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Exclusive Interview: Part II With Mega Producer Lauren Shuler Donner PDF Print E-mail
Written by Robert Sanchez   
Sunday, 19 November 2006

Just when you thought our interview with Lauren Shuler Donner was over we come back with even more details on Constantine II, Magneto and future X-Men films.

ImageAfter our roundtable interview was over, Warner Bros. was gracious enough to give us another round with mega producer Lauren Shuler Donner, but this time, it was just me and her.

I have to admit that I have wanted to talk to Lauren for some time now. I have heard great things about her, some from her husband Dick Donner, who always refers to her as the best producer in Hollywood, and also from other directors and execs.

So if there are ever going to be any other X-Men or X-Men spin offs she is the one that would know. Lauren along with Kevin Feige, Avi Arad, Ralph Winter and Tom Rothman are the ones who make the decisions about anything from the X-Men universe.

So which X-Men storyline would Lauren like to bring to the big screen?  How about the Constantine sequel, and what country are they headed to next? What will we see in the Magneto spin off and how old are Eric and Xavier going to be?

These questions and more are addressed in our interview below.  

IESB: I have to thank you, and my children have to thank you, you have made some incredible films.

LSD: Thank you.

IESB: Same thing with Dick, we were watching “The Donner Cut” at home the other day. My wife saw it at the DGA and she was like, “Oh my God, it was incredible!” A couple nights ago, I was talking to Marc McClure and I said, “Vindication?” And he said, “Absolutely, it’s vindication for Dick.” Ilya was there, Salkind…

LSD: I don’t get that, I can’t believe he was there!

IESB: The movies that you make are great, I can’t wait to have my kids see this [Unaccompanied Minors] film. It’s a good film, if they were a little bit older I would almost say it had a bit of a John Hughes feeling to it.

ImageLSD: Good, ‘cause I love John. I produced two of his movies, Mr. Mom and Pretty in Pink, and I love his spirit and I loved most of all how he understood kids and how he was very honest about them and that’s what we strived for. We really tried to make it honest.

IESB: And it was, now, what makes you successful? Every time I talk to Dick I ask for some updates on your films, and he always says, “You mean, the best producer in Hollywood?” You have an incredible track record, what makes it work for you? It’s not easy…

LSD: I think one thing is, I am from Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio, from the Midwest and I’m aware of that audience. I think a lot of filmmakers are from either New York or LA and they don’t see who their audience is. And they don’t realize that in Cleveland, Ohio they don’t care about this or they don’t care about that. I think that that helps. I don’t know I use myself as an example, I like character and story. That’s what I like when I go to the movies. So, that’s what I try to make our movies about. When we went to make X-Men, for example, there had been Mighty Morphin…or Teenage whatever, something had come out that was not very good and everyone was scared to death to do a comic book movie. I just thought, you know, if we base it in character and we give it a reality and a real sense of complex character, which is what the Marvel universe has, particularly the X-Men, then we will, we’ll do alright, I think that’s why. Everything is always grounded in complex, hopefully, well written characters.

IESB: Well, you mentioned X-Men…

LSD: I also believe movies should be fun, I totally believe they should be a fun experience, you’re gonna pay a lot of money, you are gonna stand in line, it has to be fun.

IESB: Absolutely, from early stages, talking with Tom Rothman recently…he’s really excited about genre, and he does not rule out future X-Men ensemble films. I asked him point blank if we were going to see Gambit and he said he really believes we will see Gambit one day. Do you think you will be involved in the X-Men franchise at that time?

LSD: Oh yes, we are a team, it’s myself, Ralph [Winter], Avi [Arad] and Kevin [Feige]. We have a production manager Ross Fanger, we are a team and we go from X-Men, we are the X-Men world and I would hope we would always stay together, I mean, I am contractually bound, but yes I will always be…

IESB: We were talking to Shawn Ashmore recently and we asked him if he’s heard anything about any young X-Men spin offs and even Halle Berry at the junket for The Last Stand was open to coming back. Do you think soon, a couple years down the line…

ImageLSD: I hope so, I think if we can work out the economics of it, absolutely. Certainly there are tons of stories. There is 40 years worth of stories. I’ve always wanted to do Days of Future Past and there are just really a lot of stories yet to be told. I wouldn’t rule anything out. You can click here to read about Days of Future Past

IESB: Wolverine, we mentioned this earlier, Hugh’s like, oh yeah I really want to bulk up for four months, he might just have to bulk up in Australia during the Baz Luhrman film? Is that what you think?

LSD: I don’t know, it’s our desire but, you certainly, you know, he has to be available and willing and my desire is always to shoot it sooner than later because every year there are more and more comic book movies and we want to remain fresh in everybody’s mind. So, I’m hoping to do it in the Fall, another movie may precede us, I don’t know.

IESB: And it’s the first time that an X-Men script has been done so early.

LSD: Yes, I know (laughing) Yeah, so let’s do it!

IESB: Honestly, you surprised and shocked us all with the Constantine sequel news. We heard there may not be anything going on with that, so you really do think there will be a Constantine sequel?

LSD: Constantine was huge foreign, international, therefore, there is a good financial reason to make a sequel. And, I think we really want to do it as a hard R, I mean, really go into the Constantine world and do it even more justice than the movie, even though I thought the movie was true to its core. We have a terrific idea of the world we want to go into, it’s a nice, really terrifying world and Keanu is willing so we should do it!

IESB: Can you say what country the story will take place in?

LSD: It’s a Latin American country, I’ll say that, a South American country.

IESB: The Caribbean?

LSD: No.

IESB: Since you were involved in the John Hughes films, there has been talk of remaking some of them. Are you aware of that?

LSD: I would just hate that.

IESB: So you haven’t heard anything about that?

LSD: No, I have not.

IESB: Magneto, so it is going to be Charles Xavier and it is going to be Erik Lehnsherr…

LSD: Right, Erik Lehnsherr, it really is Erik’s story from the development of Erik Lehnsherr to becoming Magneto. That’s really what it is.

IESB: So when you say, young Magneto, are you thinking, well in X-Men 1 we see a young Erik, he’s maybe 12 or 13 and he’s in the concentration camp. So you are saying young Magneto, you’re talking 18, 19, 20, 30?

ImageLSD: Yes, it starts off in the concentration camp and what he went through and the consequences of when he came out and what it did to his character, his psyche, and then how that evolution from being a persecuted Jew to a persecuted mutant comes to be and then from that persecuted mutant to the reversal, the feeling that he is almost superior to the homo-sapiens.

IESB: Right, because he isn’t a villain at first.

LSD: No he’s not, he and Xavier built Cerebro. They worked together. They were delighted to find each other and share this secret that they had.

IESB: What other Marvel or DC properties are you working on?

LSD: I am developing Metal Men at Warners, which is a DC Comic, which is a very difficult one because it’s very dated, but it’s fun. It’s more like Men in Black in tone. And Cirque Du Freak, which is a new franchise, different kind of franchise and more in the Harry Potter world but darker and edgier.

Click here to read our earlier interview with Lauren Shuler Donner.

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