Pacific Rim hits theaters on July 12, but fans can get an early taste of what’s to come when graphic novel prequel Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero is released this week.
Dread Central recently had the chance to chat with Travis Beacham, who wrote both the film’s screenplay and Tales from Year Zero, about the highly anticipated upcoming film and its already announced sequel, the aforementioned prequel, and the video game tie-in. Read on for all of that and more, including a few sample pages from Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero, which is available everywhere tomorrow, June 5th!
AMANDA DYAR: You have stated before that you wrote what you wanted to see in theatres. What were some of your inspirations for writing Pacific Rim, and is the final product what you hoped it would be?
TRAVIS BEACHAM: Yeah, I think it is, definitely. It isn’t exactly like the first draft of the script or whatever, but changes happen all the time. It was in a lot of ways exactly the movie I wanted to see. I think the inspiration is that I am a huge fan of monster movies and robots, which is a huge part of my storytelling and what I get really excited about. I think my thoughts were that my favorite movie hadn’t been made yet, and what would that movie look like.
AMANDA DYAR: When you wrote the screenplay for Pacific Rim, did you ever think it would come this far and make it to the big screen?
TRAVIS: I think when you’re writing this stuff up, you have to be optimistic about it. When you have ideas, then you can’t go into it asking the questions, “Hey, do people want to see this, or could this happen?” The most you can do is let an idea flow, and that was definitely my opinion in putting this together. So it wasn’t that I never thought is it going to come this far–it was more like I never pictured that at all. You are just so in the moment and focused on the idea in front of you that you don’t focus on if it is going to happen or not happen. But seeing it on the big screen, I think it has been really very moving. I had an idea I was really in love with and nuts about, and seeing it actually become reality is a very gratifying experience. I feel lucky to have an experience quite as good… [I] find myself extraordinarily lucky. It has been a very rewarding experience.
AMANDA DYAR: Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero will hit stores on June 5th and serves as a prequel to the film. What can you tell us about the graphic novel and why fans should pick it up before watching the movie?
TRAVIS: The movie takes place a decade or so after the first Kaiju attack. In the graphic novel you get to see the first Kaiju attack, the creation of the Jaeger program, and you get to see some of the characters in their early days of the academy. I think if you read the graphic novel beforehand, then you get certain resonances that you wouldn’t otherwise get. Since the graphic novel was created by the same people that created the movie, then I think it serves as a very organic, very sincere lead-in to the movie. You can experience the movie without reading the graphic novel if you’re so inclined and not feel like you have not had a satisfying experience. But if you do read the graphic novel, then I think it gives a bit more to build on.
AMANDA DYAR: The cover and sample pages are just stunning. Are you a big fan of comics, and if so, can you tell us some of your favorites?
TRAVIS: Oh yeah, definitely. I loved Spiderman, X-Men, and I have always been more of a Superman fan than a Batman fan. I like both of them, but with Superman I like the optimism. More recently, I am a big fan of Planetary, Hellboy, and anything Alan Moore does, especially League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; I think that is one of my favorites. Yeah, I devour that stuff.
AMANDA DYAR: A few screenshots have been leaked online for a Pacific Rim video game. Will you be consulting or working with the developers on this project? And to you what would make a great video game?
TRAVIS: Honestly, my preferences would be a rampage style from like the Eighties with literally just monsters fighting robots. I think for me that would be a really fun video game. I haven’t actually been very involved with the development of the video game, and I am not sure how much story is going to figure in and what the narrative will be or if it will be just a fighting game. I know Guillermo del Toro has been extremely involved in the development of it and what the video game should look like. I am looking forward to playing it after talking with others who have gotten to play around with it.
AMANDA DYAR: Do you play games, and if so, what are you playing right now?
TRAVIS: I don’t have as much time to play games as I’d like, but I like sandbox-style gameplay. I really like deviating from the mission and going around and exploring the world. Most recently I have played the third Assassin’s Creed game; I am a big fan of the franchise. The context in which it takes place is something you rarely see in video games. I really like the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and I honestly never finish the stories. It just kind of evolved into me stealing cars and running them off cliffs. Someone will say, ‘Did you get to such and such point or mission?’ and I am like, ‘There are missions?’ But yeah, those are some of the video games that I like.
AMANDA DYAR: A script for Pacific Rim 2 is already in development; what can you tell us about that? And how does it feel to be penning ideas for a sequel when the first film hasn’t hit theatres yet?
TRAVIS: It is fun; it is a lot of fun! When you watch Star Wars or Star Trek or anything as a fan, then you naturally ask questions about what happened before this or what is going to happen after this. I have created Pacific Rim as basically a fan of Pacific Rim. From very early on you fall in love with the characters and the story and you are going to wander what happened before the opening credits and what’s going to happen after the end credits. I can’t say too much about the sequel, but I can say that it grew very organically out of a love for this world and its characters. From very early on before we had any idea about the excitement there would be for Pacific Rim, we were very curious about what is to come of these people after this movie. So I think it is probably going to answer those questions.
Related News: Visit our Pacific Rim archive
AMANDA DYAR: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers who dream about writing scripts for movies?
TRAVIS: I would say that they should write what they love basically. Writers often say that they like it an awful lot, but you have to find something you love. Don’t think about impressing somebody or winning anything; what you have to think about first and foremost is what you want to see. What is the story in your heart that is itching to get out? Because you are not going to write anything better than you are going to write that. I think that is something that all writers have to constantly, constantly keep in mind. You have to think that if the world ended tomorrow I would be proudest of what I am writing no matter if no one else saw it. Write what you love, and that is what you should spend your time doing.
AMANDA DYAR: What other projects do you have in the works, or what do you hope to work on next?
TRAVIS: Yeah, I’ve got a sci-fi television show that will be running on AMC called “Ballistic City,” and I am developing that with Joseph Kosinski, who will direct the pilot hopefully if it gets up and running. And I would love to do more graphic novels even if it is in the Pacific Rim universe or not. I am always looking for the next movie and hopefully will have more opportunities to do original material that I can make up. There is something different about taking a property you kind of adopt in comparison to something you get to work on yourself and shape with your own imagination.
Pacific Rim Synopsis
From acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro comes Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ epic sci-fi action adventure Pacific Rim. When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes–a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)–who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.
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