You met Guillermo del Toro years back, right? You met him on Killing on Carnival Row
Yeah, I was fresh out of film school.
So, what, I mean, what was your initial impression of him, when you first met?
Well, I was a huge fan of him, the first time I met him, and he’s very generous. He’s a very garrulous fellow, and definitely a fan of all this stuff, but initially I was really sort of intimidated by him, you know, just because I loved his work so much.
But, then when he came on board with this, you know, I think, you know, it was sort of, I was glad to finally have an opportunity to really work with him, now that I’d been in the industry for a while and had gotten used to the idea of being around people that I was a huge fan of, you know.
What exactly was the pitch that you went into your meeting with, because I know he brought the ideas of the drift and the pilots sharing memories.
It was like an eighteen page thing, and it was about Mako and Raleigh and they still both had experienced tragedy and loss and it was about them coming together to drive this Jaeger that would coincidentally turn out to be a very integral sort of component in the final, you know, last act plan. And I think in talking to him about it, you know, he was, he sort of explicitly talked about the idea about the connection between the two pilots and firmly sort of equated it with love and that kind of thing. The connection was in the treatment. I think Guillermo really keyed in on the emotional, on the emotional context of it and firmed that up a lot.
The relationship between Charlie Hunnam’s character and Rinko Kikuchi is really interesting because it’s not an on-the-nose romantic relationship, but there is this clear connection between them. So, how do you go about building that closeness without necessarily making it romantic?
It was, I mean, it was a balancing act, I think, not only down in the script, but in the editing, because I think of the first draft of the script, the romantic connection was way more explicit, you know, not necessarily, you know, not necessarily explicit in like, you know, a graphic sense, but like, it was explicit in the sense that, you know, this was a kind of love story. I think in workshopping the script and then producing it and then filming it, and in bringing in the ensemble, and thinking about what they’re doing, it became naturally a more sort of, you know, it had sort of romantic connotations, but it’s much more of a friendship kind of thing and that is in part because like that’s such a huge gap to jump, from total stranger to like soul mate, you know, in one movie. So, I think it naturally just drifted into the way of like, “Well, we’ll get them partially there, because who knows where we end up later.”
Was there anything during the writing process that you and Guillermo didn’t see eye to eye on?
Not really, yeah, I think it’s been a very, really sort of charmed experience and I think it sort of spoiled me on making from this point on, because it’s like, you know, especially with Guillermo and Legendary and everybody, yeah, it’s just, we were all on the same page and it’s been a really fortunate, it’s been really fortunate that that’s been the case.
Just as a geek, I just love the idea of larger universes and building beyond what you see in the film. Was there any detail from the larger universe that didn’t make it into the film, but that you absolutely loved?
Yes, and I don’t want to go into too much detail, because it may be story matter for other, but I think, you know, we’re gonna be a bit more adventurous with the drift and what that means and the subjective reality of that.
What are you working on now? What are you developing?
I’m working on a science fiction crime drama series on AMC, called Ballistic City that takes place on a generational starship. So, that’s, and they’ve been really fun to develop with.
How far along is it?
I’m just now rewriting the pilot. So, it’s, fingers crossed, they’re really excited about it, but no decisions have been made.