Somewhere, somehow, a rumor started going around the internet (imagine that) that the new horror movie about an alien eating people on a space station, Life, was secretly about the Spider-Man villain, Venom. Sony, which is distributing Life also produces the Spider-Man movies, so when a new Venom movie was recently announced for 2018, the conclusion as made that obviously Life is a prequel for Venom. Adding to this, there are quick little snippets of Spider-Man 3 (a movie in which Venom appears) in the Life trailer for unexplained reasons.
And the thing is, Life screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are totally okay with you thinking that if you want to. As the writers of Deadpool and its upcoming sequel (more on that here), they know what that Marvel title card can do for a film’s box office.
Ahead, the duo discuss this rumor that they really seem to like, why they decided to make a horror movie, and they give us an update on the prospects of Zombieland 2.
Apparently you made a Venom movie.
Paul Wernick: Yeah, yeah. Believe me, spread that rumor, man. If we can slap a Marvel title card on the front of this, we would have.
Venom was very much known for entering people’s mouths and eating them from the inside out, just like Calvin.
Reese: Yeah, so there you go.
There’s a scene from Spider-Man 3 in the trailer. Did they tell you they’re going to do that before you see it?
Reese: It’s actually much more common than you think. An earlier trailer of ours had the shot of Mars on it, it’s definitely not in our movie. They had shot the surface of Mars. So that was also taken from another movie. You’d be surprised how common it is. You know, the Spider-Man 3 thing, someone did a great job of sniffing that out. But it’s more common than you think.
Which gave more fuel to the whole Venom thing…
Reese: Yeah, good point. If you want to spread the rumor, that’s okay with us.
Wernick: Yeah. This is Venom.
Life is a horror movie, which is very different for you two. Even Zombieland was funny.
Reese: Well, the thing is I grew up a terrified young man – like Alien and The Shining and movies like that truly traumatized me to the point where I spent my fifth grade year unable to sleep. I moved into my brother’s room because I was so terrified. So, I was just tapping into that.
Did you have to stop yourself from putting jokes in the movie?
Wernick: Absolutely, yeah. I mean, everyone sees us as “the funny guys,” and our instinct is always like, well, what’s the joke in this scene? And it was a fun muscle to flex, to really just let’s just scare the fuck out of people and set aside the comedy. The real goal of Deadpool was to make the audience laugh. I think this was just to absolutely terrify them.
How conscience were you of Alien with this movie? Because if you’re trapped on a spaceship with an alien, there’s only so many options of what a character can do. Is this accurate?
Reese: That’s absolutely true. But the other thought we had was that, while it’s true and while we adore Alien – it’s one of our very favorite movies – it’s nearly a 40-year-old movie. I mean, it’s not even last generation’s movie, it’s two generations ago’s movie. I’m glad that whoever made When Harry Met Sally was not worried about stepping on the toes of Casablanca, you know what I mean? It’s like literally that much time has passed. So we just felt like this was sort of Alien for a new generation – but also, a movie that was a little more grounded in the sense that we really wanted to make it feel like it could happen today as opposed to a distant future in a galaxy far, far away, so to speak.
Life doesn’t mess around with a lot of exposition.
Reese: We tried to make it really simple. I mean, Alien was a haunted house movie, really, and we thought, what’s a scarier place than the International Space Station? Space is really already set up to kill you from the moment you get up there, right?
Is this movie a one-off for you or would you ever think about doing another?
Reese: Well, it’s so funny. Daniel Espinosa has a rule, which is never do a sequel. He really hates the idea of doing sequels. So if it were to ever happen, it’s going to happen without our director, unfortunately. But that said, if it were to succeed financially – which is by no means guaranteed in this world – but if it were, I think it’s certainly right to see humanity have to start to deal with this thing down on the planet. You know, why not? It could be really fun, and I think the studio would be supportive of that. So we’re certainly not averse to the idea of sequels work. We’re working on Zombieland 2 and Deadpool 2, so as long as we like a first movie, we’re thrilled to keep running with it.
You mention Zombieland 2. Is this actually going to happen?
Wernick: We hope so. You know, again, we’ve written a script. The studio loves it and the cast have all read it and loves it. Ruben [Fleischer] wants to direct it. It’s now just about making the deals and all the numbers work – and that’s above our pay grade. We’re hoping it all comes together – and everyone involves wants it to, so that’s always a good sign. You know, all the actors are obviously a lot more expensive than they were…
Your cast is is a lot more famous now and one, Emma Stone, just won an Oscar.
Wernick: Exactly. I mean, it’s a bunch of Oscar nominees and winners, and big stars, and deservedly so. So we’re hoping that it comes together, and very soon.
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