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© (c) 2007 20th Century Fox FANTASTIC FOUR RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER- Silver Surfer

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Interview: SCREENWRITER DON PAYNE WANTS A CINEMATIC FUTURE FOR THE 'SILVER SURFER' - PART 2

Writer lists Stan Lee and Jack Kirby comics as inspiration for new FANTASTIC FOUR movie sequel

By EMMANUEL ITIER, Contributing Writer
Published 6/5/2007


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How do you make a comic book movie fresh and new, especially when the original wasn’t so warmly received by fans? Screenwriter Don Payne had that task at hand when writing the new FANTASIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER film. In part two of this exclusive interview Payne told iF how much the comics of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby influenced his writing and about his hopes for the Silver Surfer’s cinematic future.
 
iF: What can you say about the Silver Surfer? And will we see Galactus?
 
DON PAYNE: The film really focuses on the Silver Surfer and this is why he is mentioned in the title. But I can’t tell you anything about Galactus except to let you know that you can’t have one without the other and this is all I can say for the moment.
 
iF: Tell us about the Fantasticar! Is it to be a flying bathtub like in the comics?
 
PAYNE: Hey! I loved the flying bathtub! This is not going to be a flying bathtub. I can’t say much about it.
 
iF: Is the door open for other FANTASTIC 4 films?
 
PAYNE: Well, for sure the door is opened for a SILVER SURFER spin-off and I think for sure the franchise leads to a third film. And yes I would love to write another FANTASTIC 4 film.
 
iF: Does this movie leave on a subtle cliffhanger like many of Marvel movies do?
 
PAYNE: No, it’s self-contained. There are questions left unanswered, but it’s a complete story by itself.
 
iF: What can we expect from the Silver Surfer?
 
PAYNE: Again, not to reveal too much, he is very much in the line of the comics. Jack Kirby referred to him as a fallen angel. And I think it’s a good analogy. I think he is one of the most complicated Marvel characters. He’s done this amazing act to save his own planet and giving up the woman he loves to save her life and yet he becomes part of this horrible genocide on a cosmic scale. And there is a moral ambiguity there. He is a noble creature who has a Zen-like detachment from his actions and ultimately starts to become human; even so he is not human. The film touches a little bit about his back-story but it could totally be explored in his own spin off. The Fantastic 4 are trying to figure out who he is and what he does on our planet.

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iF: Who is the favorite character to write for?
 
PAYNE: Well, I love them all. I grew up with all of them. And I love the Silver Surfer. He is such a challenge. He is so passionate and noble. I heard he is going to look very cool. I think he is going to draw a lot of people and be great eye candy all of us.
 
iF: Will this film be more for the kids like the first one?
 
PAYNE: It is a family film. It is for everybody. I think it will be a great adventure for everyone and it’s dealing with issue concerning the world, so this should really appeal to kids and adults.
 
iF: Does Stan Lee has a cameo?
 
PAYNE: Yes he does! He shows up at the wedding of Reed and Sue.
 
iF: Did you have a conversation with Stan Lee about this film?
 
PAYNE: No, not really. I met him couple of times and I’m just such a fan. I grew up worshipping him. He is such an Icon. He was actually in a SIMPSONS episode I worked on. He was trying to turn into The Hulk but could not really do it. But it did not make it in. Stan is great and he is such a great sport.
 
iF: What do you think was the main problem of the Fantastic 4?
 
PAYNE: They lack of the anonymity that other super heroes with masks have. There is lack of privacy. They can’t go to a restaurant without being swamped by people, especially Reed and Sue. They are talking about a long-term relationship and bringing up a kid and “is this right to bring such a kid in this world?” They have monsters coming from every which ways so this is their main problem.
 
iF: What do you think the messages of the films are?
 
PAYNE: Not sure about messages, but for sure there are metaphors, allegories such as “don’t judge someone by the way they look.” And it was already in the first movie with the character of Ben, The Thing. In this one there is also a theme of self-sacrifice. It’s about an individual making a sacrifice for the greater good. It’s kind of the story of the Silver Surfer.
 
iF: Any other new looks about the design of the environment of the FF ?
 
PAYNE: Well, the Baxter building, because they are making more money, has been refurbished. It’s not as grungy as it used to be. It’s more high tech and slick.
 
iF: How do you make money when you’re part of the FF?
 
PAYNE: Well, you invent things…you also do commercials! (laughs]
 
iF: What other Marvel comics do you love?
 
PAYNE: Again, I love them all. For the ones not turned just yet into a film, I love THE AVENGERS, CAPTAIN AMERICA. I also love IRON MAN and I can’t wait for its screen adaptation. It’s so exiting that Marvel is doing so many films and I wish them good luck. There is such a great team of writers that I’m confident all movies will be great.
 
iF: Are you also a fan of DC Comics?
 
PAYNE: Well, surprisingly enough I don’t know DC that well. I was more of a Marvel kid. Of course I read a few BATMAN, SUPERMAN and GREEN LANTERN and one or two episode of JUSTICE LEAGUE. But I have not followed the DC universe that much. The only time I pay attention is when there are “event” like issues like: IDENTITY CRISIS and DARK KNIGHT. The Marvel Universe somewhat appealed more to me because it seemed more real. Partly it was New York, the characters flowed more into their secret identities than they did in the DC universe.


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