#UnderworldBloodWars, the fifth installment in the Underworld franchise, is coming to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. To celebrate the release, Cory Goodman, screenwriter of Blood Wars, as well as The Last Witch Hunter and Priest, joined Movie Pilot's regular #SonySunday series for a one-hour talk.
As you'd hope from a screenwriter, Goodman has many creative insights to offer. Here's what we learned from him in the interview.
1. What Inspired Him To Make His Films
Goodman is a very particular type of storyteller, crafting often dark stories that center around mythical creatures. Asked about his interests, he explained his love for fantastical creatures came from their uniqueness. His favorites had a larger-than-life element without stepping into the pureness and squeaky-clean nature of superheroes:
"'Priest' was the first script that I sold and that was born from this idea that those superhero movies were sorta starting, but I've never really been a superhero guy [...] If I read any comic books, it was more like Dark Horse and those opened up my mind to [...] these sort of characters that are darker and they're not like 'Hey!' saving the day, but there's something supernatural and fantastic about them. I was like, I would love to bring that sort of thing to film. And I started to, in my brain, come up with different characters."
2. The Troubled Background Of 'Underworld: Blood Wars'
Underworld: Blood Wars wasn't an easy film to make. Goodman gave us an insight into just how many twists and directional changes took place, and how much work went into completing the final product:
"When I got involved there had already been a draft by a great writer, his name is Kyle Ward. [He] finished it and at the time Kate [Beckinsale] wasn't so sure that she wanted to do another one, so they ended up going 'okay, let's start over', this time we are gonna focus in Theo James's character, David [...] So I was sort of hired to construct a story that revolved more around David [...] and the first draft I did didn't have any Selene in it, at the same time they're saying, I'm not sure if we're gonna have Victor in it, or Michael Sheen [...] So I came up with something [...]
"After I finished that draft, Len Weisman had read it and he mentioned to Kate 'looks like they're gonna do this movie with Theo', with the character of David. And I think that kinda gave her a moment to take a look and go 'maybe I'm not necessarily done with this universe, maybe I'll sign back on for it.'"
3. A Writer's Perspective On The Writer's Strike
A writers' strike recently loomed over the industry, as writers fought for healthcare and pension coverage, and pay adjusted to fit TV series with fewer episodes than the old model of 20+ per season. Ultimately, the strike was averted. As a writer himself, he is understandably not a fan of the situation. He explains how the road that almost led to this strike is much different than the leadup to the 2008 strike, as writers are simply asking for extensions of what's already there. For example, they were looking to be justly compensated for their longer hours of work.
Screenwriters work in more difficult environment now, as fewer scripts are sold than in the past, and franchises dominate the market. (Which, as he states, is not a bad thing.) So things needed to change in order to offer a fairer set of opportunities for the minds that play such a big part in creating our entertainment.
4. How To Become A Screenwriter
For any aspiring writers out there, Goodman suggests starting out by reading "Save The Cat: The Last Book On Screenwriting You'll Ever Need". While formulaic, he calls it a good way to know the basics of screenwriting. He also points out a major advantage modern aspiring writers have: the internet. Whatever anyone wants to learn about screenwriting, they can pick it up by reading a script online. So, while screenwriting has become tougher as a job, it's become much easier to actually learn the craft.
This was a fascinating insight into not only the movie industry, but also into the mind of a screenwriter. We often hear about the developments of a project from the outside, so it's nice to hear from the person that actually went through it.
Underworld: Blood Wars is out on Blu-ray, 4K, DVD and Digital HD.