Zak Penn Exclusive Video Interview – THE GRAND

     March 5, 2008

When I post interviews on the site, most of the time they’re done a few days before, possibly even a week. Transcribing the words of a person or editing the video takes time, and often other things take priority. However, every once in awhile you interview someone and you know it’s got to go up immediately. Today is one of those days.

Not even two hours ago I was sitting in a hotel room in Hollywood interviewing Zak Penn about his new movie poker movie “The Grand,” so this interview is as fresh as it can be.

Afew things before getting to it.

The first thing to know is about “The Grand,” the movie that Zak was promoting. The film is an improvisational comedy like “Best in Show” or “This is Spinal Tap.” It’s set in the world of professional poker and it follows six players who reach the final table of the world’s second most famous high stakes tournament, the Grand Championship of Poker. The film is loaded with great actors like Woody Harrelson, David Cross, Dennis Farina, Cheryl Hines, Richard Kind, Chris Parnell, Ray Romano, and Zak even got director Werner Herzog and sitcom vet Gabe Kaplan (“Welcome Back Kotter”) to be in it. When you watch the film, I promise you’ll laugh when you see what part Werner plays.

Anyway, the first part of the interview we talked about “The Grand” and how it came together and all the usual stuff people talk about when promoting a movie. Then we have the second part. That’s where all you comic book fans will probably race to.

While many people reading this know exactly who Zak is, allow me to offer a very fast recap. Zak is very famous in the comic book world as he’s the one who wrote “X2,” “Electra,” “Fantastic Four,” “X-Men: The Last Stand,” and “The Incredible Hulk.” (Apparently Edward Norton did a “polish” on it….) So when you get the opportunity to talk with Zak…of course you’re going to ask about comic book things.

Anyway, during my very long interview with Zak (hence why it’s divided up) we talked about everything. What you’ll notice during the second part is I asked a bunch of questions in almost a bullet style. Watch…I think you’ll like it.

While the entire interview is really worth watching, make sure you watch part 2 around 1 minute45 seconds in. He talks about the “Avengers” movie and says some very interesting things…

So if you’re curious what’s up with Zak and what he’s working on, I promise you’ll love the interview. And remember, “The Grand” opens March 21st! I’ll have clips up later tonight from the movie.

Zak Penn – Part 1

  • Unicorn talk (I was wearing a funny t-shirt)
  • The Grand talk – how did the idea first come to him and was it always going to be an improvised movie
  • He also talks about an improvised movie that he wanted to do at Comic-Con
  • I ask about the cast – how did it come together and Werner Herzog talk
  • I ask if he’s trying to direct any of the Marvel movies he works on

Zak Penn – Part 2

  • Young X-Men talk – movie spinoff
  • True or False – He wrote the dialogue in Men in Black
  • Last Action Hero – can he watch it now or does he cringe
  • X-Men 4 talk – he hasn’t heard anything yet
  • Animated comic-book movies – would he do it. He talks about doing Avengers that way. He actually talks about how they’ve had discussions about Avengers being like a Beowulf? Watch this part. Sounds very cool. (1 minute45 seconds)
  • If he had a choice of working on either Spider-Man or Superman, which would he do
  • Would he consider going to DC for the right price
  • What is he currently writing right now? He says he’s working on a TV show for ABC called Section 8, writing a project for 20th Century Fox which he calls “a big movie” and he’s producing a movie about the Bermuda Triangle.
  • I ask about his writing process
  • I ask when he’s writing a big comic book movie if he’s the one who decides on what characters or how does that work

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