I recently got a chance to talk with writer and director of the Riddick franchise David Twohy. Check out what we discussed concerning the bluray release of Riddick and future installments.
Travis aka LordTJ: DT it's Travis aka LordTJ and the last time we spoke it was in August and Riddick was on its way out, now four months after its release we get a chance to speak once again on the huge success of this film. Before we get started let me say congrats on returning Riddick back to the big screen and making a great movie. So let's proceed:
I got a chance to read the Riddick screenplay, which was 100 pages of solid material. In the draft, I read Vaako initially died trying to save Riddick by Krone. What made you change your mind and keep him alive?
DT: Wow, I’d forgotten about that. You read an early draft. After some discussion with Vin, we thought it best not to kill off such a good character like Vaako and keep him alive for future movies. As it lays now, Vaako alone knows where Furya might be found. As a result of the change, the Krone character took on new prominence for this one movie.
Travis aka LordTJ: Why did you all choose to drop "Chronicles" form the beginning of the new film, unlike the others?
DT: Not sure I understand the question. Is this re the title? If so, the simple one-word title of RIDDICK helped us announce that we were returning as a tighter, meaner, more streamlined movie. It set up the right expectation, we felt.
Travis aka LordTJ: There is also said to be an alternate ending on the unrated cut. Not to give away too many details concerning the original draft of the script, but could we possibly be seeing Riddick going back for Krone or the Furya scene with the kids?
DT: By now you’ve likely had a chance to see the Director’s Cut. And yes, Riddick return to the Necro armada to exact his revenge on Vaako – only to find out the it was Krone who double-crossed him. Also, in the center portion of the movie, the flashbacks to the Necromonger world are greatly enhance – with much more Karl Urban. I love these scenes, and the only reason I didn’t include them in the theatrical cut was for running time – we were really up against it.
Travis aka LordTJ: With the unrated release being 128 minutes in runtime, I understand most of those scenes are with Vaako. My question is what about the scenes with Shira from the script? Did you film those, and if so will you include them or save them for the next film?DT: No, the Shirah scenes were a casualty of budget-cuts and never committed to film. Same is true of the trison scene where Riddick takes down the biggest beast on the planet. That sequence – a mere 2 pages of script -- was going to cost $2 million. Couldn’t do it.
Travis aka LordTJ: Developing this movie indie gave you and Vin free reign. Now that it's hitting Blu-ray, what limitations are there if any to putting together your cut? Did Universal shell out any more dough for you to shoot additional scenes for the unrated release?
DT: Yes, Uni was good enough to give us a budget – a modest budget – to add some new VFX shots and pull the Director’s Cut together. Thanks to Craig Kornblau and Marian Mansi of Universal for this. One of the things we had to deal away, however, was the commentary for the DVD. We threw that money back into the movie.
Travis aka LordTJ: Looking back at the movie after four months, what do you feel are the strong and weak points of the feature? Anything you would have done differently from a director and writer POV?
DT: Tough question. I like the movie a lot. All the spaceships and monsters and world-building aside – I do like the very simple interrogation scene between Boss Johns and Riddick as the storm approaches. You’ll notice that I don’t even use music here – I just let the actors act. It’s a powerful scene.
Travis aka LordTJ:With the film grossing over $90 million, it is certain that a sequel is coming. When we spoke last year, you explained how the Underverse would be the next frontier. With the new script underway, what scale budget are you eyeing? An $80-90 million or $100 million+ like Chronicles?
DT: Hard to say. We’ll do $100 million worldwide after the film opens in Japan and, hopefully, China. That said, as with our other movies in this franchise, a lot of it rides on how well this installment does in its after-market life. And we’ll find out in the next month or two about that.
Travis aka LordTJ: Do you ever feel that one day this series could be rebooted, after you and Vin finish telling its tale? If so, what would you like to see?
DT: I fuckin’ hate that idea.
Travis aka LordTJ: Last question: The Riddick Wiki is the largest database for info, pictures, and videos concerning the Riddick saga. Do you check it at all? What about Vin? Do you know if he takes a peek every once in a while?
DT: Vin and I haven’t specifically discussed it…but I’d shocked if he wasn’t checking it on a weekly basis!
Travis aka LordTJ:Thank you DT for giving us all a new film that fits perfectly within the universe, and I can't wait to see what you and Vin do next for the series.