Director McG Emerges To Talk About ‘Masters of The Universe’ Tone, Villains, And More – Likens Skeletor To Hans Gruber
A reboot of the perennial 1980’s cartoon favorite Masters Of The Universe has been in development for years, working it’s way through multiple scripts and writers until this year when it was announced Sony Pictures appointed director McG to helm the new live-action film about the most powerful man in the universe. Yes, the same movie studio that brought you the failed Ghostbusters reboot and all those terrible Spider-man (though Andrew Garfield was a bomb as Spider-Man) and Ghostrider movies, tapped the guy that’s responsible for Terminator Salavation. While the groans of fandom here and wide can still be heard at the involvement of McG, there is a recent word from the director himself that may give some fans a moment of pause.
In an interview with IGN at FOX’s Television Critics Association earlier this week, McG spoke about the film’s casting, villains and tone.
He-Man and The Masters of The Universe, in case you don’t know, followed Prince Adam, royalty on the planet Eternia and possessor of a magic sword that transforms him into the most powerful man in the universe, He-Man. Together with his able sidekicks, including Battlecat, he fights the evil Skeletor, his arch enemy who’s like, y’know, a skeleton and the like.
Shortly after the announcement of McG involvement with MOTU, word had spread that Sony had been looking at Hercules star Kellan Lutz to fill those fur briefs and hold aloft the sword of Greyskull – aka He-Man.
When asked about Lutz’ “in the running” status, McG had this to say:
We haven’t cast the role yet, but I like Kellan very much. Obviously, we need a talented entertainer, but we also need a certain physicality, which he embodies. He’ll be considered very, very closely. We haven’t gotten to the casting process yet. Kellan’s a good guy, and we had a great meeting, and he’s passionate about He-Man, he’s passionate about the Adam story. He really knows a lot about it. I was charmed by his focus and intensity. He’ll be considered very, very carefully. We’re just not there yet. We’ve got to get the movie on its feet, then we’ll cast the movie.
Time will tell on Lutz but given Hollywood’s response to the need for more diversity, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see Terry Crews for He-Man, and Kevin Hart for Prince Adam.
In regards to the film’s tone, McG likened it to Marvel recent hit of films, particularly James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy:
I think we want to honor the fan base, first and foremost. We also need to be cognizant of the incredible resonance of what Kevin Feige is doing with Marvel, and the balance of full-bodied entertainment. That it’s both credible and emotional, action-packed, and the story of a hero’s journey. It’s the genesis of He-Man, it’s the becoming of He-Man. We want it to be clicking on all cylinders in that regard. We’re not going to stop until we get it right. Listen, I love that movie with Frank [Langella] and Dolph [Lundgren]. I watch it, and it’s a tremendous pleasure for me to watch. I’m raised on the toys, and I’m down at Mattel all the time. We’re just really focused on getting it right. I want it to be full-bodied entertainment that respects the fan base, and is more emotional than you might imagine, inventive and original. Obviously, we’re all cognizant of what’s going on with Game of Thrones. It’s incredible. We’re cognizant of what’s going on in Guardians of the Galaxy. James Gunn’s doing a great job. We’re going to try to answer the call and take it higher.
One of the least worst things in the 87′ Masters of the Universe movie, was Frank Langella‘s Skeletor. The seasoned actor, and the film’s biggest star, made due with some extremely unreadable dialogue and rendered it into first-class movie villain gold (see above video). The question to McG was, does this NEW Masters of the Universe need a big name actor to get a big performance, as well as be a name to sell tickets. To whit, McG responded:
I think the characters are bigger than any given actor. I think the right actor is going to be what’s most important. I’m not really hung up on, “Oh, it’s got to be a star.” I just want someone who’s right for it. I enjoy working with big movie stars. I enjoy working with discoveries. We’re going to do what’s right, so it embodies the energy. Skeletor needs to be an incredible menace. I really think — again — I mean it when I say Vader, Gruber, Skeletor.
In the same interview, McG also addresses whether or not Prince Adam and He-man will be two separate actors, if BattleCat will be featured, as well as what other characters might make the roster – likening Evil Lynn to Suicide Squad‘s Enchantress, for example. See the full interview HERE.
The fact McG is very passionate about doing justice to this property is a step in the right direction. However, he mentions Marvel/DC way too much and seems he, and the Studio, are trying to respond to Marvel’s success by copying or cherry picking the things that are working in their films. That should be suspect if not a little bit. Unless it’s a matter of inspiration and motivation, the focus should never be about what the other guys are doing. You don’t see an infomercial for 6 Minute Abs and capitalize on it by making 5-Minute Abs unless it’s for the express purpose of making a quick buck. No, you Billy Banks that shit and make Tae Bo instead.
Excusing the shitty workout analogies, the point is, to examine the material and figuring out the main pillars on which to build the foundation. James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy had heart, charm, humor, and a little spectacle but it was based around the idea of finding family in the unlikeliest of places – taking a crew of varied misfits who don’t really like one another and bringing them together because they need each other. An idea solidified in the moment when Groot huddles his fellow Guardians into a branch cocoon and says “We Are Groot” before sacrificing himself to save them.
It sounds great that McG is paying attention to Game of Thrones and Marvel and wants a little of everything for Masters of the Universe, it plays for a good picture in one’s head, but likening something to something else usually means your something doesn’t stand on its own accord. A GOOD product is a product lesser products want to compare themselves to.
Masters of the Universe is (sorry kids) a corny ass product that is matched only to its homoerotic undertones – what with such unfortunate named characters like Ram-Man, Fisto, and Tung Lashor. Everything McG said is already sounding 1000 times better than the source material. Let’s just hope though that he’s not set out to make Orko the next Groot.