Posted on Friday, February 24th, 2017 by Jacob Hall
Screenwriter Eric Heisserer wrote Arrival, /Film’s favorite movie of 2016. He’s now an Oscar nominee and could very easily take home his industry’s highest honor in a few days. But when I spoke with Heisserer, less than a week before the big ceremony, we didn’t talk about that acclaimed science fiction masterpiece. After all, he’s busy building a superhero movie universe at the moment.
The average moviegoer probably isn’t familiar with Valiant Comics and their vast cast of heroes and villains, but Sony is hoping they’ll want to get acquainted. Films based on Harbinger (about a team of young heroes with incredible abilities) and Bloodshot (about a tormented soldier enhanced with tech that makes him unstoppable) are in the works and Heisserer is writing the screenplays. More than that, Heisserer has gone all in on the Valiant universe: his new Valiant comic series, Secret Weapons, debuts this summer.
So, how do you build a superhero movie universe in a crowded field? And how do you transition from writing movies to writing comic books? All of this (and some awesome new art from Secret Weapons) can be found in the interview below.
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Universal’s last Van Helsing movie didn’t do any favors for the monster hunter’s name, but the stench of that misfire is now long gone. While director Stephen Sommers made Helsing’s world largely ridiculous and low on scares, screenwriters Jon Spaihts (Passengers) and Eric Heisserer (Arrival) are interested in grounding the character. As Heisserer recently put it, he wants to make Van Helsing someone with no extraordinary powers saving the day in a story that’s “as scary as possible.”
Below, read what else the Academy Award nominated screenwriter had to say about the new Van Helsing movie.
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Posted on Thursday, February 16th, 2017 by Angie Han
The ending of Arrival is of a piece with the rest of the movie: a meticulously thought-out, beautifully understated gut-puncher that brings the entire story full circle. But as revealed by its Oscar-nominated screenwriter Eric Heisserer, it almost had a very different finale. It turns out that in a way, we’ve got Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar to thank for the finale we got. Click through to find out how Interstellar changed the Arrival ending. Obviously, spoilers are ahead. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, February 2nd, 2017 by Jacob Hall
The average moviegoer may not be familiar with Valiant Comics and its universe of characters, but the publisher is looking to change that. They may not have the name recognition of Marvel or DC, but Valiant has been on fire (in a good way!) since they relaunched in 2012. While the Big Two have seen their fair share of creative ups and downs, their smaller competitor has been releasing consistently strong superhero comics starring diverse and strange characters I’ve learned to care about. I have no nostalgia for the Valiant comics of the ’90s and was still won over by these odd, often high concept superheroes. So when they talk about wanting to create a cinematic universe for their characters, I get it. I don’t know if any normal people will, but hey, I’m certainly on board.
And they appear to be sharing their assembled talent across mediums, because Oscar-nominated Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer, who penned the upcoming Harbinger and Bloodshot films, is writing a new comic book miniseries for Valiant. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 by Jacob Hall
My good deed for the day is using an image of Peter Cushing instead of Hugh Jackman at the top of a news article concerning the in-the-works Van Helsing reboot. You’re welcome.
Today’s volley of Universal Monsters news comes from screenwriter Jon Spaihts, who is penning the next big screen outing of the infamous monster hunter alongside Eric Heisserer. Like next summer’s The Mummy, which Spaihts also wrote, the new Van Helsing will be set in a shared cinematic universe where the Wolf Man can brush shoulders with Dracula and the Mummy can meet Frankenstein. But until we actually see The Mummy, it’s not clear what these movies will actually feel like and whether or not they’ll be worthy successors to the original classics.
But Spaihts does say this much: don’t expect the new Van Helsing to be much like previous versions.
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There’s an entire generation of moviegoers who only know the character of Van Helsing from the abysmal 2004 movie starring Hugh Jackman, and that should be a recognized as one of our great international shames. Introduced in the pages of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing is one of the horror genre’s greatest heroes, a character who has endured as long as the titular vampire himself. Before he was reimagined as a globetrotting 19th century James Bond, Van Helsing was a scientist and a scholar, a professor whose greatest weapon against the supernatural was his vast knowledge of science and the occult. Although his presence in the public domain has allowed any number of actors to play him (Casper Van Dien, anyone?), Van Helsing has been memorably portrayed by brilliant actors like Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence Olivier, and Peter Cushing, who built a cornerstone of his magnificent career around hurting Christopher Lee’s Dracula.
My fondness for this character made the Hugh Jackman movie hurt even more, but it also gives me hope that the new solo outing for the character being planned as part of Universal’s new cinematic monsters universe could be good. There have been incredible cinematic Van Helsings before and there is always room for more…and screenwriter Eric Heisserer is saying some very interesting things.
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Van Helsing is a bad movie. It’s about as soulless as a popcorn movie gets. Director Stephen Sommers brought some fun to the original Mummy reboot, but he stripped Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Van Helsing of their appeal in his garish film. There’s been talk of a reboot for a few years now, and it was once speculated the film would be directed by Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak) and star the picture’s producer, Tom Cruise. Universal is still developing the film, and they just brought aboard two screenwriters to co-write Van Helsing.
Learn more about the project after the jump.
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We recently heard that Valiant Entertainment scored millions to turn Valiant comic book series like Bloodshot, Harbinger and Archer & Armstrong into film franchises. Now Valiant has announced a five-picture deal with Sony Pictures, which will bring two series, Bloodshot and Harbinger, to theaters starting in 2017.
Eric Heisserer (The Thing, Story of Your Life) is working on scripts for both, and the Bloodshot movie director — sorry, directors — will be David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, who made John Wick. Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
The Black List 2014 has been released. The annual list is compiled with a poll of over 250 development executives and high-level assistants, and contains a ranking of the hot screenplays making the rounds in Hollywoodland, which were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with, 2014 and will not be released in theaters during this calendar year. Basically, The Black List is a list of the hottest projects in Hollywood that you haven’t heard of yet.
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There are thousands of writers out there pounding away at their scripts, most of which are destined to be read by only a few people. While more movies are getting made now than ever, at the same time that reflects only a small percentage of the work put to page by aspiring writers. Anything that can help draw attention to unproduced scripts is a great thing. And while there are some well-known options for your basic drama script, there aren’t so many for genre projects. In the last five years, The Blood List has worked as a resource to highlight un-produced horror and genre scripts. The Blood List 2014 features thirteen new titles, and expands to include TV pilots, novels, and a set of new voices.
Check out a set of this year’s Blood List selections below, several of which you’ll almost certainly be seeing in theaters over the next couple years. Read More »