Producer Wyck Godfrey Talks GOLIATH, ABC’s REVENGE, Nicholas Sparks Adaptation SAFE HAVEN; Reveals Taylor Lautner Passed on GOLIATH

     November 4, 2011

Producer Wyck Godfrey slice

While at the big Los Angeles press junket for Summit Entertainment’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Collider got the opportunity to chat with Wyck Godfrey, producer of all the films in the very popular franchise. While we will post what he had to say about the film closer to its November 18th release, we did want to share what he had to say about what he’s focused on, now that the Twilight films are finished shooting.

With his attention currently focused on the ABC drama Revenge, his first foray into television, his company is also developing two movies that will go into production next year. The first is the Biblical epic Goliath, which will give the backstory of David’s pursuit of Goliath. They hope to have Dwayne Johnson in the Goliath role, but they have to cast the David role, as Taylor Lautner will no longer be a part of the project. The other film is hugely popular author Nicholas Sparks latest book, Safe Haven, which is about two people who feel like they’ve been damaged and hurt in love before, and yet can’t help but take that second chance, all with an added thriller and supernatural element to the story. Currently finishing that script, they hope to cast soon. Check out what he had to say after the jump:

wyck-godfrey-imageQuestion: Now that filming has ended on the Twilight series, do you know what you’re going to be focusing on next?

WYCK GODFREY: Right now, we have a TV show on ABC called Revenge, which we’re having a blast working on. That’s taking up a ton of time, but we’re having a blast doing it. I’ve never done a television series, so my partner Marty [Bowen] and I are spending a lot of time on that. And, we have two movies next year. We have another Nicholas Sparks movie. We did Dear John, and we’re doing Safe Haven with Lasse Hallström again. And then, we’re doing a big Biblical epic film called Goliath, which is a big action retelling of David and Goliath, that Dwayne Johnson is hopefully going to be playing Goliath in. That will be a blast!

Wasn’t Taylor Lautner going to play David in that?

GODFREY: Taylor was going to star in it. I was this close, but ultimately I think he felt like, “Maybe I wanna do something else.” I don’t know exactly why he’s not doing it. But, my imagining is that he thought, “I’m going to stay contemporary, instead of going back to Biblical times.”

Since it’s a story that people are familiar with, what are you going to be doing with the David and Goliath story?

GODFREY: It’s interesting. You say that, but people don’t really think about who Goliath was, at all, where he came from, and why he was driven to do what he did and fight for the Philistines. The other side of it is that everyone thinks of King David, but nobody knows David when he was a lover of wine, women and song. As an 18-year-old, he was a little bit discontented, as many 18-year-olds, about the way the world is. He’s stuck being a shepherd for someone else’s sheep, and doesn’t know of the prophecy yet. There’s all of that stuff that humanizes them. We did a film called Nativity that we really love because we just tried to treat Mary and Joseph as real people. It was about, “What would a 15-year-old girl and an 18-year-old guy be going through, if this happened?” It’s the same thing with David & Goliath. The writers have written it as a relentless pursuit of Goliath. It’s almost like Terminator going after Sarah Connor. Literally, this guy will not stop until he kills him because they want to show that their God is greater than the Jewish God. I can’t remember, in movie history, anybody really doing the David and Goliath story justice.

dwayne-johnson-imageWhat is it about Dwayne Johnson that makes him your Goliath?

GODFREY: For me, honestly, his physicality is unmatched. Our Goliath is going to be 7 ½ feet tall, so it’s nice to find an actor who’s almost there. He’s like 6 foot 5 and ripped. If you saw Fast Five, when you put him beside Vin Diesel, Vin looks like a midget. It’s incredible, how physically strong he is. What Dwayne is excited about is playing a dark character. He’s never really done the villain. Scott Derrickson, who’s directing it, has a whole design that he’s going to do with the scars and tattoos for someone who has battled his whole life, that will hopefully make it seem really terrifying. The hard part is making sure that he can be menacing.

Has the success of Revenge inspired you to take on more television?

GODFREY: We are, definitely. This was our first foray into television. One of the great things about the Twilight series and Dear John is that it’s really given us a platform, as a company, to try to really explore female-driven entertainment. A show like Revenge really came from us wanting to do a show like Dallas and Dynasty, set in the Hamptons, about the haves and the have nots. We pitched it to ABC and they were very supportive, and it just moved so quickly. All of a sudden, it was on the air. The pace and the speed with which television operates is really exhilarating. You get to tell a lot of stories, very quickly. It’s scary because sometimes you want to make sure the bar is high for the storytelling. Hopefully, we’re going to keep working with ABC on many, many more shows.

Nighttime soap operas used to be so popular, but they’d been gone for quite awhile before Revenge came on the air.

GODFREY: Yeah, people went to reality television, I think. The lazy way to do it is just to watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. To challenge people and bring them into fictional characters and stories has been fun, and I think there’s room to explore that.

safe-haven-book-coverAnd, Madeline Stowe is so fantastically devilish on the series.

GODFREY: She’s great. I was working at New Line when we made Blink with her, years and years ago. When we were casting Revenge, it was just that desire to get somebody that people would have that reaction of, “Oh, my god, I love her! Where has she been?” We feel like she’s really been fantastic.

Isn’t this Nicholas Sparks book (Safe Haven) different from his usual work?

GODFREY: It is. There’s a thriller element and a supernatural element. What we really responded to is that it’s a love story, but about people that are damaged and are on their second go-around. It plays a little bit older, but it’s just as powerful to meet two people who feel like they’ve been damaged and hurt in love before, and yet can’t help but take that second chance. And from her past, she’s got some baggage that’s following.

Has that been cast yet?

GODFREY: It hasn’t yet. We’re just finishing up the script. We actually brought back in Jamie Linden, who wrote and directed Ten Year for us, which just got picked up out of Toronto, and also wrote Dear John. So, he’s working with Lasse [Halleström] right now on the script, to tweak it before we take it out to actors.

Are you looking to cast recognizable actors in that, or are you also going to look at unknowns?

GODFREY: I’m sure we’ll find people that are recognizable. But, one of the great things about a lot of the Nicholas Sparks movies is that you get to discover people. Because she’ll be at least in her upper-20’s or early 30’s, it’s going to be somebody that we’ve all seen before.