Writer Alex Kurtzman on 'The Amazing Spider-Man' Sequel and 'Star Trek 2' at Comic-Con (Exclusive)
Sometimes the fates align to create news stories where they aren’t expected.
Here’s an example: Last week, I booked a phoner with screenwriter Alex Kurtzman on behalf of his directorial debut, People Like Us. As luck would have it, though, Kurtzman jumped on the phone with me the morning after I’d managed to screen Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man. And if you weren’t yet aware, Kurtzman and his writing partner, Roberto Orci, recently had been hired by Sony to revise the screenplay for the studio’s planned Amazing Spider-Man sequel, which already has a 2014 release date.
So yeah, we were going to have to get into that.
Kurtzman actually cracked a joke when I told him I was in New York City for the studio’s Spider-Man press junket. “Well, I guess I’ll be speaking with you again in about two years,” he said with a laugh.
He wasn’t getting off that easy. At the end of our People Like Us discussion (which will be up on the site closer to that film’s release date), I had to pepper Kurtzman with a few Amazing Spider-Man sequel questions, as well as a question or two about the Star Trek sequel that he, Orci and Damon Lindelof just penned for J.J. Abrams. Here’s that portion of our interview in full. It’s pretty informative, especially if you’re as excited for these upcoming projects as we happen to be.
** But it's also relatively spoilery, so steer clear if you don't want to know too much about Spidey 2 or Trek! **
Fandango: I have to ask you Spider-Man questions. Have you seen Webb’s movie yet?
Alex Kurtzman: Oh yeah.
Fandango: They’re completely rebooting the mythology.
Fandango: And it’s setting up Norman Osborne as a potential villain in the franchise. Can you talk about his potential involvement at all?
AK: I can’t really talk about it. What I can say is how amazingly impressed I was with what they did. I was a huge fan of Sam [Raimi’s] movies. My God. When you look back at the superhero movies of the last decade, there’s no question that Spider-Man was right there at the top.
So it’s a really tall order to jump in and sort of come up with a new version. But I think what Marc and Andrew [Garfield] did, what Emma [Stone] and all of the producers did, was to ground the world in a reality that felt so honest and authentic. And I think both Bob and I responded to that instantly.
By the way, it’s immediately apparent in frame one of that movie that that’s what they’re doing. And I think they love that, because it immediately raises all sorts of questions about, “How do you exist as a superhero in the real world?” That felt really exciting to us.
Andrew nailed it 1,000 percent. And so did Emma. Their relationship on screen is so electric. The first time I saw the movie, as a real testament to this movie, you want to watch it just as much – if not more – when Spider-Man isn’t on screen because the two of them are so magnetic.
We’re in the middle of writing the next one. We’re having an absolute ball. But it’s all because of the amazing work everybody did in the first movie.
Fandango:: Man, so when you guys kill off Gwen, it’s really going to hurt.
AK: [Laughs] Now you‘re pitching me story ideas? Wait a minute. Let me write these down.
Fandango: OK, fine. We’ll move on to Star Trek 2. Do you think we’ll see any footage from J.J. Abrams’ sequel at Comic-Con in July?
AK: This year? No, I don’t think so. We literally just wrapped, so I think it would be too hard to do that.
I will tell you that we had an amazing time doing it. It really was a joy. Originally, as you probably know, Trek had a release date of this year, and we collectively as the brain trust – J.J. and Damon and me and Bob and Bryan Burk – decided that in order to protect Trek, we had to delay it by one year. We just didn’t want to rush it. We felt that we had put so much love into the first movie, and we didn’t want a mandate to ruin the work that everyone had done. And I think the fans deserve to feel that their beloved franchise is being protected. So we delayed for a year to really work on the script, to have the time to shoot the movie correctly, and I’m really excited with what J.J. did. I think we all are.
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Sean O'ConnellFandango Bloggers
Sean is a film reviewer for The Washington Post and daily contributor to Fandango.