The new remake of Clash of the Titans is in many ways different from the 1981 original-- bigger budget, bigger effects, and a much more expansive story that goes far beyond the true love motivations of the original. But between the giant scorpions that fight and the cackling witches, you may notice a certain, shall we say, goofy energy in the thing that definitely hearkens back to the campy original. And, say screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, that was very, very intentional.

I got the chance earlier this week to talk to the screenwriting duo about their work with director Louis Leterrier on the film, and they said straight-up that they were going for a "positive craziness," which between the scorpions and Ralph Fiennes as Hades and the Kraken itself, is most definitely there. Read below for what they said about the changes they made from the original film, what earlier drafts focused on, and how Sam Worthington shaped the direction of the film. Clash of the Titans is in theaters this instant.

What was the biggest change from Travis Beacham's draft, which existed when you came on board, and what you wanted to bring to it?
Phil: In the previous version there was a lot more pan-European, pan-global gods. It was all different mythologies, it wasn't just Greek mythology. It was getting back ot the Greeks and getting back to the Greek stuff. There were definitely different things along the way, in terms of Perseus's character and the way Sam came in and had a strong creative influence on how Perseus went. The sense of trying to get this group of guys on a mission together, trying to flesh out that adventuring party, structuring it like a World War II mission movie. It was something that was important to us to pull out.
Matt: The character of Andromeda changed in our conception of it. We were trying to mirror what Perseus was going through. Perseus was discovering who he is and fighting with different sides of himself, becoming this new hero for a changing world. At the same time Andromeda is fighting against the kind of leaders her parents have become, and forging a new identity for herself as well. She's becoming a new kind of leader as well.

You made a pretty big change from the original in making Andromeda not a love interest.
Phil: I think the way we always saw it was that she would be a love interest in the future. In the structure it's inevitable that she's a damsel in distress, technically, but we were hoping to not make her feel like a damsel in distress, waiting around to be rescued. Her thing was that, I'm going to stay here, I'm going to take responsibility, I'm going to sacrifice myself if necessary.
Matt: In a strictly structural sense, they're out on this journey. They meet right before he goes off on this journey, and they're apart for most of the rest of the movie. That creates some problems unless you're going for the love at first sight thing.
Phil: There definitely was a stage at which we were talking about more of a love triangle idea, Perseus being pulled between these two female figures who represented different things. Our intent was to show that there was a very strong connection between Perseus and Andromeda. To me that can always turn into love. We're trying to set the table, maybe, in the future to think of that.



How did you bring [Gemma Arterton's character] Io into the story?
Matt: The character originated in Travis's draft as a character known as the Wilting Girl, and she was a demi-goddess that came along on the journey. It evolved from there. We really liked the idea of having a woman on the journey who wasn't trying to kill him. Her character kept evolving as we kept writing. Just having a female presence along for the journey was very appealing to us, and seemed like it would mix it up in an exciting way.

One of the most fun things about the movie is the way it keeps the old-school, weird animation. Was that important to you guys?
Phil: That's exactly what it should be. As we describe it, it should feel like the cover of a Dio album, or the side of a custom van. That's the vibe, because that's fun, that's fun, adventure.
Matt: You've got this world where almost anything is possible, and you're seeing it through the eyes of a guy who has been a fisherman his whole life. Seeing it through his eyes, you want to magnify it, so these things that are so weird and scary and unbelievable are appropriate.

Is that something you guys worked on back and forth with Louis?
Phil: We came in with a whole bunch of ideas and a really specific take. There were scorpions in the draft, but they were used simply for transport. We were like, "They have to fight! The scorpions have to fight!" We were very passionate about that. And Louis enthusiastically agreed that they had to fight.
Matt: When we came in with Louis, we had a lot of conversations about tone. That was the most important thing that we started with, making sure it's both exciting, there's great action, there's a compelling story, but we also wanted to make sure that the tone of adventure from the original was maintained to some extent. It should be a fun movie. It shouldn't be completely self-serious.
Phil: That's something we all attached to, and Sam attached to too. We've gotta remember our goal here. We're trying to make a fun, popcorn, Saturday matinee movie. That's a guiding light. Hopefully there's a positive craziness to the movie.

What kind of ideas did Sam bring?
Matt: He's got a real intensity to him, but his creative notes aren't about servicing his ego. He's the first person to say, beat me up. Once we all honed in on the idea of him rebelling against the god in him, and trying to do things as a man, he was a watchdog for that throughout the script. He's a very strong, willful character that you want to root for and want to go along the journey with.



The scenes between Hades and Zeus are definitely bigger than anything else in the movie. Was it written that way or did that come in the performances?
Phil: The intention all along was to try to make the interactions of the humans down in the world to be much more direct and blunt and human-like. Then when we were with the gods that they were more elevated, speak in their own grandiose terms, because of course they're gods, why wouldn't they. There were many, many more scenes up on Olympus-- it was a big subplot that ended up getting trimmed away. There was more of a sense of what was going on up there. Basically trying to create a stylistic difference there.

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