An adaptation of Eric Powell’s Dark Horse Comics series The Goon has been in the works for a very, very, very long time now. Its history as a project goes back as far as six years ago, and in fact it’s when many first heard of Deadpool director Tim Miller, who has been attached to co-direct the film alongside Jeff Fowler for the entirety of its development. David Fincher is producing the adaptation, but it’s had trouble gaining traction since it’s essentially an animated movie for PG-13 audiences, which is both costly and risky. Or at least it was.
Following the smashing success of Deadpool, interest in The Goon has started up anew, and Miller is more than happy to use some of his newfound clout to finally get The Goon made. For those unaware, the story follows a pair of colorful characters as they fend off various supernatural creatures, from zombies to ghouls to giant squids.
A Kickstarter was launched back in 2012, but updates on the project since then have been few and far between. Which is why, when Steve recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Miller and Fowler in anticipation of the Deadpool Blu-ray release, the conversation veered into The Goon and what’s going on with the project.
“I know it annoys the Kickstarter fans so much and I’m sorry because everybody gives us their hard-earned money and they’re so generous about it and they go, ‘What the fuck is going on? Why is nothing happening?’ We took that Kickstarter money and spent it all on a full 85-minute animatic of the film. We showed it to [David] Fincher, we’ve been working on it diligently, we got a bunch of notes, and we’ve been working on the notes. It’s just it took all of the Kickstarter money to do the 85-minutes of that and fulfill all the other stuff, so we go back to this additional work, [which] goes into the cracks between actual paying projects.”
However, now that Deadpool is a massive success, Miller and Co. are doing everything they can to use this renewed interest to finally get The Goon off the ground:
“If Deadpool shined any light in the direction of the studio, we wanna use some of that light to shine it on Goon. So we’ve been doing a lot of work lately, we did some voiceover last week.”
In fact, Miller thinks Deadpool’s success should help make The Goon a less risky prospect from a studio standpoint:
“I do think that there is a corollary. Deadpool proves it, in a big way, that there is a market for this stuff out there… Goon is very much an action—it’s got a lot of heart, it’s got a lot of comedy, it’s got a lot of similarities to what I think was successful in Deadpool, and so I think it’s not a stretch to compare those two things and say the world is a little more ready than they used to be for this kind of material. In the past, there’s reasons why The Goon wasn’t made, it’s because people were afraid of edgy animation. Now I think that Deadpool has proved that that audience is out there in a bigger way than some people thought.”
Fowler added that the project is envisioned as PG-13, so it’s not as restricting as something like Deadpool, but in recounting the history of the project, Miller notes that everyone turned them down:
“Before we did our Kickstarter, we did a whole round with the studios, so we went down, Jeff and me, sometimes Fincher, sometimes Josh Donnen, and we went to all the studios and did our pitch for The Goon. We had a really beautiful pitch, we had a test piece, we had our book, we had all this stuff and at that time it was a $50 million project and we couldn’t get anybody to bite. Everybody loved it, but nobody would do it. So we went back and reworked the price a little bit and decided we were gonna take it out again, and right before we did that this demand to do a Kickstarter came up and then we said, ‘Okay fuck it, we’ll wait, we’ll do the Kickstarter, and then we can literally show executives the whole film. Here’s the film, you don’t have to listen to me tell you what it’s going to be, you can see what it’s going to be.’ And that’s what we did.”
“We haven’t taken it back out yet, but I can honestly say, without saying who, there has been a number of calls now—for years it didn’t happen—saying, ‘Hey we hear you have this Goon project. When can we see it? What can we see?’ Jeff and I re-recorded some V.O. for the animatic last week, we’re doing some more week after next with a very prominent movie star. We know we’ve got a really good shot here and we wanna put our best foot forward.”
To that end, Miller says he knows it’s been frustrating for the Kickstarter crowd, but it’s always been about making sure this animatic is the best possible way to present the project to potential suitors:
“We did what we originally thought we were gonna do in the time we thought we were gonna do it, but at the end of it we thought, ‘It’s not good enough,’ and if you’re only gonna get one shot, it’s gotta be better. It’s hard for me to say, ‘Oh let me set an appointment with the head of a studio to make him watch something for two and a half hours that I know can be better.’ So if we can make it better, we’re gonna make it better. We can’t fix everything, but we’re gonna make it really great before we can show people, and if that pisses Kickstarter people off I really feel badly about it, but I think at the end of the day it’s better to do that and get the movie made than to rush it out there.”
And lest you think Miller’s spent all this time developing this project just so he can dabble in zombie mayhem, the filmmaker says it’s always been about the heart of the character:
“The heart is, for me, what drew me to it. When you read the comics, Eric doesn’t tell that story until later. You get into the weirdness of it all and then only later do you find out his backstory and how he got here and everything. And that’s really where it went from something that I enjoyed to something that I love, because then you realize how much heart the character has, and it’s not just a movie where monsters come out and attack people, it’s not like that at all. It’s got this really solid character story at the heart of it, and to me it’s all about character. But the fact that we get to kill a lot of zombies…”
While Miller will presumably be busy in the near future with Deadpool 2, it sounds like he and Fowler remain adamantly enthused about getting The Goon off the ground, so here’s hoping this thing is finally about to become a reality.
Look for more from Steve’s interview with Miller on Collider soon.