HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Interviews Today's Date:

Getting In Touch With Your Evil Inner Child
An Interview with David Johnson, screenwriter of Orphan

...and he seems so harmless...
Even though I hadn't remembered David Johnson's name from a decade or so past, I remembered that he had written a well-liked screenplay for Arnold Schwarzenegger to star as my favorite pulp character, Doc Savage. So when this item showed up in his biographical information, I knew I had to sit down and talk to the guy that had almost redeemed Doc's cinematic legacy.

Since then, of course, he's dabbled on the side of evil (metaphorically), as this week his first produced screenplay opens in theaters as Orphan. From the trailers, it looked pretty scary, so again, I had to sit down with this guy and pick his brain. We met Wednesday before Preview Night at Comic-Con, and for a man whose mind teems with evil deeds, David Johnson is...nice.

Of course, that's just what he'd want me to think, isn't it?

Derek McCaw: What attracted you to Orphan?

David Johnson: I've always been a fan of the evil child sub-genre. It's a kind of a diabolical subject matter. There was a treatment that had been written by Appian Way, an executive named Alex Mace. They were looking for a writer to adapt it.

They gave me the first three pages; I came up with an ending for it. I just jumped at the chance to get involved with this genre that I've loved so much and for so long.

...they always play piano...is that Au Clair de la Lune?
Derek McCaw: How hard was it to find a unique spin on this, as you call it, the evil child sub-genre?

David Johnson: It was a little difficult. One of the things that is great about the genre is that there is a sort of a formula that you enjoy seeing unfold. But at the same time, I wanted to have it unfold in a different way.

So that was actually the first thing I thought of, which was how could this be different? And once I thought of how it was different, I worked my way backwards to the beginning that they had actually written in the treatment.

Derek McCaw: So you had a lot of freedom in plotting, even though there was a treatment?

David Johnson: Actually, they only gave me the first three pages because they didn't want anyone coming in with a pre-conceived notion. They said, "go crazy. Here's the beginning, do anything you want and come back to us."

And I did. I went a little crazy. (laughs) And I thought, well, either they'll hire me or they'll throw me out of this building. Luckily, they hired me.

Derek McCaw: Before this film, what was your favorite of the sub-genre?

David Johnson: The Bad Seed. Hands down. It's the original and still best. It is to the evil kid what Dracula is to the vampire mythos. It's the movie that set out the formula, and nothing like it had come before it. It was ground-breaking at its time.

No evil kid movie doesn't owe something to that movie.

The Arch-Enemy of Evil
Derek McCaw: You first got attention as a writer with a screenplay for Doc Savage. That's quite a big leap from action-adventure to this. What attracted you to Doc Savage in the first place, and would you jump back in if they asked?

David Johnson: Absolutely. When I first started writing, I was in the action-adventure genre. Doc Savage is a great character and I had a lot of fun writing that script. I'd love to be working in that again.

But what I was doing was I was a writer with no produced credits writing hundred million dollar summer tentpole blockbusters which no one was going to read because no one had any idea who I was.

That one (Doc Savage) actually happened to work out. It shouldn't have. (laughs) I was working for Frank Darabont at the time and he said, oh, this is pretty good, and we wound up getting the option on the rights to that.

I'd written a couple of adventure movies after that, and realized that it wasn't realistic to think that was going to keep happening. I moved to my other love, which was horror, and things that took place on a slightly smaller scale.

Derek McCaw: But now you've done work for Appian, which the Hollywood Reporter announced this week was looking to do Aquaman. So would you try and pitch anything for that?

David Johnson: I will do anything that they will let me do. They were great there. I would love to take a crack at that.

Derek McCaw

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites