David S. Goyer talks vampires in Blade: Trinity
This idea of Blade versus society is so awesome, why didn’t you make the whole movie about that?
David Goyer: God, I don’t know, because we came up with the story that we came up with. I think I worried where would it end up? It seemed like a really cool thing to do as a first act, but can we keep up that momentum, where does it end? I just wasn’t sure where to end it.
If Blade is all over the news how can he walk around in public in full costume and not get stopped and hassled?
David Goyer: The answer to that is, he would, or he would start to, but this was the movie where he was outed where he would be more in the news, but you’re probably specifically referencing that one shot where the three of them are walking in broad daylight?
No, the chase scene through the city, when he was running after Drake.
David Goyer: Well, I think that it wouldn’t happen if there weren’t any cops around there and stuff like that. But the point is, he would start to be hassled.
It was weird to see two people from Best in Show in it. How did that happen?
David Goyer: I love independent films, Natasha Lyonne is also in it and Eric Bogosian. I think it’s very interesting when you take actors like that and put them in a mainstream action movie, because I think they bring an energy to it that is just not the same old, same old, and when I first suggested Parker Posey to New Line, that was the only time they kind of raised their eyebrows. I loved her, I think she’s a little controversial with the audience, you either love her or you hate her, but I kind of feel like she’s the female version of what Stephen Dorff was doing in the first time. John Michael Higgins I thought was insanely good in the movie, but when I called him he said, “My God, why do you want me in this movie?” And I said, “Because you’ll be great,” and that’s one of my favorite scenes in the film is when he’s giving Blade that psychiatric evaluation. He ended up having such a good time that he really wants to do something else with me, I’m sure we will do something else again.
How did Parker Posey react when you said you wanted her to be this bitch queen vampire?
David Goyer: She came to me first, which is kind of funny. We were in New York and we were casting, and we heard that Parker Posey wanted to come in and she came in. I think it might be on the DVD, we video-taped the meeting, and I said, “You don’t want to do this movie, come on, why would you possibly want to do this movie?” And she said, “I want to be a trailer trash ghetto vampire chick.” And in her Parker-way she said that, and I said, “There’s not a chance in hell that you’re going to do this movie. If we offer you this role next week are you telling me you’re going to do it?” “Yes, I promise.” “Do you swear?” “Yes, I promise.” And it goes on between the two of us for about fifteen minutes, and about four days later I said, “Okay, I’m offering you the role, are you going to do it?” And she said, “Yes.” I still said to New Line, “There’s no way she’ll do it.”
How involved was she in the creation of her look?
David Goyer: Oh very, very, very, very, very. That’s my whole point, when you cast somebody like Parker Posey you kind of have to let them do their thing, if you’re not going to, what’s the point? So she was very involved, and she went on a shopping spree in New York with a shopper and brought a lot of that stuff back
Was she okay with the lenses and the teeth too?
David Goyer: She was great. She had to loop her scenes. The first scene we shot was in the interrogation room where she comes in and sits down on Blade’s lap, and we had to loop all of that because she was lisping so much, but later on we never had to loop her again, she was really good at that. The contacts didn’t bother her, they bothered Wesley because he wore a different kind of contacts, but she got really good with the fangs.
What did you learn from the other two movies about directing a Blade movie and how did you apply that to this film, either writing it or directing it?
David Goyer: I think I was uniquely well prepared to direct it, because I’d been through as the writer two other films, so I knew what works and what didn’t work, and I knew where the other guys had run into problems, whether it be a stunt or a visual effect, hotspot areas. One of the things that Wesley and I talked a lot about was the Nightstalkers and how they should dress and how they should carry themselves, and my whole point was that they represented a different breed of vampire hunters and that they weren’t like Blade, so they shouldn’t dress like Blade. They’re much more cavalier, and that was definitely a heated debate, but I think that one of the reasons why the movie is successful is because the movie’s funny. You needed the fact that you had those two different viewpoints in order to create that humor, which Wesley understood. The scene where Ryan is asking him, “Why don’t you blink?” obviously Wesley’s in on that, it was in the script, so he gets the joke, but my point was let’s just push that as far as possible, because they’re apples and oranges. One of my favorite moments in the movie is when Blade crashes through the skylight to save the day, and Hannibal King is all chained up there, and Blade just leaves him there, because that’s Blade.
Is this the perfect Christmas movie?
David Goyer: It is for me. I think it’s the perfect anti-Christmas movie because it’s the perfect Grinch movie. What I like about it is that there’s nothing else like it right now, or that’s going to be coming out. We’ll be beginning the spate of really saccharin, heartwarming films, and this one comes out and it just shoves your face in the ground and doesn’t let up.
It hasn’t been a franchise that stakes a certain date every year.
David Goyer: No pun intended. Yeah, I know, and that’s why it seems to be immune to any kind of release pattern. The last one came out in March, which is generally considered a dumping ground, not that we were dumping, the reason why we brought it out then was because generally we release them – well, I’ll be honest, the first film they didn’t expect to do as well as it did, and so they released it in August. But what we did with the second and the third film is we said, “Let’s look at a period where nothing like us is coming out,” and so that’s why we released the second film in March, and we looked a this one and saw that there would be nothing like us for about the four weeks proceeding us and for three or four weeks after us, so we’re going to go there.
As a writer do you enjoy creating interpretations of the vampire myth?
David Goyer: Yeah. Part of the attraction of Blade at the beginning was I wanted to do a new kind of vampire story, and I wanted to do the anti-Anne Rice vampire movie, and it’s not that I’m specifically interested in vampires and only vampires, but I like subverting genres and turning paradigms on their heads.
Can you talk about this Nightstalkers spin-off?
David Goyer: There aren’t any specific plans for one per se, but we have a contingency plan, so if it’s successful and the audience wants it, there could be a Blade 4 or there could be a Nightstalkers, there could be a combination of both. We won’t do it unless the fans really want it. I do have an idea for a story, but there’s no script or anything like that. We just wanted to wait and see how people react to it.
Did you take some of the scenes that you wanted to be in the second one and put them in this one?
David Goyer: There are two scenes in this movie, one that was supposed to be in the first one and one that was supposed to be in the second one. The blood farm scene in this movie I’d written for the first film, and we shot a crappy version of it, which frankly was so bad that we didn’t put it in the movie and it’s in the deleted scenes. And then I wrote it again for Blade 2, and it was cut for budgetary reasons. And the car chase in this I originally envisioned for the opening of Blade 2, and that was cut for budgetary reasons. When it came time for me to direct, I said, “Screw it, I’m putting those in the movie.” And then Norrington called me up, he saw the movie the other day, and he said, “God, you got the version of the blood farm that we were supposed to do.” Because it was written somewhat like that.
So that was not only an homage, it was the scene.
David Goyer: Yeah, I changed it a little bit because Abigail hadn’t been in it prior to that. The neat thing about doing the third iteration, and being in the director’s seat this time, is you can put things in that got cut for various reasons.
Did you have any problems with the ratings board?
David Goyer: None, I was shocked. I was sure, you probably can’t print this, but I was sure they wouldn’t let us say Thunderc***.
How much of that was in your script and how much of it was Ryan adlibbing?
David Goyer: You’d be surprised how much was my script. Not that Ryan didn’t add a lot. I would say about 80% of that was in the script, and I was surprised that I could be funny, I’d never really tried to be funny before, but when I was writing Hannibal King he just became funny, and I started liking this back and forth between Hannibal King and Blade. And then when I cast Ryan, what would happen after that is that Ryan and I would then sometimes stay up late on the weekend and drink and embellish what was in the script, and that made it even funnier. I think the comedy was a B, and then with Ryan it became an A. Frankly we were a little inebriated at the time, but we were just, “What can we do? Oh, they’ll never let us do that.”
Did you think up the Pomeranian?
David Goyer: The Pomeranian was in the script. The Pomeranian was a Rotweiler but where the Pomeranian came from was, once I decided to cast Triple H, and I went to Triple H about doing some comedy, I was talking to the dog handlers and I said, “What’s your best dog?” and they said, “Oh you don’t want him.” “Really, what’s your best trained dog?” “Well, it’s a Pomeranian.” Bingo. I love that Pomeranian.
How hard was it to kill Whistler again?
David Goyer: Really hard. I didn’t want to do it because I really loved the character, and also I didn’t want to do it because I love Kris. I love having him in my life and I love having him around, and I didn’t want to get rid of him, but part of this story was about Blade becoming a mentor to these young kids, and you can’t be a mentor if your mentor is still there. It was about Blade becoming a mentor and these kids, especially Abigail, being at the emotionally shutdown place where Blade was in the first film, and you kind of have to get rid of the mentor in order to be able to do that for everyone to go up a notch.
Did you ever visualize doing a scene between Jessica and Kris as father and daughter?
David Goyer: I wrote a scene, and it was a flashback, and it just didn’t ring true. I didn’t film it. Trust me, I agonized over killing Whistler.
Will you be happy to keep doing writing projects that you’re not directing?
David Goyer: No, unless I do another Batman movie. I can’t say never again. I really love Alex Proyas, I’d write something for Alex, and I love Guillermo and Chris Nolan, and Norrington too. I really love those guys, but it’s a lot more fun directing than just writing.
Was directing everything you hoped it would be?
David Goyer: I had the best time of my life directing this movie. Even doing things like working on the soundtrack with The Rza, that was so much fun and you’re sitting around The Rza talking about what if we did this, what if we did that? There was a Velvet Underground song that I liked called “Venus in Furs” and I gave it to The Rza and said, “Why don’t you see if you can do a remix of this?” and just to meddle as a record producer is a lot of fun. And working on the posters and things, it’s a lot of fun.
Did Guillermo give you advice?
David Goyer: I called Guillermo and Norrington a bunch of times. We’re all quite good friends and Norrington actually worked as a conceptual artist for me on the movie for about a month. He’s got a little credit in it, he did lots of sketches. We’re all close, and Guillermo would call Norrington when he was directing, and a bunch of times I would say, “Okay, in this situation what do you think?” A couple of times Guillermo called me on Hellboy. It’s just nice that we’re all friends.
What’s the best prank you pulled on the set?
David Goyer: The best prank I think I pulled isn’t on film in any way which was the crew trapped me in a stairwell and covered me with about 15 cans of shaving cream. And they filmed that, so I had the footage so I could identify all 15 people. I said, “Everyone of you is going down in the course of the next month.” The guy who was the mastermind behind that was our first assistant cameraman, a guy named Al Cohen, and so a week later we were shooting and I was on this level above, and every night I would say thanks and good job, and I said, “Oh, by the way, Al Cohen, I’ve already gotten you back and you don’t know it yet.” He said, “What do you mean?” He had this Sebring that he was renting while he was up there that he loved, and he called it Bring, like this pimp car, and it snowed a bunch that day, and I had the guy that does the snowplow bury the Sebring in about 20 feet of snow. There was just this giant mountain, and then I had the P.A. sledding down it when he came out. It took them days to get that thing out.
I bet you never pulled a prank on Wesley.
David Goyer: I think we did. I’m trying to remember what it was. We pulled a prank on just about everybody. It was easier to pull a prank on Ryan. I would call Ryan “Princess,” and I would direct him and I would take out a bullhorn and say, “Okay, in this scene Princess does that.” We did have a lot of fun. Near the end of the movie, when we knew we had the film in the can, we were going a bit stir crazy and the prop department brought in these spud-guns, these kind of air-guns that you shoot potato bits, and so Ryan was in that cell where he’s chained up, and in between takes he would still be chained up and the A.D. and I would just be firing at Ryan for ten minutes at a time, and he would just sit there and have to take it because he couldn’t get out of the chains.
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