Interview with Tim Boyle about Phantom:Legacy: http://www.chroniclechamber.com/
CC: G’day Tim and welcome to ChronicleChamber.com. It’s been over ten years since the first Phantom motion picture hit cinemas. Why do you think now is a good time to reintroduce the hero to the cinema going public?
TB: Probably the main reason why I think now's a good time to reintroduce The Phantom is that there seems to be a positive trend in comic book to screen translations. Gone are the days where Comic Book films are seen as 'hokey'. With the success of Spider-man, Iron Man, Dark Knight, Watchmen etc. people are interested in good character based 'super hero' films that not only entertain, but tell a solid story as well. The essence, as you know to most Comic Books or Graphic Novels, is based around moral decisions and consequences of our heroes. The Phantom was the first masked Super Hero – he is the original 'origin story'. I think that character, the one that started it all, should have a place in today's market.
So the question I’m sure everyone is waiting to hear the answer to is what will your Phantom film be like? Will it be faithful to the source material? In the announcement of the film you said it will be a father and son story “about a boy and his destiny.” Could you give any more details on this and what the plot may be?
It's a modern day Phantom. A Phantom dealing with real world issues based in the real world. The story will be faithful to the legend of the Phantom, but we're setting it in today's day. Unfortunately... I can't say too much more on this.
Specifically in regards to the Phantom costume, many who did not know the character but saw the 1996 film said that the purple costume was “silly.” Do you think the costume needs a change at all so that it is more palatable to the average movie goer? And what changes do you think would need to be made?
This is probably the 2nd most asked question... will we be changing the costume???? Yes, there will be changes – but you must remember, what works on the page doesn't necessarily translate to the screen – Think of the uproar when Byran Singer changed Wolverine's costume from yellow and blue spandex to the movie's silver and black leather. It looked AWESOME! I can't say exactly what we would like to do – but we're working on a compromise that should hopefully keep the Phans happy, yet make the character more accessible to today's audience.
With the 1996 film failing at the box office was it hard to pitch another Phantom film to the studios?
Getting any film made is always tricky and there are many hurdles to jump, but so far we've had great support from the Executive Producers and the Comic Studio. I'm extremely confident that the film we're making will have full studio support.
The Phantom is nowhere near as popular in the US as he is in Australia and Scandinavia with the 1996 films terrible performance at the US box office attributed to that fact. Is this something that concerns you and how do you hope to overcome it?
I know this might all sound elusive, but I don't really want to get bogged down on the last film and what it did or didn't do at the box office. The direction we're taking for this film is VERY different. What we have is a relaunch of the Phantom franchise. Comic book films of the mid nineties weren't as 'savvy' in respect to the way they treated their audience. Since then, the bar has been raised substantially. The benchmark has been set well and truly high. So it's up to us to deliver a film that will work on many levels – I feel that we're moving in that direction, so I have no concerns about it.
Are there any other challenges you could tell us about in regards to bringing the Phantom to the big screen?
It's still early days, but the biggest challenge so far is getting it right at script stage. If we can't get it right here, then all the visual effects in the world can't save you.
Are you planning on having the film focus on the 21st Phantom or a future or past Phantom?
The film is predominantly set in today's day - so I guess you can figure out the math on that one. Again, I'm not really allowed to say too much on this.
Will aspects of the comics’ mythology appear in the film such as the Skull Oath, the real origin of the Phantom (as opposed to the botched rendition in the ’96 film), the Phantom legacy and so on?
Yes! This film is heavily focused on the comics' mythology. You will see the Skull Oath and much, much more. It's really kick ass! And it's funny you mentioned the 'Phantom Legacy'.
Will we be seeing characters such as Guran, President Luaga, Colonel Worubu or others appear in the film?
Yes! I have accessed many characters from the comic and updated them to play similar roles in todays world. I did this especially for the Phans. I hope you enjoy that!
When writing the script was any particular Phantom story or stories an inspiration to you?
This screenplay is an original take on the comic and it's mythology. Elements from the story arcs will be found... but this is something very new. I've been working, and will continue to work hard with the guys at King Features Syndicate to make sure we give you something really special.
What do you consider to be the “core” of the Phantom character, that element that must be preserved in the film?
The Legacy – the passing down of the Skull Oath. Also the pure white eyes.
We’ve heard that the original script for the film was turned down by the studios. Can you tell us how the original script differed from the current one and why the studio rejected it?
Ah! Thank you for this question. The reporter got it WRONG! There was no other draft I wrote. There was a treatment that was not accepted written by a different writer – but both the producers and Comic studio flipped out when they heard my idea for The Phantom, and I was signed on to the project. There has never been a rejected script from my camp. This reporting was incorrect.
What are your opinions of the 1996 Phantom film and how will your film differ?
Look, again not trying to get caught up in the past. I think Simon Wincer did a awesome job for what he had to work with. The movie looked great, Billy Zane really did well and I've always loved Kristy Swanson – even before Buffy, when she did that cameo in Ferris Buller's Day Off... but the film just felt like a 90's comic book film aimed for children – The 1st Phantom swears an oath on a dead pirates skull he finds on the beach! It's actually a pretty gruesome visual. The guy carries two guns and has a pet wolf that can rip your head off and as far as the world knows... can't die! The Phantom has darkness to it – albeit not Batman dark, but still... he kicks ass and that's what I want to do with this film. Make it kick ass!
Will you be calling the film simply The Phantom or will you try and differentiate it from the ’96 film by calling it, say, The Ghost Who Walks?
No... the film's working title is called The Phantom: Legacy. I hope that just got you all a little more excited.
It’s been announced that you are considering Sam Worthington for the role of the Phantom. Was he who you had in mind from the start or are there other actors you think would be good in the role? Furthermore, has there been any talks at all with Worthington yet in regards to the film?
Ah the # 1 asked question. Who will be The Phantom? I didn't write the film with anyone per say in mind. Sam's been very supportive with my career. He's like the hardest working actor on the planet right now. We'd be lucky to get a guy like Sam – That said, there are a few different people I have in mind – and we'll start approaching them soon. But right now my focus is the screenplay.
As you yourself are Australian, as is Worthington, what do you think the chances of the film being shot here in Australia are; especially now so many Hollywood films are being made here?
The chances of an Australian shoot is HIGH. Although I'm currently based in the US, it would be awesome to come home and make this film 'Down Under'.
Finally, and most importantly, what is the current status of the movie? How long until we possible start seeing teasers and trailers appear on the web and in cinemas?
We're at scripting stage. The financing is taking place. We'll be hoping for a 2011 release date.
Thanks very much for your time, Tim, it’s much appreciated. We here at CC wish you all the best with the Phantom and all your other film projects!!
Thank you. And I just wanted to say I appreciate the support and let you know this film would not be being made with out the love of the Phans!
I'll try to keep you all as updated as I can and really look forward to making something you can all be really proud of.
Tim sent me an e-mail just as I was readying this interview for publication on the site. He asked me to let you all know that the film he is writing/ directing is NOT a sequle to the 1996 Billy Zane film but rather a complete re-boot of the Phantom film franchise. Tim says;
We've NEVER mentioned this as a 'Sequel'. Tell the Phans... This is a total relaunch. Starting from scratch - taking us into today. Don't fear... be excited!
You can visit Tim on-line at his MySpace page.