As much attention as the film has received based on its star, its history (it’s a remake of a half-schlocky, fully awesome 1981 popcorn flick), and its badass trailers, “Clash” has come in for a fair amount of criticism based on the decision to convert the movie to 3-D following the blockbuster success of “Avatar.” Late last month, MTV News spoke with “Clash” screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi about the 3-D-ification of their movie, as well as the the challenges of writing epic battles scenes and the possibilities of “Clash” trilogy.
MTV News: We talked to the director Louis Leterrier a few weeks ago when was still scrambling to finish up and doing the 3-D conversation. Are your heads still creatively in the Clash world or have you moved on by this point?
Matt Manfredi: Once they lock picture, there’s very little you can do at that point. “Hold on a second! I have a really good idea!” At that point you just root and become a fan.
Phil Hay: There’s always a piece of us that’s in that world because we communicate with Louis so much, so we’ve been keeping update on what’s going on. We saw a cut recently, which was really good.
MTV News: In the trailers, we’ve seen all these crazy monsters and creatures – the Kraken, Medusa, giant scorpions – I mean, how do write for a Kraken? Where does the script cede to the director’s vision?
Hay: The Kraken was just great to work with. A very giving actor. Delivers his lines with precision and class! No, it terms of what the fight scenes were going to be, how the monsters were going to look, the choreography of it — all that we worked closely with Louis on, getting inside his head and pulling out his very specific vision. Also our job as writers was to create a set of characters that you care about when they’re going up against these monsters. The big set pieces are always about what the characters are going through in them, as opposed to it just being about action. The action becomes meaningful when you care about the people going through it.
MTV News: So you just saw a cut. Is there one set-piece that was particularly badass or one creature that was really cool and that fans should be psyched about?
Manfredi: One thing I think is cool is Louis has pulled off each other action sequence in varied ways. Some are down and dirty and gritty, others are huge and take place in the air and sea. There’s a sequence in the movie that involves both these giant scorpions and Calibos [son of sea goddess Thetis] — it’s just a huge pass of action.
Hay: That sequence is one that takes the best of what you loved from the old movie and adds some new things to do it. It still retains the tone of a big, exciting adventure. We wouldn’t call it an action movie. It’s an adventure movie.
MTV News: Did the cut you see have 3-D?
Manfredi: I don’t think anyone has seen the 3-D yet. It’s still happening.
MTV News: What are your thoughts about applying 3-D to a film after the fact?
Manfredi: I think it’s a really fun idea. It fits the tone of the movie we’re trying to make. It is supposed to be a spectacle. I also feel really confident about all the discussions leading up to it. The studio and Louis and the producers were very adamant that they weren’t going to do it unless they felt very confident that they could pull it off and it was going to look special and add something.
Hay: It makes it more immersive. With “Avatar,” the 3-D is less about things popping out at you and more about composition and pulling you into the world. And I think Louis’ style lends itself naturally to that as well. He shoots with a lot of depth — important foregrounds and important backgrounds. I’m excited to see it in this form.
MTV News: When we talked with Louis, he said he’s got a lot of ideas for a trilogy. He talked about maybe using Daedalus, Icarus or Percivel. Have you had discussions with him about where you’d take the story if you have the chance.
Manfredi: During pre-production and production, we’re throwing ideas at each other. We would all be incredible thrilled if people like the first one enough to warrant a second one. We have a lot of ideas — and Louis kind of has a master plan — about what you could do.
Hay: There are so many small stories to mine that don’t make movies on their own but you can weave them together and create a comprehensive world. We all hope we get to do it. It would be thrilling.