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 Post subject: David Koepp 'Takes Five'
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 9:33 pm 
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Martian War Lord

Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:01 pm
Posts: 1259
Location: UK
"War Of The Worlds," about an alien invasion of Earth, was written by H.G. Wells in 1898, turned into a radio show by Orson Welles in 1938 and made into a film in 1953. Hollywood's chief fantasist Steven Spielberg takes a crack at it this summer with help from his speculative sidekick, screenwriter and Pewaukee native David Koepp. It opens in theaters June 29, and it will compete with "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" as the science-fiction film of the summer. Spielberg and Koepp previously collaborated on two "Jurassic Park" films; the first is one of the highest-grossing films of all time. Koepp also wrote "Spider-Man," which also is on the list. Koepp, who attended Kettle Moraine High School, also directed the thrillers "Stir of Echoes" and "Secret Window" and hopes to direct a comedy he is writing with John Kamps, of Genesee Depot, who wrote "The Borrowers." In addition, he adapted "Zathura," by Chris Van Allsburg, which will be released this Thanksgiving. Koepp talked about adapting Wells and working with Spielberg in an interview with film critic Duane Dudek.

Q. How did you approach the remake, and how did you retool it?

A. What was interesting is that, like any classic play, by moving it in time and place, it can take on new meanings because the . . . fundamentals are so strong. And I thought that by moving it into present day, it would take on a whole bunch of new meanings. But I also felt that it's been plundered over the years by unacknowledged adaptations of it that never took its primary virtue into account - which is that it's about vast global events seen from the periphery by a civilian. And I thought that the idea of war seen from a civilian's point of view is interesting and timely: What is it like when war comes to your home?

Q. Wells wrote the book at the end of the 19th century. What was he really writing about?

A. Isaac Asimov wrote an essay where he said it was about British colonialism. And I think that's right. Wells was an anti-imperialist . . . and he made the British the invaded instead of the invaders to sort of hide his metaphor. The British were . . . fighting a lot of wars in a lot of foreign lands and were being done in by local insurgencies and exotic diseases. I think he was making the point that you can't go around occupying faraway lands.

Q. What was Orson Welles attempting with his radio broadcast?

A. Welles was playing strictly on fear and paranoia that there's a huge war brewing, and it's coming to get us. And in the late '30s, we all know what that was. And the 1953 movie was very much about the Cold War and the fear that the commies are coming to get us.

Q. So did you update the story as a post-Sept. 11 scenario?

A. No. That's a terrible danger. You've got to keep that out. The Iraq peril didn't even occur to me until halfway through the first draft. It's so hard to create believable characters and a good story, and you have to focus all your energy on that. If you do that, the right themes will emerge by themselves.

Q. How do you collaborate with a hands-on perfectionist like Spielberg?

A. A lot of directors . . . do all the talking. But Steven . . . wants to hear your viewpoint. He plays it pretty close to the vest during the first draft. I'll say, "I'm getting to the point where I describe the emergence of the first tripod. Any idea what that should look like?" And he'll say, "I've got some thoughts, but I don't want to tell you until you're done." He figures "I hired you for your opinions, and I'd at least like to see one unvarnished version of your opinions." But after that, he gets his big hands all over it.

ARTICLE FROM : http://www.jsonline.com/onwisconsin/movies/may05/322924.asp

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