Earlier today Movies.com had the pleasure of speaking with Marti Noxon, a series writer and producer on fantastic shows like Mad Men, Glee, Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ahead of the December 13th DVD and Blu-ray release of her last feature film, Fright Night. We spoke mostly about how she approached updating the beloved ’80s vampire film, how the gender politics help pin it to a new generation (yes, there’s more going on in Fright Night than you might realize), and how hard the film marketplace makes it on writers trying to play with new ideas.
We’ll be sharing the entire interview when Fright Night hits stores in a few weeks, but today we wanted to share the portion dealing with that last topic. Noxon, who also wrote the screen adaptation of I Am Number Four, is no stranger to having to develop scripts within such a market and trend-driven climate, so we wanted to talk to her about what exactly is going on with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (another script she wrote) and why it’s seemingly locked in perpetual production turmoil. In the process we also learned that Noxon has been tapped to write Disney’s live-action Tinkerbell movie, Tink, and how she plans to make its focus different than most Disney fairytale movies.
Marti Noxon: That’s a really good question and I really can’t say because my experience with Lionsgate was always great. They are committed to doing it and really smart and my experience with Craig [Gillespie] was, again, great. Everybody seemed very pleased with where the script ended up, so it’s really a little baffling. I would say it probably, in my suspicions, has to do with the marketplace. It’s very hard to sell a comedy-horror concept. As much as it’s already pre-sold and popular much in the same way Fright Night was, it’s still a little risky. At the same time, you get a success like Zombieland, but then something will come along that makes people nervous again, so I feel like there’s a little bit of that problem, particularly on the casting side. It’s hard to find an actress who is super hot because they might not be inclined to take a risk on something that has a 70 / 30% chance of working, you know? I think it’s more to do with the marketplace than the logistics of the actual project.
Movies.com: Is it as difficult as an outsider like me imagines to get a wholly original project made these days? Do wholly original concepts still have a chance or has the market made that much harder?
Noxon: Oh, it’s really hard. I would say it’s close to impossible to get something that’s not, in the genre world, already somehow branded. And even most solid dramas are still based on popular books. Writing something that’s just straight out of your brain without any kind of IP is really tough, but we do our best, but the market is why I’m tending to do stuff based on other material.
Movies.com: So what is next for you in the film world?
Noxon: A couple of things. I’m doing a re-write on Elizabeth Banks as Tinkerbell, kind of in the Enchanted world. It’s about her coming to the real world in a non-fairy form. That’s about all I can say about it, but part of my attraction to that was what we were talking about earlier [the aforementioned gender politics].
It’s hard to write or even find a movie for eight- or nine-year-old girls that isn’t about, ya’ know, “I need a boyfriend!” I mean, Tinkerbell has a job! She’s one of the few characters in that fantasy world that actually has a job. I have a seven-year-old daughter and I want more movies for her where afterward I don’t have to make something up like, “You know, the job of running a kingdom is really hard work, and she and the Prince are going to have to communicate a lot…”