July 16, 2010

Journey to the Center of the Earth slice

This afternoon, Warner Bros. hosted the press day for their upcoming comedy Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, featuring the voices of Christina Applegate, James Marsden, Bette Midler, Michael Clarke Duncan, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, Nick Nolte, Joe Pantoliano and Katt Williams.

While there will be a full interview to post later – with Applegate, Marsden and Midler – director Brad Peyton took a bit of time after the press conference to talk about his next project, the sequel for Journey to the Center of the Earth, which he’s in prep for now, and his thoughts on whether The Doubtful Guest, adapted from the Edward Gorey story, might ever make it to the screen. Check out what he had to say after the jump:

Brad PeytonQuestion: Are you doing the sequel for Journey to the Center of the Earth next?

Brad: Yeah, I’m in prep right now.

Can you give us an update on how that’s going?

Brad: I think it’s going to be good. The thing, for me, was the script. I read the script and didn’t know if Brendan [Fraser] was going to be involved or not, but the script is phenomenal. It’s going to be a really, really good story. It reminded me of the first Indiana Jones, so I got really excited ‘cause that’s one of the movies I grew up on. I’m very, very excited by it.

Is there a new adult character, with Brendan Fraser being gone, or is it just the kids now?

Brad: The only one that I can confirm is that the movie is going to be based around Josh [Hutcherson], as a 17-year-old. In the first one, he was a little kid. Now he feels like, “I didn’t get credit for that. I was just along for the ride. But, now I want mine.” And, we try to bring it back to what I related to when I was 17. I just wanted to get the hell out of home and go do my own thing. We’re building a great story around that kind of idea.

Will some of the favorite creatures be back?

Brad: They will be similar in tone, but it changes a little bit because it’s Mysterious Island. It’s not going to be identical to it. There is a similar vibe to the ideas, but not the exact same ones.

So, Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island is the source material for this one?

journey_to_the_center_of_the_earth_3d_movie_poster_onesheet_Brad: Yeah. Well, it’s just taking from Verne. One of the things that excited me was that, before speculative fiction came out, science fiction had this H.G. Wells, Vernian slant. That science fiction came from another world was H.G. Wells, and Verne was that science fiction came from our own world. So, when I read the script and I talked to the producers, I was like, “This is a really great idea. This, to me, is the brand. We should look at Verne as the source material, and his approach to everything.”

That guy has written encyclopedia entries on the coastline of France. He mapped half of the coastline of France. So, it’s about finding all this great stuff in our world. Part of it is, “How can we get kids stoked on what’s real? How can I make what’s real so fantastic that they love that?” I think that’s what Verne was doing. When you read The Mysterious Island, the stuff is so real that, if you crash on an island, he’s telling you how to survive. The guy’s a great writer.

Is the sequel going to be more above ground, this time?

Brad: Yeah. It’s not at the center of the earth. Mysterious Island is a set. That’s where the majority of the thing takes place.

Does that make it more gritty and realistic?

Brad: Maybe, a little bit. My approach is going to be different for it.

Do you bring Captain Nemo into it at all?

Brad: You’ll have to see. I’m going to say maybe.

Are you also going to do The Doubtful Guest?

Brad: I might be. I’m not sure. That could be doubtful, at this point.

Are you an Edward Gorey fan?

Brad: Oh, my god, I’m a huge fan. When I was in Toronto, I was doing a stop-motion animated TV show, called What It’s Like Being Alone, that was a 13-part series on CBC. When Gorey died, they turned his house into a museum, so I had my assistant call the person who ran the museum for two months, asking if they would open in it on a day while I had a week off because I was in production, I had a week for Christmas, and then I was back in production.

After literally two months of hassling this guy, he said, “I will open it the day after Christmas, if you’ll come down.” So, I drove to Cape Cod from Toronto, for 16 hours straight, and then me and my girlfriend went through the Gorey house. The guy was like, “You have to be a big Gorey fan.” He had no idea that I own a first-edition, autographed copy of The Doubtful Guest. I’m a huge, huge fan. So, he gave me the tour of the house, let me put on the fur coats, let me go upstairs and see where he actually lived and what his house actually looked like.

Why do you think it’s taking so long to get a film of that going?

Brad: I think it’s hard because the source material is a little eccentric and, in Hollywood, it’s a bit hard right now to get that kind of stuff made. I would love to do it. That tone that he has is so mischievous and so much fun. It’s a little challenging. Like everything, you hope you can do something you really love and make it, at some point.

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