EXCLUSIVE: ‘Magdalena’ Screenwriter Weighs In On Story, Cast, Comparisons And More…

Last we heard from the “Magdalena” camp, the upcoming adaptation of the Top Cow property had landed “Midnight Meat Train” director Ryûhei Kitamura to helm the project, with “The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations” writer Holly Brix penning the screenplay.

Chronicling the adventures of a direct descendant of Mary Magdalene who protects the world against evil using a variety of supernatural powers, “Magdalena” already has its stars in “Step Up” actress Jenna Dewan (playing the heroine, Patience) and “Hellboy II” actor Luke Goss (playing Patience’s mentor, Kristof). Last year, we featured a week of video interviews with Dewan (we’ve embedded some of them in this post), and now we thought we’d check in with the new “Magdalena” writer to see where the project’s at these days—and where she’s planning to take it.

MTV: Where is the film at right now? Where are you in the process?

HOLLY BRIX: Right now, we’re working out a deal so that I can start writing. We’re not at the beginning of the process, but we’re just going to script.

MTV: Is there a particular storyline you have in mind for the film? Is there a certain arc you’ve identified for adapting?

BRIX: Obviously, I read all the comics and we talked about different versions of the story, but the one I found most compelling was Patience—her arc in becoming the Magdalena. We decided to focus the movie on her. It’s the transfer of power from her mother’s reign as the Magdalena to hers.

MTV: Jenna Dewan and Luke Goss have already been cast. When did that happen in the process? Have you had to change anything with their casting or work around them in their roles?

BRIX: It was sort of simultaneous. I got the orders to beat out a story around the same time they were casting it. I always knew these were the actors they had in mind, so it was sort of fun to have that in my mind as far as what they looked like, how they sound, etc.

Usually when you’re writing, the casting isn’t done and won’t be done for years, so you have to come up with your own casting in your mind. It was nice to have real actors who have some acting chops that I could work around.

MTV: What about the new director, Ryûhei Kitamura—have you been communicating with him about the story?

BRIX: We’ve been talking a lot. We do most of it via email, but it’s been super-fun to have an idea and just ask him, “What do you think of this?” and then have him right away say, “That’s cool. Why don’t we do this, too?”

MTV: The comparison everyone’s making with the film is that it’s a mix of “The DaVinci Code” and various action movies like “Wanted.” Is that a fair comparison for what you’re planning?

BRIX: I do. It’s definitely a supernatural action movie, so I think ’DaVinci Code’ is a good reference as far as all the Catholicism in it. But in addition to that story, it’s also a really straightforward action movie.

There’s not a lot of secret codes to unlock and that sort of thing.

MTV: Magdalena made more than a few cameos in other Top Cow comics, and various Top Cow characters made cameos in her stories. Any of that happening in the movie?

BRIX: You never know. At this point, we haven’t worked that in, but we’re certainly adding a lot of elements that weren’t in the source material. I know in the Top Cow universe, she appears in the other comics and vice versa, so I think there could be an opportunity for that. But right now, nothing is set in stone.

MTV: Action movies with female leads have had a rough time finding an audience in the past. Are you worried about that with “Magdalena”?

BRIX: The movie’s never really been a female action movie, because of Kristof. It’s more of a two-hander. He’s a huge character in it. He’s definitely her mentor and fights right alongside her and teaches her everything she knows.

They go the whole movie together. He doesn’t drop out somewhere along the way.

We always envisioned it as a two-hander. she’s the one with the superpowers—the supernatural element of the story is her—but he’s definitely right there alongside her the whole film, so it could easily be considered his film as well.

MTV: So is it more of a “buddy cop”-style film?

BRIX: Well, there’s not really a romantic storyline. They’re pursuing the same objective, and I don’t want to say it’s like ’48 Hours,’ but it is sort of like that. They both have arcs, they’re both right in the foreground, and I consider the story both of theirs.

We’re definitely trying to set it apart from some of the other movies where they haven’t had that compelling male lead, too.

MTV: So do you have an ETA for the script and when production might start?

BRIX: We’ll probably have a draft done within six weeks, and then hopefully we’ll get financing pretty quickly and can start setting a date for when we can shoot this. I think everyone’s committed to having a quick turnaround.

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