Pain and Gain Muscles

Michael Bay might be the man getting all the ink when it comes to this week’s true crime film Pain & Gain, but really Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were initially responsible for its birth. It was the screenwriting pair, who wrote the three Chronicles of Narnia adaptations, Captain America: The First Avenger, and the upcoming Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that found the original Miami New Times articles by Pete Collins and shopped them around Hollywood. That was in 2000.

Granted, it was Bay’s attachment that actually got the film made, but Markus and McFeely were essential in the development of the film. Below, we spoke to the pair about that process, what Bay brought to the table, using voice over and what it means to adapt a true story. Read More »


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Pain and Gain tanning

Michael Bay has never attempted a movie as complex as Pain and Gain. He’s made plenty of films that flaunt action, crime and sex, but Pain and Gain isn’t one of them, at all. Below its glossy surface, Pain and Gain is a dark, terrifying true story of one man’s twisted view of the American dream and how he strives to achieve it. That means the film’s main characters — played by Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie — are not good people. They have good traits, maybe even good hearts, but though they’re presented as muscle-bound super men, they’re not good people.

Making an entertaining and thought-provoking movie filled with despicable characters is not an easy task. It’s a tonal nightmare and Bay struggles with that balance from the very beginning of the film. Ultimately, he finds a groove and the film may win you over, but the journey to that point is as bumpy as a muscled arm. Read More »

Captain America The Winter Soldier

You may not know the names Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, but you know their work. They wrote the three Chronicles of Narnia movies, this month’s Michael Bay film Pain & Gain, and also a little film called Captain America: The First Avenger. From there, they went on to not only Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which started production this week, but to do a lot of work on Thor: The Dark World too. So they’re a pretty fantastic authority on Marvel’s Phase 2.

We spoke to the pair on the occasion of the release of Pain & Gain and, of course, inquired about their Marvel movies. We’ll run the enlightening stuff about Michael Bay’s movie closer to release, but Markus and McFeely had some very interesting, non-spoiler, thoughts on their two Marvel movies as well as how they relate to The Avengers 2.

The pair said that the biggest thing they had to do when writing a movie to lead into The Avengers 2 was make sure the character loyalties were in a specific place. They also discussed how writing on Thor: The Dark World was a different experience, how much The Winter Soldier had changed from its initial outline, and how the sequel will put Captain America in a totally new place. Spoiler alert – they really love working with Marvel and want to continue to do so. Read the quotes below. Read More »

Captain America The Winter Soldier header

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set for release one year from now, on April 4, 2014. So that’s exactly how long directors Anthony and Joe Russo will have to complete the film. Principal photography began Monday, and Disney released the first image along with a full press release. The release confirms the returns of Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, and the presence of new additions Robert Redford, Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Georges St. Pierre and others. Read it below and see the first image from the film in high res. Read More »

[UPDATE: According to Variety’s Jeff Snieder, Mark Wahlberg has officially passed on this film. Headline and photo updated. Original article follows.]

Even though Steven Spielberg, Hasbro and a legion of robot fans want Michael Bay to make a fourth Transformers, after three in a row, he’s earned the right to do a film for himself. That movie will be a dark comedy called Pain and Gain, based on the true story of two Miami bodybuilders who get wrapped up in a world of crime. Pumping Iron meets Fargo. It’ll reportedly “only” cost $20 million and Bay is now close to locking down his two leads. Variety reports talks are well underway between Bay and both Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Mark Wahlberg however, with Wahlberg kind of busy, Johnson is closer to locking a deal down. Read more after the jump. Read More »

I don’t actually believe this for a second, but it’s a slow day so far, and any M.O.D.O.K. news is great news. So here you go: Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America 2 co-writer Christopher Markus is thinking of a way to make the Cap sequel very interesting. Namely, he’s talking up the idea of casting Peter Dinklage as wacky Marvel villain M.O.D.O.K., aka the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing. Read More »

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Over the weekend I got the chance to sit down and talk with Captain America: The First Avenger screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus and talk about the process of collaborating with Marvel, adapting Captain America to the big screen, the importance of the period story, the absence of Hitler, having Joss Whedon come in and polish their screenplay, working on Captain America 2 and if plot threads will be continued/concluded in The Avengers or the sequel, working with Michael Bay on Pain & Gain which they call “Michael Bay’s Fargo“, and much more. Hit the jump to read the interview.
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This past awards season, The Hollywood Reporter posted full hour long roundtable interviews with the directors, screenwriters, animators and actors of the award season contenders. It seems like that was so successful that they have done the same thing for their Summer 2011 movie preview.

After the jump you can watch a 58-minute roundtable interview with Jonathan Aibel (Kung Fu Panda 2); Greg Berlanti (Green Lantern); Ehren Kruger (Transformers: Dark of the Moon); Christopher Markus (Captain America: The First Avenger); Ashley Edward Miller (Thor) and Roberto Orci (Cowboys & Aliens). I always love hearing Hollywood screenwriters talk about their craft. I especially like hearing from writers behind Hollywood blockbusters, because that arena is such an interesting mix (or some would say compromise) between art, spectacle and commerce, all at a big budget level.

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Even before movie audiences get see Steve Rogers injected with a super serum and become Captain America, Marvel Studios  already has writers working on his next adventure. Stephen McFeely & Christopher Markus, who wrote the upcoming Captain America: The First Avenger, are currently working on a script to a sequel that will take place after audiences have seen Thor, The First Avenger, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers and Shane Black’s Iron Man 3. However, according to a recent interview, that doesn’t necessarily mean the story will take place in modern times. It could take place during World War II. Read the quotes after the break. Read More »