Ain't it Cool chats up uber-producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
On his drive to make 'Transformers':
For me it's like: "what can I emotionally connect to and what do I find intellectually fascinating?" And if I can find both of those things... but sometimes one is enough, but I try to find both things and then you sort of analyze it from a business point of view, particularly with a phenomenally successful and deep fan base the Transformers have, then you say to yourself, "OK, there's a big fan base..."
The upside to that is... a lot a people are passionate about it - the complication of that is that they have strongly held points of views about it and therefore you have to include them and pick their brains and then evolve it a bit forward, so that it's fresh to them and you need to get people who are not Transformers fans.
On finally shepherding a Neil Gaiman project to completion in 'Stardust':
You know what? I love it. And, most importantly, Neil loves it. I would have been heartbroken if Neil had been disappointed, you know?
So, for me, we accomplished the most important thing, which was Neil felt that his vision had been realized and after that we'll turn to ourselves and be a little more selfish for a second. What I love about Neil's work is that sense of whimsy that is both his sharp tongue, yet very sweet at the same time. Usually I find one or the other, not both coexisting so nicely and I think maybe in a way the proudest thing I can say about the movie is that we were able to retain that unbelievable sweetness and that unbelievable sharp-tongued way and let them coexist in a movie and not have it be pushed out because it doesn't make sense that both tones are in the same movie and all those things that you're sort of told along the way in the developing process.
I think Matthew [Vaughn] and Jane [Goldman] did a phenomenal job in encapsulating that into the script and then Matthew, as the director, was able to execute it, but that's a hard thing, in today's Hollywood - to retain such individuality. I'm really proud of the movie. It has such great individuality and such a unique attitude.
On 'G.I. Joe':
G.I. JOE is a really interesting and complicated process, because it has two fan bases I'll say: it has one that exists before the 80's, and the one that move forward from the 80's and they are two different fan bases. I'd say on the internet the most vocal fan base would be the post 80's fan base, but, as a filmmaker, I don't want to abandon the pre-80's fans and we're working very hard to come up with what is similar between the two things I think attitude and values-wise. Particularly values. You know... loyalty, courageousness... That if you had never seen the TV show or read the comics, what would you say? Those ideas do exist in the TV and the comic books. They were definitely drawn on when they were made, so that's the unity of the two ideas.
The characters are fantastic... Snake-Eyes... they present their own challenges because the character doesn't talk and is a difficult character to figure out how to register on screen and it's a fun challenge, but it's a challenge and like every strong fan base, people are very passionate about one thing or another and what I always try to encourage people to think of the process of germination first and it's a process of evolution and actually you get to the ideas that really land and we're somewhere in that germination-evolution transfer right now, so we're pretty early in the process.
There's much more from Lorenzo di Bonaventura in this in-depth interview...