SDCC Interview: Justin Marks on the ‘Hack/Slash’ Movie [UPDATED]
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Our original link to this interview didn’t play nice with the formatting of the film’s title, so I’ve fixed the link and reposted the article here on ComicMix. -RM]
Writer Justin Marks has come a long way as a Hollywood screenwriter in a relatively short span of time. After working as a producer’s assistant for several years, while writing scripts in his off-hours, Marks has achieved nearly A-list status by writing several high-profile screenplays including Streetfighter and He-Man. He’s also worked on Supermax, co-written with A-List scribe David S. Goyer, and featuring the DC Comics hero Green Arrow who, after being wrongly incarcerated, has to join forces with the very villians he put behind bars in order to escape.
Marks is also writing another big-budget Hollywood film, this one an adaptation of the very popular comic series Hack/Slash, created by writer and artist Tim Seeley and published by Devil’s Due Press. I caught up with Marks at the San Diego Comic-Con to talk a bit about the Hack/Slash film, what we might expect story-wise and the film’s current status.
COMIC MIX: Hey Justin, thanks for talking with me. How did you get involved in the Hack/Slash movie?
JUSTIN MARKS: It was a book that was given to me about a year or year and a half ago. at the time it was already set up as a movie and I thought that was great because I thought it would make an increadible movie. Actuallly, I was kinda jealous.
But then a few months ago I got a call, I was actually in Bangkok working on the Streetfighter movie, and the producers of Hack/Slash asks if I would be interested in working with Todd (Lincoln) the director on the script to sort of push it throuhg and get it ready for production.
So I got on a plane for seventeen hours back to LA to try and get that job.
CMix: It seems you really wanted the job?
JM: Yes. It was something that I really wanted to do mostly because the character of Cassie is someone you fall in love with immedietly and you can’t get her out of your head. She just feels so real. Vlad, too.
Its a great relationship they have in the comic and that’s a tribute to Tim (Seeley) and his creation of these characters.
It was really a no-brainer for me to say "yes" when they asked me if I was interested.
CMix: What kind of shape was the script in when you started working on it?
JM: It was in the same condition that a lot of scripts are in. It had gone through a few drafts and a few writers. The central idea that we’re still using as to what kind of story we’re going to tell. For example, we are going to have to have some origin elements but I wouldn’t call this an origin story. In many ways its something like the first Blade movie where it deals with how he begins but you don’t have 45 minutes of training.
That’s how we do it in this movie. Once you meet her in the movie, which you do in the first scene, she’s already the Cassie Hack we know from the comics but she kinda elevates her game during the course of the film.
CMix: When you’re taking a comic book series with a lot of material, how to you condense it down into one 90-minute story?
JM: Sure, its hard. But in the case of Hack/Slash we decided that the Lunch Lady is a significant character that runs through the majority of the comics series and is kind of the arch villian, the "Vader" figure and we have that to our advantage. So the first story will deal with the Lunch Lady in some capacity.
That’s how we structure it to then open it up with great scenes, great jokes, great set pieces from the comics as well as some of the other drafts of the script that have all been put into this new version in a cohesive manner.
The idea is that this is a slasher film with humor. We think of it as "Slasher 2.0." So, what do you do with the genre now to make it interesting and fresh for now? We want to take the genre and push it to the next level.
Characters are also very important to me and I wanted to make sure that you care about these characters and that this film not just be about the body count.
CMix: So what’s the status of the film at the moment?
JM: I turned in my latest draft the other day and so I hope this becomes a film that will start shooting and get released next year.
CMix: Any thoughts on who should play Cassie?
JM: You know, I don’t really know much about who there looking at. I know there’s been some talk of Megan Fox but as for who else, I can’t say.
I do know that ther studio is very excited about this latest draft of the script and they are now talking casting so maybe we’ll get an announcement soon.