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Teen Titans Movie Development [2007]

SDCC 07: Exclusive: Teen Titans Movie to Be “Real”
Scripter compares project to Batman Begins and Watchmen.
by Eric Moro & Scott Collura – courtesy of http://www.ign.com – July 26, 2007


July 26, 2007 – Screenwriter Mark Verheiden was at Comic-Con today to talk about his various impending projects, and of course the topic of the recently announced Teen Titans movie came up, which he is scripting. During a panel discussion, Verheiden said that he hopes the tone of the film will match that of Batman Begins and the Watchmen comic book.

“It’s not light and frothy,” he says. “It’s not silly. I want to play the characters so they feel real to us, not like people we can’t understand. And I think Nightwing is a great character for that.”

Nightwing is the adult persona of Dick Grayson, a.k.a. Batman’s sidekick Robin, who leads the group and is the sole confirmed character in the film so far. Verheiden isn’t talking yet about who else will make the film’s roster, though he does confirm that there will be multiple villains in the film – and, as he told IGN exclusively after the panel had ended today, from a personal standpoint he is fond of the Marv Wolfman-George Pérez era of the comic book.

“I love the Perez-Wolfman stuff, so we’re definitely looking at that, but I don’t really want to get into who the team we’re picking is yet,” he says. “But I’m a huge fan of Marv Wolfman’s work and I’ve talked to him about this a little bit. We’re friends and if I can be true to his feeling that you get from those books, I’d be very happy.”

Verheiden adds that the real challenge of the film will be to keep the characters “real,” which is something he thinks Batman Begins pulled off quite well.

“I think the challenge is probably in terms of the team, to make sure that each one of them gets their due,” he says. “The real challenge in this to me is to make sure that you feel you really know these characters as real people. They’re empowered people that have been blessed with abilities that are beyond imagination, except for Robin who worked on it and became that himself. And yet they have the same wants, hopes, dreams, and emotions as everyone else. It’s just they have this extra part of their lives. And I thought what was interesting too, the sort of big difference between the Teen Titans and some of the other big stories, like say the X-Men, is the Titans have had their powers and for the most part have lived with them all their lives. So this isn’t a learning curve. This isn’t, ‘Oh my God, I can suddenly spout fire!’ This isn’t the Fantastic Four either. It’s a story about, ‘What do you do when you’ve had these powers and now you’re 18?’ And your name was ‘This Lad’ or ‘Kid This’ and now all of a sudden it’s, ‘How do I have my own identity?’ So the core of it is really about the emotional story of these guys, and of course it’s a huge, fun action movie too. But the core of it is going to be to try to understand these characters and sort of what it is to be them in today’s world.”

And while Batman Begins will serve as a basis for how the characters in Teen Titans should be portrayed, Verheiden doesn’t see any great need to mix his universe with the worlds of that film or the other current DC movies like Superman Returns.

“In terms of the universes of those films, I don’t think we want to do anything to violate the continuity that they’ve established,” he says. “I want to be very true to the Teen Titans, however, I don’t want to be slavish to the point where we’re just doing things to… I want to be as true as possible, but do the best story I can is I guess the way to put it. In terms of Batman Begins, that’s just a great touch point in terms of tone. It’s serious without being [too serious]. You feel like there’s real jeopardy for those characters. And that’s what we want for Teen Titans. When they’re in trouble, we don’t want you to think they’re just going to pull the magic power out of their hat. They’re in genuine trouble, genuine jeopardy, and these are 18-year-old young adults trying to figure out, ‘How do we survive, how do we stay proud in front of our friends, how do we just be true to sort of what we think we are at a moment of conflict in [ourselves]?’ Because they’re going through the classic, ‘I’m 18 and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.’”

As for whether or not the film will be based on any specific Teen Titan storylines or comics, Verheiden sees the project as more being inspired by thematic arcs of the Titans saga.

“It’s sort of taking from the universe and then creating an amalgam that works for us,” he says. “If you’ve loved the books, I don’t think you’re going to go, ‘What the heck is going on with the Teen Titans?’ We’re not reinventing the wheel is what I want to say. We want to stay true because it’s a great franchise, fantastic characters. I love Teen Titans and I’m old enough to have bought them when they were coming out. The Marv Wolfman version — not the really early version! I want to do a show that appeals to fans who really love these characters and also isn’t so sort of oblique or inside that people on the outside can’t really get it.”


Mark’s blog at http://verheiden.blogspot.com: Thursday, May 31, 2007

Teen Titans – The Movie: As pointed out in today’s Hollywood Reporter, yours truly will be writing a live action Teen Titans movie for Warner Brothers and Aviva Goldsman’s company, Weed Road. And I wish there were an emoticon big enough to express how thrilled I am to be involved in the project! I’m not a fan of super-early spoilers, but I will say the script involves the Nightwing character and will be exploring the Titans at an interesting (and universal) crossroads in their lives…

Sorry for the brevity, things are (as might be expected) pretty busy at the moment, but I’ll keep posting as developments ensue…


Hollywood Reporter: Teen Titans growing up at Warner Bros.

May 31, 2007 DC Comics’ superteam Teen Titans is getting the big-screen treatment courtesy of Warner Bros. The Teen Titans first appeared in 1964 as a sort of junior Justice League, comprising Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Wonder Girl and Speedy, the respective sidekicks of A-list heroes Batman, Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Green Arrow. The comic series reached X-Men-style success in the 1980s, when the team was relaunched in a new comic with the characters no longer kids but college-age adults and the stories explored more mature themes.


Interview: Mark Verheiden on ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and ‘Teen Titans’
by Chris Ullrich on April 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm
courtesy of http://www.comicmix.com/ 

CMix: Last time we spoke you were writing a couple of feature films as well. What’s going on with those?

MV: Fortunately, both are back on. I’m back full into writing the Teen Titans movie. I turned in a pass to Warner Bros. right before the strike and we’ve talked about that and I’m going to get back into it. I’ll address some of their thoughts and work on the next draft.

The other project is one called Ark, which I’m writing for Neil Moritz’s company, Original Film, at Sony. It’s based on a story I did for Dark Horse several years ago. So I’m busy with both of those.

CMix: What’s your plan for Teen Titans?

MV: Well, I’m still writing it, so I’m not 100-percent sure at the moment. One thing I can tell you is that there will be a Nightwing story and Robin is in it, too. Take from that what you will.

We’ll also be dealing with a transitional period in the lives of the Teen Titans. It will be a huge, fun, action movie but it’s the characters first. What makes them interesting and exciting? That’s how I approach any story.

It also won’t be the Titans as young adults or anything. I’m also looking to the work of Marv Wolfman and George Perez as the touchstone of inspiration for the film.

I’m a friend of Marv and I’ve talked about the movie with him so his influence will definitely be felt.

CMix: Is Warner Bros. very particular about what they want you to do with Teen Titans?

I think so. Its a huge project for them and DC. The Teen Titans are a legendary group for them. Its two things, really: One, they are absolutely committed to doing this move. Two, they are absolutely committed to doing it right, so the fans who love and revere it will get something they love and doesn’t make their heads explode.

CMix: So you’re aware of the fans and their feeling as to how things should be done?

MV: I’m aware there are things you can play around with and things you can’t. It worked. Why fix what isn’t broken?

CMix: When you go in to pitch something like aTeen Titans movie, isn’t the studio looking for your “take” or “spin” on it? How do you approach a pitch for something like this?

MV: In the case of Teen Titans, its more like how do you see those characters in a live-action movie and how do they react and live in our world?

There’s a lot of ways to go with this, but my “take,” if you want to call it that, is to try and make them as real as possible given the circumstances. Possibly a little bit more of a heightened realism in this, much like they’ve done in the comic recently.

The trick is to find a balance between the realism of how they can work in this world so you can connect with them and they feel real to you, and then the fact they have powers, or most of them do, they have fun and do what they do.

We’re not going to make it grim and gritty or anything, but it will have great jeopardy, action and conflict. The bottom line is, we’re going to try and have some fun with it, which is the best way to describe it.

CMix: What about the villains of the story?

MV: We’re going to have some strong adversaries, or antagonists, but really, I’m trying to concentrate on the core group of these characters, who we meet at a point when they’re at the cusp of adulthood.

Actually, when I first started thinking about it, I wondered what it would be like, for example, to be Tom Cruise’s son if you wanted to get into acting. You have a lot of baggage to overcome.

It’s the same with this story. It’s no secret Robin is in this movie, so what if you were him, after living in the shadow of Bruce Wayne and Batman, and now you wanted to go off on your own and become your own man, your own superhero? That’s got to be a huge thing to overcome. That makes it interesting for me.


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End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author