An interview(s) with Simon Kinberg about his writing style how that relates to X-Men. I’ve highlighted some things you all might find interesting.
Interviewer: You’ve stated that your films, most of which are big-budget genre efforts, are deeply personal. When many filmgoers think of “deeply personal” films, they’ve probably got Whit Stillman or Henry Jaglom in mind.
Kinberg: I feel like every film that I write is about something personal in my life. It’s just sort of exploded into an action or superhero movie. I don’t know how to write any other way. But at the core of it, these are very personal stories to me.
Interviewer: Give me an example.
Kinberg: Well, Mr. & Mrs. Smith came from my being in a relationship with someone and her telling me that I was someone who was better in conflict than in stability. I thought that was an interesting idea to explore in a movie. Because I’m not a pure dramatist, I guess you could say, that movie didn’t end up being Ordinary People or Kramer vs. Kramer. It ended up being two spies trying to kill each other and falling in love in the process. When I came onto Sherlock Holmes, the thing that really resonated with me wasn’t the case or the period or the action, it was the notion of having to say goodbye to a friend and let him move on with his life. It was the Sherlock-Watson relationship in that movie that really resonated for me. A movie about two male friends who have to part could easily become a Whit Stillman movie or a Woody Allen movie. Or, you know, a movie with one of the most iconic characters of all time.
What about the X-Men films? How are they personal for you?
Each of the X-Men movies that I’ve worked on has been an exploration of some personal issue, just broadened into these big, superhero sides and action sequences, and I’ve really tried to honor the things I loved most about the X-Men comics as a kid growing up – the complex characters and relationships, the great emotionality. The Last Stand to me is “How do you say goodbye to someone you’ve loved, but they aren’t the person you loved anymore?” First Class was really, for me, Erik’s story, a sad one – “Can you ever get over the wounds of your past?” For me, the answer was no, at least in that story. It is a tragic story about a guy who starts the film losing someone to violence and ends the film as someone who is committing acts of violence himself. Days of Future Past is almost an inverse, about someone who starts to lose hope when he loses the most important people in his life. By the end of the movie, though, he’s found a new community and his hope is restored. All of the ways I’ve described those movies, they could manifest as a Woody Allen movie or a more purely character-driven dramatic piece, but the second I start to think about a relationship movie, it becomes spies very fast.
And then this answer from the storyline.com interview:
Do you take a different approach when writing something that already has a history and fan base like Sherlock Holmes or X-Men? How different is it from something you thought up all on your own? – Chad
The only difference in approach is research. When it comes to something like Holmes or X-Men that has generated so much literature, I try to read everything humanly possible to immerse myself in that world, to learn the rules of the universe and the essence of the characters. Then I put the books away, and do what I would do with an original idea: I build the story from the ground up. I start with the characters and try to find the emotional journey of the story. Then I build scenes and sequences to dramatize that journey. For instance, with Holmes, the whole movie was about Watson getting married, moving on, and Holmes needing to come to terms with that fact. Of course, there’s a big murder mystery and supernatural elements, but the core of the movie is about a friendship that will either evolve or end. And that’s the tension of the film. On X3, we started with the idea of Dark Phoenix. The central emotional journey (for all the characters) was how they dealt with the loss of Jean. The movie is really about coming to peace with the death of someone you love. That’s Wolverine’s journey. By the end of the film, he needs to let go of Jean, so he can move on with his life.
On an original script like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the process is not that different. I start from the emotional journey of the characters, then I build out the action and plot. That film is very simply the story of a broken marriage that heals. It’s all about the things that debilitate a marriage – secrets, lies, separate lives. And when those things are exposed, a couple is forced to deal with each other, and they either break up or come together. The movie could have been Kramer vs Kramer or Ordinary People, but it just so happens I’m an action writer, so I dramatized their marital conflict with fist-fights and guns and explosives
…Guys, he drew a parallel there between Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Charles and Erik’s story in X-Men in the first interview. And in the second interview, look how he describes writing a love story. But this time Charles and Erik will evolve and come together. They rebooted the franchise to FIX it. They’ve stated this several times.
And if that’s not enough, here’s another curious quote:
Interviewer: The trio of Magneto, Xavier, and Mystique have come to the forefront on what these X-movies are about. How will they play out in Apocalypse and what about our unsung fourth lead, Beast?
Kinberg: The relationship between Charles, Erik and Raven, that triangle, is in many ways, the center in First Class, DoFP, and will be in Apocalypse as well. The interesting thing about Hank, the fourth lead in the first two films, in the first movie it’s really a love story between him and Raven. In the second movie, in some ways, the story is between him and Charles. He’s become the person who is taking care of Charles, and in some ways is like the dutiful spouse for Charles. This movie will hopefully explore a little more of the Hank/Raven relationship again and see him go in some ways from Hank to Beast. Because he’s not a character that has fully embraced his mutant identity and certainty, his more “beastly” side of his identity. So that’s room to explore in this film.
Hank and Raven ARE Erik and Charles, and the fact that he’s referred to as a dutiful spouse is MORE than curious.
The now infamous quote from Kinberg regarding the “proper love story” comes from Empire magazine’s forthcoming Apocalypse issue. The quote is:
“Moira is back in a big way,” Kinberg says. “This is a chance to do something we haven’t seen before– a proper Charles Xavier love story.”
When I read that quote last night, I burst out laughing. Clever, Kinberg, very clever. He’s not referring to a romance between Charles and Moira at all. How do I know?
1) Look at his wording. All he says is that Moira is back. And her coming back leads to a Charles Xavier love story. A Charles Xavier love story, not a Charles and Moira love story. He’s very cryptic in his wording– kind of like the wording regarding Erik and Charles in the films. All he’s saying is that Moira being back leads to a Charles Xavier love story. It’s been my theory from the get go that she will be instrumental in bringing together Erik and Charles. (I’ll detail that in a later post.)
2) The ONLY pairing that Kinberg has called a “love story” is Charles and Erik. He’s been specific about that. But not just him, nearly all involved with the film has, at one point or another, called Erik and Charles a love story or a romance. So, re-read the quote in Empire again with that in mind.
3) Like I stated before, revealing a Charles/Moira love story would be a HUGE spoiler, especially this early in filming. When has Kinberg, or Singer, or anyone involved with the X-Men films given away a huge part of a character’s plot a year before the film is released? Read their interviews, watch them on YouTube. They *never ever ever* reveal spoilers like that! When they do start opening up about a film, it’s only ever been within months of the film opening, and even then, they only talk about what’s revealed in sneak peaks or the trailers. They’re tight lipped up until the day of release. ESPECIALLY regarding surprise endings.
A “culmination of a three act love story” would not be Charles and Erik apart, it would be them together. There’s *no other way* to successfully resolve their storyline. The ending of DoFP tells you that– all those people who come back to life were in *romantic* relationships: Rogue and Iceman, Kitty and Colossus, Storm and Wolverine, Wolverine and Jean, Jean and Scott. The only ones missing? Hank and Raven and Erik and Charles. Why would they highlight all those being love relationships to end Erik and Charles as the ONLY friendship in the bunch?
Keep the faith, guys. Cherik is endgame. X-Men is the love story of Erik and Charles.
More to come later today!