During the wonderful events at WonderCon, we managed to obtain an interview with Marly Halpern-Graser, the screenwriter for Batman vs. TMNT. Right out the gate, he establishes how much pressure he felt when writing the script for the film as these are two very well-known properties. However, despite the pressure, Graser holds his chin high and shows his pride in the film as he displays his confidence when answering our questions. He establishes that one of the reasons as to why he has faith in the film is due to how good the content is in the source material and if he can “keep the spirit of the source material alive then the movie will work.”
However, as in all film adaptations of our favorite comics or books, regardless of how good the source material is there are some things that need to be changed. Graser proceeds into an explanation as to what sort of things he needed to change and why. Mainly, the plot. But he managed to keep some of the lines, verbatim, in the film to stay true to the source material and give those that are familiar with this storyline a bit of a treat.
When asked about the theme, Graser gives a very well derived answer in stating that the heroic thing to do is to know when to ask for help and that teamwork is good. In addition to that, he mentions that there is a bit of a family theme added as well. Graser begins to list all of the people that help Batman then compares and contrasts how he interacts that with this band of brothers.
Throughout the interview, Graser just gave this vibe as a happy nice guy with a hint of jolliness to him. His responses on what he does and how he does it are well thought out. In addition to this, you can tell that he loves what he does as evident by his knowledge of the source material and with what he needed to do with said material in order for the film to work. If anything, future screenwriters could learn something from this interview.
Host: Machelle Noel here over at Wondercon 2019 and joining me right now is Marly Halpern-Graser. He is the screenwriter over at Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Hey!
Host: Thank You so much for joining us. So what was it like taking on a project like this?
Marly: Uh, it was uh, a lot of pressure. I definitely felt the weight of the two properties weighing down on me. Honestly, the reason it felt manageable and I think the reason that I hope the movie came out well, is that the 6 part comic mini-series that it’s based on, is really, really good.
James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II comic is great. I like the comic, people like, fans like the comic. So I actually more than anything, I saw my job as make, trying to adapt to move the car make us faithful as I could into this movie. We had to make a lot of plot changes for various reasons. And whenever, whenever we decided like… So, for example, early on it was decided that there wouldn’t be interdimensional travel in this movie. That they would just drive from New York to Gotham. And, if you’re familiar with the comic, you know that, that changes the plot a lot. And so, a lot of what I was trying to do was, even though we were changing why people were doing things, and where they were going. I wanted it to have the same structure as the comic. And I wanted to create the opportunity for scenes from the comic to be lifted verbatim and put in the movie. And find spots where that would work. Find scenes that would blend themselves especially with all the animation like Michaelangelo crashing into Alfred Pennyworth with his skateboard. Where you’re like, we have to have that happen. We can’t cut that out just because we cut out the scenes before and after. So, I think the way with I dealt with the pressure was mostly focused on the source material that was really strong. And what I figured is that if we, keep the spirit of the source material alive in this movie; then, the movie will work.
Host: What is the overall theme that you hope that audiences gain from this film?
Marly: I think the overall theme is… is the theme of most superhero cross-overs. Which is that the heroic thing to do is to know when to ask for help. Teamwork is good. Also there’s a little bit of a family theme because part of the thing with Batman is that, you know, I think Batman thinks of himself as a loner. But you know he’s got Batgirl and Robin and three more Robins and Alfred and Batdog. Bathound. So, I think part of the fun of having Batman interact with four brothers, who obviously think of themselves as a unit. As a team. As a family of brothers. Is that it helps show that Batman really is doing the same thing. Like Batman has also surrounded himself with this family that he trusts. He just sort of acts like that’s not what he’s done.
Marly: And the Turtles are a good way to show that contrast because the Turtles are so about family.
Host: Right. Right.
Marly: So I would say that the general team of teamwork that you get in all cross-over movies, and then, a little more specific of like… trusting and working with your Family.
Host: Yeah. Teamwork and Family those are the two things I’ve been hearing.
Marly: Yeah. And I would add to that, that the villains Shredder and Ra’s Al Ghul hate that they’re working together and do not like teaming up. And that’s why they’re Bad Guys.
Host: So Batman is celebrating his 80th anniversary, and we’ve been invited to the Wayne Manor, how are you planning to celebrate, what are you planning on cheering and toasting to him?
Marly: Cheers? Uh, So I’m aw Wayne Manor, do I know he’s Batman?
Host: Uh… yeah just go with it. You’re the first person who actually asked that.
Marly: Alright, so cheers uh, you know to Batman. Here’s to 80 more years of punching out homeless people.
Eddieson Burkhalter | Writing Contributor
B.A | Japanese | San Diego State Univ.
My name is Eddieson. I’m an open-minded dreamer that likes to look for new opportunities, experiences, and challenges in life to make things a bit more interesting. After graduating from San Diego State University with a Japanese degree and minor in Business, I landed an office job in Shinjuku, Japan where I dealt with online marketing matters as well as content creation. Though I come from an international business background I could never escape the alluring call of an emotionally manipulating story, regardless of the medium, that could turn the toughest bodybuilder into a two-year-old child watching The Muppets and eating “pig newtons”. So long as the story is well done it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s presented as a comic, video game, anime, book, movie, or even an interpretive dance with bananas and jello. After some intense independent study, I have not only been more than inspired to join the industry but brought to a point where I wonder why I gave up pursuing this stuff in college and turned to a course of pulling my hair out before each exam. Regardless, I love stories and hope to be presented with the opportunity to tell my own; most likely through writing. With a fire in my heart and goals set I am actively gaining skills each day to hopefully one day help others in their endeavors as well as achieve my own dreams. |Instagram @BlaEddieBla| View My Articles
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