they can cast and create the universe with that in mind. And since New Mutants takes place in the X-Men universe, I’ll bet the first film mixes in something from X-Men to lend the hopeful franchise a helping hand.
Finally, with a franchise as popular as X-Men, I don’t think it will be dormant for long. I just think Fox has a huge decision to make regarding where to take the franchise next since many of the actors will be up for renegotiation. Do they reboot? Perhaps they introduce new X-Men and tell their story? Ultimately it’s a massive and important decision that can be pushed off for a bit if New Mutants is a success.
The best thing Fox has going for it is the abundance of great comic book storylines to draw from. At some point the studio will have to reboot the universe so they can tell even more Magneto and Professor X stories. It’s just a question of when.
Here’s my full, exclusive conversation with Simon Kinberg, which is loaded with updates on all his projects.
Collider: How much trouble did Ryan Reynolds get in for taking home the Deadpool costume?
SIMON KINBERG: [Laughs] No trouble at all. We wanted him to stay in character so we let him have whatever he wants.
Did everyone know he was taking it?
KINBERG: I don’t know. We have more than one so even if he were to do something to it, we’d be covered.
Well let’s jump into X-Men: Apocalypse, although I do have some Deadpool stuff to talk about. I’ve heard some rumblings that the first X-Men: Apocalypse trailer is gonna be on Star Wars. Can you confirm or deny that information?
KINBERG: I can in fact confirm that information. Our first trailer will be on Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Is it one of those extended trailers, is it like a minute, is it like a full honest-to-goodness trailer?
KINBERG: It’s our first thing out there so it is somewhat of a teaser but it’s certainly longer than a minute and it has a ton of cool stuff in it.
Oh so you’ve seen it.
KINBERG: I’ve seen a version of it. They’re still working on it.
I think fans are gonna be very excited. With something like that, Star Wars seems to be the one that everyone wants to be on. Charles Roven told me—the way he made it sound was a new Batman v Superman trailer might be on Star Wars. Do you know, is it one of those things that you’re involved with as the positioning of where a trailer goes, or is that like a negotiation at the studio level?
KINBERG: It’s definitely a negotiation at the studio level. I don’t really know how they do it. I’ve always been curious what the negotiation is because obviously there’s certain movies that every film wants a trailer on, like Star Wars, and I don’t know how Disney makes the decisions as to what it does and doesn’t put on there. I’m assuming that whatever movies are the same studio as the film get first priority, but then everybody else is fighting for the remaining spots.
There was a lot of rumbling online that maybe The Revenant would be the place where the trailer went, but Star Wars is kind of a good movie to be attached to.
KINBERG: Yeah, I would say it’s the best movie to be attached to. For all the obvious reasons, that our core audience is gonna be excited about Star Wars and it is, I assume, gonna be the biggest opening of the year so you get the most eyeballs on it.
I’m definitely curious where you’re at right now with X-Men: Apocalypse. Have you seen a rough cut? Are you super happy with it?
KINBERG: I’m super happy with it. We are in the edit working on it, working on the first cut of the film. But it’s really exciting. I’ve said this before and I feel it even more having seen the movie cut together: I do think it will be the biggest of the X-Men films just in terms of the scale and the scope of the movie, and even more the emotional stakes and scope of the film. It has a level of drama and emotion, for all of the characters—I think going into it I assumed this would be the culmination in many ways of this little trilogy we were telling for young Erik, Charles, Mystique, and Beast but I think what was surprising over the span of photography and now into post as well is just how resonant the young Jean, Scott, Storm stories are too. So I think the movie feels very balanced between—I don’t wanna call them the older generation because they were the younger generation, but the generation of the X-Men from the last few films and the new generation.
I know you’re gonna be very guarded, but can you tease any locations that the film might visit from the comics that fans might know?
KINBERG: Hmm, I am gonna be guarded about that. I try not to get too deep into content, especially this early, but there is a lot from the comics that is in the movie I would say. As much or more than any X-Men film we’ve had.
Recently Evan Peters revealed that one of his plot lines is the search for his father. I was under the impression, and I could be wrong, that one of the things with Marvel was that neither side would reveal Quicksilver’s lineage. Were we all wrong? Was that an issue that you had to address in order to deal with it in the movie?
KINBERG: I wasn’t aware of that, actually, so maybe I should check. But as far as I know it is something that we are allowed to explore in the film.
Were you a little surprised when Evan said that or was that something that he was allowed to talk about?
KINBERG: I think it was something that he was allowed to talk about. It’s something that we allude to very vaguely in Days of Future Past when he says, “My mom knew a guy who could control metal” and Fassbender gives him that look, all of which is meant to indicate that it’s his father. It’s a part of the film and I think it’s a really emotional, really important part of the movie. I kind of try not to reveal the big plot points of the film, but I assume at some point or another with 25 actors and a movie shooting all over the world and test audiences and everything a lot of this stuff will leak out.
It seems to me that Raven, from the synopsis and what I’ve learned, will be taking more of a leadership role this time around. Is that the case?
KINBERG: I think the movie explores her struggle, which is sort of the result of Days of Future Past. If you think about the end of Days of Future Past, in front of the entire world she stops Magneto and saves the President and cabinet, and so this movie certainly explores 10 years later what it is to wear the mantle of that responsibility.
Jumping into Deadpool, I post a lot of set visits, I’ve done a lot of set visits on Collider, and one of the things that surprised me was the level of interest in Deadpool. The set visit article performed like crazy and the interview with Ryan Reynolds and Tim Miller exploded, and I think one of the reasons was the talk of Deadpool’s sexuality, which seemed to go everywhere. Did you notice that, that it was a story that got picked up everywhere?
KINBERG: I did notice that, but I also feel like everything with Deadpool explodes on the internet. I knew that there was a fervent fanbase for Deadpool and I’ve been a huge fan of the comics—it’s one of the reasons I really advocated for making a movie—but I’m still constantly surprised by just how broad that fanbase is. I felt it when we were at Comic-Con this year; in a world of Batman and X-Men and Captain America and these huge characters it felt like Deadpool carried the same kind of weight, which was surprising. So yeah, I noticed that the same way I noticed Ryan dressed up for Halloween taking over the internet for 24 hours.
That was a genius bit. I want to sort of jump into the sexuality thing a little bit. It really broke through. How much of the pansexuality is addressed in the movie? What can you tell people about that?
KINBERG: Well I think your audience has seen from the materials so far the goal is to be as true as possible to the essence of the Deadpool canon. The character, as you know, identifies as pansexual in the comics, and while we don’t explore it in depth in this film, it’s definitely alluded to. Mainly in this movie we cover his love story with Vanessa from the comics, but it’s certainly something that we could go deeper into in future movies and it has a presence in this one.
Is it sort of like he’s checking out other people and making Deadpool-esque comments?
KINBERG: Yeah it’s very Deadpool. I don’t wanna reveal too much else, but it’s in there in some form.
I won’t press you any further, but I have to say it’s something that I think a lot of people are very excited about because this is just another aspect of the Deadpool movie that is so different from the comic book movie genre that’s been made so far.
KINBERG: Well I think that that globally is true in the Deadpool movie. It’s radical. It’s radical in tone, it’s radical in form, it’s radical in the level of violence. It’s just a different movie, not just from other comic book movies but I think from any other action movie that’s out there right now.
People have a way of making any reshoot like it’s a problem, and I heard that it was just a few days, some minor stuff. What can you tell people about the additional photography?
KINBERG: Well what you said is right. It was just a few days, really minor stuff, and it’s really par for the course with almost any movie these days. If you have the ability to do it, you go back and you do quick pickups. For us it was just a little bit of connective tissue here and there, it was nothing that you would ever notice in the movie. Just sort of minor, little bits and pieces.
When can fans look forward to seeing new footage from the movie? Have you seen the new trailer?
KINBERG: I’ve seen a version of the trailer that’s pretty awesome, that’s close to being ready. I think the plan is also in December to put out the new trailer. In terms of new footage and material, Ryan’s creating new footage and material every single day, so I’m assuming he’ll do something new on the internet in the next week or so. I don’t know if you saw that Hugh Jackman piece that he did.
Oh believe me I did.
KINBERG: Yeah that was just him goofing around in his trailer. I’ve worked on a lot of movies, comic book any otherwise, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an actor as perfectly suited to a part as Ryan is to Deadpool. It’s just something that comes so naturally to him. It’s one of the reasons why he creates so many of those viral pieces, because I think he has so much fun being Deadpool that he’s Deadpool on and off set.
There are very few perfectly cast people and he is absolutely perfectly cast. And what I saw on set was awesome.
KINBERG: Yeah he’s fun. The radical-ness of the movie, the fun of the movie, the sort of mischief of the movie—that would be the best word is “mischief”—is something that translates to the way the movie was made too. There was so much freedom to making the movie, I think because the studio understood that it has to be a radical film, a hard-R, and it has to satisfy the core fans, it just was allowed to be in all the best ways a weirder film than pretty much any other movie a studio is gonna release.
I have to ask—I keep hearing from everyone involved with this movie how good it is, everyone is incredibly happy with is—is there talk at the studio like, “Hey maybe we should be working on a script or ideas, or maybe start thinking about a release date for a sequel?” Or is it too early? What can you tease about that?
KINBERG: It’s certainly the hope, and there is conversation about what the idea would be and perhaps which characters we would bring in to a sequel. The writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, were a really integral part of the process. Our focus, like all of us, is on finishing the film, so I think as soon as we finish the film we’ll be talking seriously about the sequel and then we’ll wait a couple months and see how the movie does. Hopefully the movie will do great and we can keep making these movies, because I do think there’s a lot more story to tell. I’m assuming it’ll come out somewhere whether it’s on the internet or the DVD eventually, but on every single take there’s like an embarrassment of riches of alternate takes, whether it’s Ryan or T.J. Miller, pretty much any character in the movie just goofing around and coming up with other lines, ideas, abs. It’d be fun to keep making these movies because it doesn’t feel like we’ll run out of juice.
Does Deadpool take place in the X-Men/Fantastic Four universe of Fox? I know Colossus is in it.
KINBERG: It takes place within the X-Men universe and references that universe. It’s not the same time period as our past tense X-Men movies, like First Class, Days of Future Past, and Apocalypse take place in the past and Deadpool takes place in the present, but it acknowledges everything that’s happened in those other movies and the universe, and like you said Colossus is in it and other characters from the X-Men world.
Definitely want to touch on the Gambit movie and where you guys are at in the development of this because it seems to me like it’s been “director in, director out.” What can you tell people about the current status?
KINBERG: That we have a director in and I don’t know if I’m allowed to say who it is yet because his deal isn’t done, but it’s somebody we’re excited about, and somebody I adore, and hopefully we can make an announcement soon about that. But we’ve been spending a lot of time together—Channing, [Reid Carolin, Tatum’s producing partner], [screenwriter Joshua Zetumer], the director, and myself—just working on the script, and we hope to start shooting next spring.
There were some rumblings that Shane Black and Joe Cornish were in the running to direct. Were those rumblings wrong?
KINBERG: I’ll say no comment.
Gambit has a release date of (and I could be wrong) October 16, 2016. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that release date isn’t happening. Is it safe to assume that?
KINBERG: It would be really challenging at this point to make that release date. I wouldn’t say 100%, but it would be tough.
Right, because if you’re shooting in the spring, that’s impossible.
KINBERG: Unless we were to accelerate, it would be really hard to make that date.
Do you know where you’re going to film the movie yet?
KINBERG: The hope is, as it always was, New Orleans for New Orleans.
Yeah, that would be kind of good.
KINBERG: Yeah, it’s rare that you get to shoot in a good place to shoot as itself. I’ve shot Montreal as the entire world other than Montreal in the last couple years. And I’ve shot New Orleans as New York City, so it would be nice to embrace the actual city since the city is such a huge part of our story and the Gambit lore.
I want to touch on the final Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman movie. When I spoke to Hugh, he told me he wants this thing to be the best, he wants to go out on top, he wants to go out on his terms, and they have a story but they weren’t 100% done on the script, and that the plan was to shoot in the spring. Where are you currently at the on that.
KINBERG: We’re pretty close to a script that everyone’s excited about, and I don’t know when the start date is, but we won’t start until it’s ready to shoot. What Hugh said to you is the attitude we all have—myself, Lauren Shuler Donner, the studio, [director] James Mangold, Hutch Parker—all of us, feel like this is six or seven or eight (depending on how you count) movies in the making, and there are few characters in the history of cinema who have cast as big a shadow as Wolverine, so to tell the final chapter of that story, it has to be the best, and it has to have a mythic quality to it. So we have to get it right, and I think we will, and my experience working with Jim Mangold, I’ve been extraordinarily impressed with him. He’s just a really great storyteller; he’s incredible with character. Really diligent, just a special talent. I have very high hopes for that movie.
The way Hugh made it sound was is that he’s had an idea for a very long time about what this movie should be. Is that idea still the one you’re working through and trying to bring to life?
KINBERG: Yeah, it is.
I want to say more, but I don’t want to make you talk specifically about the story.
KINBERG: I can’t talk about what it is, but I will say that in its essence it’s something that Hugh has been excited about for a while, and something James Mangold is incredibly excited about, and the two of them together is a pretty neat thing to watch having made a movie together, and I thought they made a pretty good one. They just have a shorthand fluency and trust. It’s really nice to watch.
I want to touch on New Mutants. It seems like New Mutants is one of those things that Fox owns that not much has been done with, and with X-Men, you know, possibly a lot changing after Apocalypse, is New Mutants bubbling up as a viable franchise that Fox can go after whether it be on the big screen or the small screen?
KINBERG: Absolutely. The hope is the big screen, and we have Josh Boone, the director of The Fault in Our Stars, working on it.
So he’s currently working on a script.
KINBERG: A script, correct.
Is this one of those things that could possibly be in production next year? Is that the goal at the studio level?
KINBERG: I don’t know what the production plan is. Like with all of these things, we have to get the script right. That’s the most important part of it, and they’re just working on the first draft now, but the hope is that we’ll shoot it soon. And Josh has been game with this and gave us this incredibly elaborate presentation about New Mutants. He’s a huge comic book fan and grew up loving and reading specifically New Mutants, so he came with a whole movie presentation where he laid the film out and it was really cool.
Let’s be honest: When X-Men started a long time ago there was never any thought of “We’re going to make 5, 6, 8 X-Men movies in this universe,” and it was never laid out with the groundwork—the timeline’s been fucked up, let’s just be honest about it. So with New Mutants, are you thinking you might be making 3 or 5 of these, so you absolutely need to make sure you’ve got your shit together so we can tell five movies in the same universe with an arc that’s going to make sense.
KINBERG: Well I think that’s the way we approach each of these films now. It’s the way we approach Deadpool. It’s the way we approach Gambit. It’s the way we’re approaching New Mutants. The idea is that you want to tell one great story, but the first is the most important and building an audience that’s bigger than just the comic book following but satisfies the comic book following most importantly. So that first movie is always the most critical one. But the idea from an architectural standpoint is that you are building it so that there are more stories to tell and natural arcs. Interestingly, on X-Men: First Class we didn’t talk that much about what the future films would be with those characters. We were so focused on making that movie and so immersed in it, and coming out of it I spent a lot of time with Matthew Vaughn, actually, and Bryan Singer, talked about what future films could be were really only from the perspective of character. Like “What is the arc for these four main characters: Erik, Charles, Raven, and Hank? What story can we tell with them?” Once we figured out what the emotional arcs were for them, we discovered or went looking for plots for stories, for villains. But we built it from the inside out, putting character first. It’s the same way we’re approaching it with Gambit and Deadpool: what stories are we going to tell about their lives? And it’s something I think that when you look at the best sequel franchises, Star Wars being chief among them, what Marvel’s done being so extraordinary, they tend to be character-driven stories. The original trilogy for Luke is an amazing trilogy about a boy and his father. And then it grafts on story and action and all the external things we love about the movie, but it’s told from the inside out. But for all these films, the hope is we’re telling more than one story, but we don’t take any of that for granted.
Are you still involved with Logan’s Run?
So what’s the current status of that?
KINBERG: We are talking to directors for that movie.
Is it a priority project at the studio?
KINBERG: Yeah, it definitely is. It’s something that potentially is their Hunger Games kind of franchise that is about a younger audience for a younger audience with a big idea. And Logan’s Run, as you know, is the granddaddy of Maze Runner and Hunger Games and so many of these books and movies now. So yeah, they’re seeing it as a potentially really big franchise.
How much was the script written with the knowledge of, “We’re gonna try to make two or three or four of these movies and establish a universe” and how much was the movie written as a standalone and now it might be, “Oh wait we need to adjust it so it could be a trilogy”?
KINBERG: I mean it’s a little bit like what I was saying about the X-Men movies. There is some thought about what the future films would be and where you could take Logan in future movies, but the focus is on “Make a great movie.” It was “Let’s make one great movie that people fall in love with but be prepared that if they do, we could make future films and what would they look like and where would you go again with the character in the next film?”
Is there much from the original movie incorporated or is it a wholly new imagining?
KINBERG: There’s a lot from the original movie. I love the original movie and I think the storytelling in the original movie is pretty wonderful. The set up is great, I think there’s a lot of world creation that’s pretty awesome as well, though ultimately that’ll be the director’s domain. But yeah there’s a lot from the original film in it, and then there’s a lot of—I guess I would call it reinterpretation from the original film rather than just a whole scale recreation.
What can you tell people about the status of Legion and Hellfire, and were those tough to get off the ground as pilots?
KINBERG: Legion and Hellfire are both super active. Hellfire we’re hoping to be shooting at the beginning of next year, the pilot. It’s been extraordinary working with Noah Hawley, who I think is a straight up genius. Actually the idea for Legion, it began in conversations with Lauren Schuler Donner and Bryan Singer and Noah me, but I remember I was actually in Moscow last year about to go into a dinner, I was there for the Days of Future Past premiere, and I was sitting in a car outside a restaurant about to go into dinner. It was really early on in the process, like one of the first conversations, and Noah and I were on a call just the two of us just riffing ideas, and I was sitting outside what I thought was gonna be like a 10 minute call and I ended up sitting out there for three and a half hours, missing the dinner. Everybody had not only had the dinner but went home, and I just got off that call being like, ‘It’s midnight in Moscow but we have to make this show with this guy because he’s so brilliant.’ So that’s really ramping up now, the production’s ramping up to start shooting at the beginning of the year with FX. And the Hellfire script we have an amazing writing team, really two writing teams working together on it, and also that will shoot next year.
I’m very excited to see how both of these things are gonna go.
KINBERG: Well they’re different. I mean the thing that’s cool and that’s the hope in branching out to TV is that we can tell these X-Men stories in a slightly different way and even with a slightly different tone. It’s one of the thing we’re kind of doing in the different movie franchises. I mean Deadpool obviously has a very different, almost antithetical tone to the mainline X-Men movies. The X-Men movies are dramatic and almost operatic, whereas Deadpool is irreverent and hysterical and sort of a dirty R-rated comedy in many ways. And Gambit will have its own different flavor and tone to it, will be more of like a heist movie and a sexy thriller in a way. So the TV shows give us an opportunity to go even further and certainly what I’m seeing on Legion with Noah and FX is an intent to do something completely original in the genre, in some ways to sort of blow up the paradigm of comic book or superhero stories and almost do our Breaking Bad of superhero stories.
I think the strength of FX shows and certain HBO shows is the 8 or 10 episodes, because it’s just stronger storytelling than 22 episodes. Obviously Legion would be 10 episodes or so, but is there any talk with Fox if Hellfire gets going, is there talk of not doing 22, of trying to make it more of a 10 or 13 episode arc?
KINBERG: I don’t know the answer. We’re not at the place where we’re talking about the number of episodes, but it’s certainly an interesting question.
With Legion I’m assuming it’s a 10 or 13 episode kind of thing?
KINBERG: Presumably it would be like their other series.