Nobody will besurprised to learn that David Goyer loves comics. Aside from scripting somegreat comic books like JSA and Starman, he'sprobably the most prolific comic-to-film screenwriter, with produced screenplaysfor Nick Fury, The Crow: City of Angels, Bladeand, of course, Blade 2.
In arecent interview with Comics2Film Goyer talked about being a fan, and howthat led him to the Blade franchise. Early books that got thefilmmaker hooked were Incredible Hulk #161 and Marvel Two-In-One #1. "Ilove comics. Growing up I would bike down to the local comic book store and getthe comics that were coming out every week," Goyer told us. "When I was a kid in junior high I would write letters and get letters printed in letters pages ofCaptain America, Swamp Thing, that kind of stuff."
His love ofcomic book stories later came into play when he began screenwriting. "I had read the Tomb of Dracula comics when I was a kid andI was familiar with Blade and really liked Blade when I was young," Goyersaid. "When I heardNew Line was initially interested in doing a Blade movie I called my agentand said, 'You gotta get me in there.'"
New Line wasoriginally looking to do the character as a low-budge blaxploitation film."I went in and pitched atrilogy of big-budget films, $40 million-plus films. Three whole movies,"the filmmaker told us. Then Chief of New Line, Mike DeLuca liked Goyer's ideas."I just had a different take on thedirection they were going in that was much more fully conceived. It sprung outfrom the comics but it wasn't exactly the comics per se."
It was Goyer whosuggested they go after Wesley Snipes for the lead role. Snipes liked the scriptfor the first film and the franchise was off and running. Now the sequel is justweeks away from hitting theaters across the U.S. With the new installment, Goyeris not just the screenwriter, but the executive producer as well.
"I was perhaps more involved with the first one than a screenwriter mightnormally be, but I would say for the second one that role becamemore formalized," Goyer told Comics2Film.
The first taskthat he and producer Peter Frankfurt had to tackle was finding a director."We werebig advocates of Guillermo del Toro. Initially we had to do a little bit of aselling job because he had done these smaller films, but we really felt that hewas the guy," Goyer said.
Goyer wasacquainted with Del Toro socially and first pitched the project to him at aparty. However, the director wasn't immediately interested. "Peter and I really hammeredhim for a couple of months. I think he was a little reticent to do the action.He'd never really done anything with a lot of action."
Goyer'sresponsibility as a producer had him involved in the casting and the budgetingof the movie. He and Frankfurt also had to maintain a supportive presence on thePrague set, for what turned out to be a difficult shoot. With an actors strikelooming, the filming schedule had to be accelerated.
"We shot for almost 100days and we shot six-day weeks. It just went on and on," Goyer said. Otherharsh conditions were also in play. "It's very far away and isolated. It was the biggest movie that had everbeen done there and there were a lot of challenges. We really taxed the limitsof the system there.
"It was very hard for the actors because it wasphysically grueling. People got hurt. The sets were bitterly cold," theproducer told C2F. "Especiallythe sewer sets that were very long and we had real water pumped into them andpeople had to wade around in Prague in the winter in the water. I rememberWesley looked at the set one day and said, 'You want me to what?'
"Guillermo was in there with this giant set of waders.It was very funny." Goyer adds, laughing, "That's whereI said, 'I'm not directing it so I don't have to go in there. I'll juststand here on the berm.'"
Goyer is quickto point out that there were good times too. "Prague itself was fantastic butit was just a long shoot and people went stir-crazy. But, the people there were great and we had a lot of fun."
Fans who likedthe first movie should like the second one, without feeling like they've beenthere before. "I think we hit the sort-of perfect sweet spot between adhering to the firstfilm and diverging from the first film. There are enough bits and pieces in itthat, I think, are what the fans would want and enough things that go into newterritory," Goyer said.
"The biggest difference is the way that Blade relates to the vampires.He's forced to team up with them in this film and he's forced to, in some ways,humanize them. He can't just look at them as targets and, to a certain extent,they have to rely on him," Goyer said. "It's very much the DirtyDozen paradigm in that he'steaming up with a bunch of people that he knows will probably attempt to killhim or vice versa when it's all over."
With a Guillermodel Toro replacing Stephen Norrington at the helm, Goyer tells us that thismovie has a slightly different flavor. "I think Steve, who is a good friend, is a much more internally conflictedperson, as am I. I'm definitely a person with a lot of demons. So, I think thatthat, our point of view, is reflected more so in the first film where Blade isvery tormented," Goyer said.
"Guillermois not nearly as conflicted. So in the second film I think Blade is more atpeace with who he is than he was in the first film."
The sequel evenhas a touch of romance for the grim action hero. "A little bit. It's no NottingHill."
Del Toro alsobrought his horror movie sensibilities into play. "I would say thefirst movie was an action movie with horror elements. This movie might be ahorror movie with action elements. There are still insane action set pieces butthere are more horrific moments," Goyer said. "The second film definitely has more scares and outright horror elements."
Shortly after Bladehit the screens there were a number of reports that Marvel's Morbius, The LivingVampire would show up in the sequel. However, Goyer thinks the lawsuit fromBlade creator Marv Wolfman may have left New Line feeling skittish aboutbringing new characters into the mix. "Whetheror not you agree with Marv, from New Line's perspective they just said 'There'sno way you're putting another Marvel character in there.'"
However, thestoryline that was to include Morbius is somewhat intact in the sequel."The villain is, you'll see, couldhave been Morbius in a way. I changed it, he's not recognizably Morbius but youcan see how Morbius would have connected in there in a certain way."
Last year thetrades announced that New Line had contracted Goyer to pen the thirdinstallment, should the franchise merit it. "I've always had in mindan idea for the third one that takes it into really uncharted territory and I'mcurious to see if New Line will go for it or not.
"What I really want to do for the third one is set it about 20 years in thefuture and the vampires have actually completely taken over the world, so theyare the status quo. Because Blade is actually half-vampire, he ages at a slowerrate, so Wesley can still play himself," Goyer told us. "In all thesedifferent stories the vampires are trying to take over the world. For the thirdfilm I just want to say, 'fuck it' they've won. Now what is the worldlike?"
Of course, Blade3 is not the only thing planned for the character. New Line and Marvelare intent on developing a Blade TV show. Goyer tells us it could go intodevelopment for next season. "It would probably be live-action. I wouldlove to see it done CG and have Wesley voice himself. I think that would be hot,but who knows." Such a show would be targeted at adults.
Of course,sequels and TV spin-offs depend on strong box office for Blade 2.To that end Goyer urges fans, "Go see it. See it twice! Three times! We want Blade3!"