In the end, it took fanboys to bring Clash of the Titans back to the big screen.
The idea of a remake of the classic 1981 sword-and-sandals mythological adventure movie had been floating around Hollywood for almost a decade before it found itself in the hands of longtime Clash fanatic, Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier. And so it was only natural that Leterrier placed the rewrite in the hands of two fellow fans, co-screenwriters Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay. (Spoilers ahead!)
"We all had a really simpatico vision of what it should be," Manfredi told SCI FI Wire. "We holed up with Louis in an office and really tried to get inside his head and see what he wanted and kind of constructed it that way."
The writers started off with a draft by Travis Beacham and began to rework the material to fit Leterrier's vision. "There had been a mythological take with a lot of gods from different cultures and belief systems," says Manfredi. "We wanted to pull it directly back to Greek mythology and see those gods we had grown up reading about obsessively from Edith Hamilton. We wanted all of the touchstones from the original—the Kraken, the Medusa, the Calibos, the witches."
The writers were tasked with modernizing Clash while also retaining the "fun adventure movie" aspects that fans loved about the 1981 film. "Anything that we remembered fondly, which was a lot, we wanted to find some way to do in the movie," says Hay. "What changed is a lot of the stuff around the character journey for Perseus [Sam Worthington]. [We wanted] to see the whole movie through Perseus' eyes and create some of the supporting characters that we are going [to see] on this journey."
The writers had fun working with Leterrier, who they say had a contagious enthusiasm for the project both in preproduction and on set. "He's so energetic and so enthusiastic," says Manfredi. "He combines that with just an amazing visual sense. The action he he shoots is so imaginative and so kinetic and fun. It's perfect for the kind of adventure movie we were trying to make."
"I think his personality actually infuses the movie itself," adds Hay. "His kind of energy and kind of lack of cynicism comes through in the movie."
As fans, the writers couldn't help but make a few overt nods to the original, such as the inclusion of everyone's favorite mechanical owl, Bubo. "They designed and shot, at some point in the cut, a cameo by Bubo," says Hay. "We honestly don't know if it's the final cut or not."
To cap off the writing team's adventures, Leterrier and his team assembled a pretty exceptional cast to add a little add weight to the epically powerful gallery of characters. "It's great," says Manfredi. "To see [Liam Neeson] for the first time say, "Release the Kraken!" It's pretty exciting. "To have people like him and Ralph Fiennes in the movie, I think they bring the perfect combination of gravitas."
"They both have such a presence to them," adds Hay. "You have to suspend your disbelief a little bit less to believe that they're on Olympus."
Clash of the Titans opens April 2.