There must be something about this Justin Marks guy. A couple years ago he was a virtual nobody. Then one day David Goyer’s wife discovered him and the guy was instantly attached to Super Max, an original idea for a Green Arrow movie. And with that Marks somehow became the hot new screenwriter for geek movie adaptations. Fox hired him to pen Voltron: Defender of the Universe and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Warner Bros hired Marks for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. We’ve yet to see a produced feature film from Marks and yet he’s getting handed gigs left and right.
Rogue Pictures has now hired Marks to tackle a big screen adaptation of Hack/Slash, the popular comic book created by Tim Seeley and Stefano Caselli. The series follows a horror victim named Cassie Hack, who strikes back at the homicidal maniacs and serial killers, known as “slashers”. Marks take is said to be heavy on the comedy and horror. Todd Lincoln will direct. There is nothing evident in Lincoln’s experimental short films and standard television commercials (which can be seen at this link) to help me understand why this guy was hired for this (or any) project. He must have had one helluva strong pitch.
Discuss: Who should play Cassie in the big screen adaptation? Megan Fox? Scarlett Johansson? Sophia Bush? Eliza Dushku?
Toyfare Magazine has an interview in their latest issue with screenwriter Justin Marks concerning his adaptation of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Marks, who co-wrote the screenplay with Neil Ellice says that they have created “a take that we all really loved and that we felt would be true to Eternia for the first time.” Marks plans to reboot the franchise in the same way that Batman Begins rebooted The Dark Knight.
“There are no invented new characters plopped into it-and if we and Mattel have our way there will never be. We’re talking about the He-Man mythology. So what we’re talking about doing, in the same way as Batman Begins, we’re going back to the original thing, let’s build it from the ground up again. How can we find our way in? How can we jump into Adam’s life at an interesting point where new audiences will respect him? It’s an Adam origin story, and it’s a Skeletor origin story. We want to see where both of them come from and how they got that way. If we don’t see the humanity and the truth in what Skeletor’s trying to do, then the story’s not compelling.”
Marks successfully wades through questions, in an attempt to reassure fans of the series, months after rumors leaked to the internet caused major noise in fanboy circles. It was previously reported that Marks vision was going to stray far from the traditional He-Man mythology. But Marks says that is not the case at all.
“There’s some stuff going around…we should clear that up. There’s some rumor spreading that he’s a soldier in the Iraqi war. Where did they get that? This is an Eternian movie and it’s a story about an Eternian hero. We’re not going to Earth, here. We’re not going to the modern world. We’re not going to a strip mall in the Valley. [Laughs] By the way, I think there are really great things about the original Masters of the Universe.”
“He-Man is sword-and-sandals meets science fiction. If you avoid it and just try to make it sword and sandals, then it becomes a boring movie. If you just try to make it science fiction, it’s going to be really kitschy and weird, and it’s not going to be true to He-Man. You have to make it both. So we have to come up with specific ideas, grounded, that would spawn a world that was people carrying around swords, and yet, guys like Tri-Klops running around with his spinning visor and this sort of nano-technological way about him. What is the sorcery that can create stuff like that?
“When this movie comes out-and hopefully some day it will, because things look really stacked in its favor after Transformers-people will watch this movie and say, “I can’t believe it took this long for a He-Man movie to get to the screen,” because of how naturally the original material suits itself to a great, Lord of the Rings-scale-and yet high-tech-cool movie.”
Marks also revealed that he pitched the movie to Mattel as a trilogy of movies, a potential franchise.
“We got in the room and we basically spoke through not only one movie, but three movies, all the way down through our dreams for the titles for the second and third movies and which characters appeared when.”
Thanks to IESB for the interview transcript
Growing up a child of the 80′s, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was one of the shows I watched (along with many of the other series which are now pop culture nostalgia items on that VH1 show and in references on Family Guy). So it pains me to learn via our friends at IESB that the big screen adaptation of the cartoon series/action figure line is being handled so poorly.
According to Robert, “the current idea is to make Eternia here on Earth, kind of like a modern day Middle Earth.” He also painfully teases, “if you guys think that this Eternia on Earth stuff is disturbing, you should hear what the plan for Skeletor is!”
We haven’t read Justin Marks (Voltron, Street Fighter, Super-Max) screenplay, so we should probably should give him the benifit of the doubt. But from the information leaked thus far, it seems like they don’t understand why people liked the series. It’s the same thing that happens with most video game adaptations, and it was the same thing that ruined the original live-action Masters of the Universe film. Fans want to see all the creators and characters from their childhood in a new revamped Connan The Barbarian meets Star Wars type storyline. Treat the property with respect and the fans will come. If anyone has the Marks penned He-Man script (if it’s even exists in a script form at this point) please e-mail me.
The 20th Century Fox-based production company New Regency is close to a deal with the Mark Gordon Company to bring Voltron: Defender of the Universe the the big screen. The live-action project was in development since 2004. Interest likely skyrocketed after the huge popularity of Michael Bay’s Transformers. The popular 1980′s japanese created animated television series was also part of the 1-18-08/Cloverfield fanboy speculation. Now that another production company will own the rights to the project, may-be the rumors will finally stop.
He-Man scribe Justin Marks penned the screenplay which is being described as “a post-apocalyptic tale set in New York City and Mexico. Five ragtag survivors of an alien attack band together and end up piloting the five lion-shaped robots that combine and form the massive sword-wielding Voltron that helps battle Earth’s invaders.” Marks is also working on the Green Arrow prison break film SuperMax and a new version of Street Fighter.
I actually believe that a Voltron movie could be cool if it wasn’t geared towards young children. People want to see big giant robots fighting aliens and destroying all that lay in their path. This could be that movie. Plus, unlike Transformers, there is a human element which is already interconnected to the story.