David Hayter Interview - Part 3

In the final part of the interview, we mostly focused on the movie side of things regarding Metal Gear and also touched on some of his experiences working on the first and second X-Men films. He explained some of what has been going with the Metal Gear movie and even provided insight on some of his discussions with the director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts. He also talked about some of the nerd discussions and arguments that happened behind the scenes with the X-men movies.


Peter

I guess the Metal Gear Solid movie has been in limbo for forever it seems like. So much has changed since they originally announced it. Kojima is no longer with Konami and I think Konami has the rights. What would you do? What story would you tell if you could write the movie? Because you are a writer after all, right?


David

Well, I can’t tell you that. Kojima is still attached to the movie as far as I know. He doesn’t own the games but I don’t know at what capacity. I did meet with Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the director who’s attached. We sat down over drinks for four hours and talked all about it. It was really amazing. I was asked to pitch Sony the movie years ago. Probably 10 years ago and I came up with a whole concept of what the movie should be. I talked to Jordan, he said “I have to stop you.” And he started pitching me what their movie was going to be it was pretty much the same concept. Nothing you’ve seen in the game before but sort of a logical extension of what had come before and what ideally a smart screen writer would do to take it to the next level. So that was kind of gratifying. I kind of felt like I was on the right track there and Jordan is a dedicated fan and a great director. I think if the movie ever gets made, it’s in very good hands. It hasn’t been in “limbo” it’s been in development hell which means they can’t figure out what to do that will make them comfortable with putter 200 million dollars into the budget. With Metal Gear, if you’re going to do it right, it’s not a standard Army movie or action movie. It’s a strange world. It’s very cerebral and it’s just weird. It has to be to be Metal Gear. I think that’s, and I don’t know this for sure. It’s just my speculation, based on many years of experience in the movie business, I think that it’s a balance between Kojima, Jordan, the true Metal Gear fans that are involved in trying to make it what it should be and the studio’s fear that it’s too weird to put a quarter of a billion dollars to make it. It’s a big valuable title, it’s got millions of fans world wide so I would imagine it would get done at some point. It has always been a difficult proposition to make it because if it came out and it was like G.I. Joe or just some standard, not that I want to bash G.I. Joe!


Peter

Right, but I don’t think that fans want the G.I. Joe version of Metal Gear.


David

No, they want the same experience as the games only elevated cinematic, taken to the next level sort of thing. Done with movie stars. If I was the president of Sony, I would be like ok…. Well… I don’t know about writing a check for 200 million dollars for this…. It’s just a huge commitment to an unusual world. Hopefully they’ll do it and hopefully they’ll make it great.


Josh

Personally then, in your opinion. Who would you have play the character of Snake


David

I told Jordan that they should do CG animated and I should play Snake.


Josh

Yes. Yes. YES! That’s my exact position on the subject!


Peter

(Laughs)


David

Jordan said to me, he’s like “You know you could play it live action but you would have to get really jacked first.” I was like no you would have to offer it to me and THEN I will get jacked. I’m not going to kill myself to get in amazing shape in the hopes you’re going to put me in the movie. So those were the discussions that about me but I always said Hugh Jackman who I know back from the X-Men days and is the nicest man in the world and is very handsome. I think he would fit pretty nicely. I think there are number of actors that would be pretty good. What are your choices?


Josh

Hugh Jackman, I couldn't agree more. I think that the CG animation with your voiceover would be better.


David

(Snake’s voice) Ha! Thank you! Well thank you. I appreciate that.


Peter

We were actually joking about this yesterday and I thought Eric Bana. That’s who I always said. Josh didn’t think about it and then he looked at him and thought, oh my gosh, I think he could play him.


Josh

I guess now we will move on to some X-Men questions.


Peter

We will just finish up with a couple of X-Men, X2 questions. It’s personally my favorite of all the X-Men movies. I think a lot of people feel that way. What are some of your inspirations and call backs because you adapted the screenplay and you wrote the story? Is that how you would explain it?


David

Yeah, sort of. There was a screenplay when I signed on to the movie. The story was essentially written but I was asked to do thousands upon thousands of rewrites. Just through the course of making the movie. My inspirations was Chris Claremont’s run on X-Men when I was 9 or 10 until I was 15. Those were the X-Men comics that I read, Dark Phoenix, HellFire Club and all those. Really Chris’ depiction of the characters and the way he made them so human and interact or fall in love or their fears, their problems, their mistakes. A lot of it came from that and I also had an expense account at the comic book shop in Toronto when we were shooting. I would buy X-men comics and just comb through for things I hadn’t heard before. That line, when Rogue looks at his knuckles and she says, “Does it hurt when they come out?” And he says, “Every time.” That was from a comic book that I just found and had seen. I was like, oh that’s going in my movie.


Josh

That’s got to be so much research on your end.


David

Yeah, well I mean, but it was great fun. Just come back with a stack of free comics and take the best of all these peoples work and turn it into a coherent movie. It was really fun. The process itself was stressful and maddening with a lot a of pressure. The research itself was great. When I was 15 the X-Men comics used to say “Soon to be a major motion picture.” I would think, God I hope who ever does that doesn’t mess it up. 14 Years later it’s me, I’m the one who’s going to mess it up.


Josh and Peter

(Laughs)


Josh

Oh no!


David

That was an amazing thing to sort of realize. I remember thinking back like I used to see this on the back of the comic books all the time and here we are. It’s just bizarr. When we first tested Wolverine’s claws, the creature effect people that made this fist and these hydraulic claws would come out of these latex knuckles. They shoot out like SHKSHH! Like that and it was really cool except they were just straight like butcher knives essentially. I was like, you can’t do that. Wolverine’s claws are curved, they have to have a curve. The creature effects guy got really mad at me and was like, “Well, they won’t come through the mechanism curved.” Like it just didn’t make any sense. Which if you think it about it, it’s true. If his claws were really curved, they wouldn’t fit in his forearm.


Josh

Well yeah, now that you say it like that. I understand.


David

Yeah, I’m looking at the operation of it. I’m like oh yeah his arm isn’t big enough to contain them if they are really curved but at the same time they’ve got to be curved or they’re not Wolverine. If you look at the claws in the first movie, they are essentially straight. They just taper down to make it look like they have a curve in front and that’s because of me.


Peter

Oh wow, that’s cool. I never knew that. I guess that’s like a typical nerd argument like oh that’s so unrealistic! Wolverine’s claws need to be straight. That’s a typical nerd talk or argument.


Josh

Yeah, I can’t count how many times I’ve gotten into arguments over stuff like that.


David

Yeah, except that this is actual construction. It’s like when I used to be a kid and Wolverine tilted his fist forward so that it was on a curve and then he popped the claws, would they come out through his wrist? We were like, ok, In X-Men. There’s a moment where he has his claws pointed to his heart but at first his wrists were bent. I was like, you can’t do that. His arms have to be totally straight or he can’t extend the claws. It doesn’t make any sense. It was exactly as you say, it was like those nerd conversations you have when you’re 12 except for my job. Now, 80 million dollars depended on it. It was a strange experience.


Peter

Wow, that’s really cool. Alright, I think we’ve pestered you enough and you were gracious enough to answer all of our questions. I’m going to bring it to a close now so you can enjoy the rest of your day and time off. In closing we just want to say, thank you as fans for doing this. It’s amazing that you do this for the fans. It’s just so awesome and just want to thank you for that. If there is anything you for us to know that you have coming out. Can you talk about that before we shut it down today?


David

Yeah, well, I’ve got a number of things. I was just in a video game called Blood Stained Ritual of the Night which came out recently and I play a demon hunter named Zangetsu. I’m in a video game called the Long Dark where I played a sort a scottish huntsman guy. That’s a REALLY cool game. I just closed a deal as a writer to create a show for the CBS Network called Repeat which sort of my first big network television thing. I was a co-writer for the first season of a show called Warrior Nun on Netflix which coming out at the beginning of next year. I’m sure there’s a bunch of other things but those are the ones I can talk about at the moment.


Josh and Peter

(Laughs)


Peter

Again, I’m sure we will check those and we love your work. Just want to thank you again! Thank you again! Thanks you so much for coming on.


Josh

Thank you so much David.


David

Well gentlemen, it was my pleasure. The questions were excellent. Please give my very best to the fans and to you and to them I just say (Snake’s voice) You’re pretty good.