Screenwriters Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay Talk THE BOYS Movie, Adam McKay’s Vision, the Involvement of Garth Ennis, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 211 days ago

the-boys-matt-manfredi-phil-hay-slice

A feature film adaptation of the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson comic The Boys has been in the works for quite a while, but thus far the project has had trouble getting off the ground.  Adam McKay (Anchorman, The Other Guys) has been attached to direct since the summer of 2010, but studios have thus far been wary of greenlighting a big budget hard-R anti-superhero movie that centers on a group of special agents tasked with policing the world’s superheroes by any means necessary. Steve recently sat down with screenwriters Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay in anticipation of this summer’s supernatural actioner R.I.P.D., and during the course of the conversation the duo also talked extensively about The Boys.  They gave an update on the project’s status, talked about McKay’s vision for the adaptation, how involved Ennis and Robertson were in the crafting of the script, and the possibility of Simon Pegg starring.  Hit the jump to read on. the-boys-comic-cover-01The Boys was dropped as a project by Columbia Pictures early last year, only to be subsequently picked up by Paramountwhere McKay continues to develop the property.  Steve asked Ennis and Robertson about the status of the project and whether they’re just waiting on a greenlight:

MATT MANFREDI: I think there are some machinations going on right now, which is exciting, to finalize something with the movie.  But I think that The Boys is so specific.  It’s another thing that Neal Moritz is producing and something that we all agreed on right away was, you can’t take The Boys and make it something it isn’t.  You can’t take what this book is and just kind of spin off somewhere random with it, because it is so specific.  We were like, if we can write the script the way we believe it should be just as fans of the book, then we would do it.  To their credit, everyone else involved was like, “Yeah, we get it.  It has to be hardcore.” And when Adam came on, it was the same thing.  He knows exactly what he wants to do.  I feel like he’s going to do the movie in a way that completely honors how freaking bananas The Boys is.  Because it is, and in an amazing way.

The sticking point seems to be getting the film made for the budget that the script necessitates:

MANFREDI: It’s been close.  Adam is obviously a great director and people want to do his movies.  It’s really been figuring out exactly what the budget’s gonna be.  All of these different things go into, how much money can you spend and still make it The Boys? PHIL HAY: If this was gonna be $5 million you could make it hard R, you could just do whatever you want.  But if you read book one, there’s a budget for it.  There’s a certain budget that, in order to do it right, it has to be a certain level. Then it becomes, what is the cost and is that feasible for the storyline?

adam-mckay-the-boysThe duo revealed that they wrote their last draft of the script a year and a half ago, and it’s been a fluid development process with heavy involvement from McKay:

MANFREDI: It’s been kind of great, because we did our version.  McKay came in and we did a version with him.  Then, McKay started playing with it, and it’s been really fluid.  It’s been a really good relationship between the three of us in crafting it toward what it should be for the movie.  I think McKay has a really amazing vision.  We’ve seen some of the supplemental materials he came up with, like this sort of rip reel and some visuals…If the movie The Boys gets made, it will be made the right way, because he’s not gonna make it the wrong way.  And that’s good news.  I think we’d all like that.  We’re going to run that movie up the flagpole and try to make it exactly the right way.  If it happens, we’ll all be thrilled.

the-boysAs for how closely the script resembles the comic, the screenwriters received the blessing of comic creators Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson:

MANFREDI: We were pretty faithful to [the comic], we really were. HAY: Down to the level of dialogue in a lot of the key scenes. Some of this dialogue is tremendous so we want to get it out there, get it on the screen, yeah. MANFREDI: There were certain departures.  We took stuff – we moved ahead a little bit, we took stuff out, mined stuff from – it wasn’t just issues 1-4.  It’s funny, right before we started writing our first draft we spoke to Garth Ennis on the phone, we were just talking to him, we had some questions about where it was going, and what he thought about this and that and he was just so gracious and also completely not precious about it.  He was like, “just do what you want. Kill anybody.  I see this as existing parallel to the book.” He was awesome.  He was awesome. HAY: And everybody has different perspectives on that, it’s interesting.  That conversation was interesting and then Darick Robertson, the artist, who we have become friends with now, has been so supportive and has really backed us in an awesome way.

wee-hughie-the-boysWhile they interacted with Ennis and Robertson a bit, the comics creators didn’t have any major input into the script:

MANFREDI: Right now other than giving their blessings to do what we wanted, permission to do what we had to do, that’s really been it.  We haven’t interacted with them on a script level at all. HAY: But I know, for example, Adam is a huge fan too and Darick and he have talked about doing art.  There’s definitely a connection there too.

It’s widely known that the Boyscharacter Wee Hugie was created with actor Simon Pegg in mind, and Manfredi and Hay both hope that he would eventually sign on to star in the film:

HAY: We hope that [Pegg] would [star in the film], it would be a dream, yeah. The short answer is we don’t know, but we would love that. Finally, Hay talked enthusiastically about McKay’s vision for the film, should it ever come to fruition: HAY: Everybody knows how funny and amazing he is, but the way that he approached working on the script for The Boys and his vision for this movie – it would be something completely different that people haven’t seen from him, but it would still have that total sense of balls-the-wall chaos and crazy that makes his comedies so funny, but channeled into this.  Obviously we would like nothing more than for that to happen.

You can watch the portion of Steve’s interview with Manfredi and Hay below, followed by a transcript.  Look for the full interview on Collider soon.

matt-manfredi-phil-haySteve: I talked to Adam McKay a while ago, before Anchorman 2, about The Boys, and you can see in his face how much he wants to do it.  It’s basically on the studio that you guys have a solid script, a solid director, you have producers that want to do it, it’s just a question of getting the greenlight, right?  Or am I wrong about this?

MATT MANFREDI: I think there are some machinations going on right now, which is exciting, to finalize something with the movie.  But I think that The Boys is so specific.  It’s another thing that Neal Moritz is producing and something that we all agreed on right away was, you can’t take The Boys and make it something it isn’t.  You can’t take what this book is and just kind of spin off somewhere random with it, because it is so specific.  We were like, if we can write the script the way we believe it should be just as fans of the book, then we would do it.  To their credit, everyone else involved was like, “Yeah, we get it.  It has to be hardcore.” And when Adam came on, it was the same thing.  He knows exactly what he wants to do.  I feel like he’s going to do the movie in a way that completely honors how freaking bananas The Boys is.  Because it is, and in an amazing way.  

How long has the process been going on for The Boys?

PHIL HAY: It’s been a while.

MANFREDI: It’s been years now, I mean it goes off and on.

HAY: We wrote the last draft of it a year and a half ago. 

MANFREDI: It’s been kind of great, because we did our version.  McKay came in and we did a version with him.  Then, McKay started playing with it, and it’s been really fluid.  It’s been a really good relationship between the three of us in crafting it toward what it should be for the movie.  I think McKay has a really amazing vision.  We’ve seen some of the supplemental materials he came up with, like this sort of rip reel and some visuals.  It’s like- 

HAY: It’s got the right idea.  Yeah. 

the-boys-comicMANFREDI: If the movie The Boys gets made, it will be made the right way, because he’s not gonna make it the wrong way.  And that’s good news.  I think we’d all like that.  We’re going to run that movie up the flagpole and try to make it exactly the right way.  If it happens, we’ll all be thrilled.

Has it ever been super close to going? Or has it always been near the starting line and no one’s given it the keys?

MANFREDI: I think it’s just been- 

HAY: It’s been close.

MANFREDI: It’s been close.  Adam is obviously a great director and people want to do his movies.  It’s really been figuring out exactly what the budget’s gonna be.  All of these different things go into, how much money can you spend and still make it The Boys? 

HAY: If this was gonna be $5 million you could make it hard R, you could just do whatever you want.  But if you read book one, there’s a budget for it.  There’s a certain budget that, in order to do it right, it has to be a certain level. Then it becomes, what is the cost and is that feasible for the storyline?

Speaking of the book, how much does your script take what’s in the book and bring it to the screen?

MANFREDI: We were pretty faithful to it, we really were.

HAY: Down to the level of dialogue in a lot of the key scenes.

MANFREDI: Yeah.

HAY: Some of this dialogue is tremendous so we want to get it out there, get it on the screen, yeah.

MANFREDI: There were certain departures.  We took stuff – we moved ahead a little bit, we took stuff out, mined stuff from – it wasn’t just issues 1-4.  It’s funny, right before we started writing our first draft we spoke to Garth Ennis on the phone, we were just talking to him, we had some questions about where it was going, and what he thought about this and that and he was just so gracious and also completely not precious about it.  He was like, “just do what you want.”

HAY: You have to do what you have to do.

the-boysMANFREDI: “Kill anybody.  I see this as existing parallel to the book.” He was awesome.  He was awesome.

HAY: And everybody has different perspectives on that, it’s interesting.  That conversation was interesting and then Darick Robertson, the artist, who we have become friends with now, has been so supportive and has really backed us in an awesome way.

You sort of answered this, but I said on Twitter that I was going to talk to people involved in The Boys, I wasn’t specific.

MANFREDI: Low level members of The Boys team [laughs].

I tried to be a little bit guarded, but how much involvement do Ennis and Robertson have in the film script?

MANFREDI: Right now other than giving their blessings to do what we wanted, permission to do what we had to do, that’s really been it.  We haven’t interacted with them on a script level at all.

HAY: But I know, for example, Adam is a huge fan too and Darick and he have talked about doing art.  There’s definitely a connection there too.

How committed would Simon Pegg be to do the movie?

HAY: We hope that he would, it would be a dream, yeah.

MANFREDI: At some point I feel like there was an interview out there where he said, “I want to do it.” Or maybe, is it in the introduction?

HAY: No, but it’s – yeah…the short answer is we don’t know, but we would love that.

I’m looking at other tweets and they’re all “Will Simon Pegg be Hughie?” It’s very funny to see how many people are saying that.

MANFREDI: He’s got a strong case having been drawn into it.

HAY: [Laughs] It is literally him.

I was going to say, if you open up that graphic novel on the desk and hold it up I think you have a little…

HAY: No this is to wit how cool the people have been, the creators of The Boys, Darick Robertson, this is one of my most prized possessions now, signed this copy which says “Thanks for getting it”, which is probably the nicest thing he could possibly say.  I consider that my proudest evidence that he feels we got it.

MANFREDI: Mine is like, “Thanks for not getting it, asshole.”

HAY: Thanks for being the partner of the guy who does.

My last question on The Boys, Adam is doing Anchorman 2 right now, do you think there’s the possibility that it could be his next project?

HAY: I mean he would have to answer that himself, but I know for a fact that he continues to really desire to make the movie and to make it right and I think in an ideal world that could happen.  I mean everybody else around it is trying to do everything to make that possible.  And I can’t say enough about Adam.  Everybody knows how funny and amazing he is, but the way that he approached working on the script for The Boys and his vision for this movie – it would be something completely different that people haven’t seen from him, but it would still have that total sense of balls-the-wall chaos and crazy that makes his comedies so funny, but channeled into this.  Obviously we would like nothing more than for that to happen. 




Like Us


Comments:

FB Comments

Click Here