Slash Film recently sat down with screenwriter Chris Weitz to discuss his upcoming Disney fantasy film, Cinderella, but talk later turned to his next project; the first Star Wars standalone film to be directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla). Weitz spoke about his excitement for the project, the secrecy behind the production, how he’s rewriting the films first screenplay by the original screenwriter, Gary Whitta, and what fans should expect from this spinoff film being part of the Star Wars universe.
/Film: How did you go about getting the Star Wars movie, because originally Gary Whitta was writing and we thought that was the core but then you came on?
Chris Weitz: Well I think it still is the core. But in terms of…in a weird way, it was like meeting for any assignment. Go in, talk about how you work and talk about the idea, but of course there was A) A huge security component to it. I wasn’t able to see the script until kind of after I was brought on board. And B) I saw Star Wars when I was 7 and it was a formative experience in my life, let alone in the notion of filmmaking. I’m probably only working on this stuff because I did have that experience then. But it completely possessed me when I was a child and it was a huge part of my kind of emotional make up. So I tried to be as cool as possible in these meetings while still being aware if I got the assignment I was going to be able to work on something I’ve been dreaming of doing.
Well with Cinderella, I believe you came on board and there was already and script and the same is the case this time. What are the similarities and differences, work wise, between coming on board Cinderella and Star Wars?
Um…I mean it all eventually comes down to understanding the nature of what a given film is and making the characters people who you want to be as invested in as possible. I think in this case I’m not working from a whole cloth, right? So there’s a very strong structure from Gary’s
work and that’s a huge advantage to me. But just like with Cinderella, it’s a director’s medium so it’s really about my making what Gareth needs to do his film.
Are you still working on it?
You’re known has a filmmaker who does genre but genre largely based in reality. Do you think that is why you were brought aboard this film or should fans still expect a big rousing space spectacle, which is not something you’re known for?
They need to expect everything because it’s Star Wars. They have to. If I don’t do that I’m failing in my job.
A movie like this, even more than Episode VII, is surrounded by rumors. We don’t know a title, we don’t know what it’s about – at least we think we know – but do you read that kind of stuff and how to do react if you read something that’s true and something that’s false?
I try not to read it because I don’t know how it would help me do the job that I have to do, which is to make the very best version of this movie possible. I think it was good to know a bit of what fans are hoping for but then again, I’m a fan as well so I know what I’m hoping for and I try to sort of take that as my lead and not get my head too occupied with what’s on the Internet.
Disney and Lucasfilm seem to have faith in Chris Weitz as he is an accomplished writer who received an academy award nomination forAbout A Boy, starring Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult. The standalone Star Wars film is said to feature a team of intergalactic bounty hunters, led by Boba Fett, on a top-secret mission from the rebel alliance to retrieve the blueprints of the first Death Star from the Empire. Actress Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) has been cast in the female lead which remains kept under wraps. Actor Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) is also in consideration for an undisclosed r