Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Interview with Screenwriter David Johnson

Question: How did you get involved with this project? Did they come to you about doing it?

DAVID LESLIE JOHNSON: Yeah. I had worked with the Appian Way production company before with Orphan, a couple years ago. We had a great time on it and were trying to find something else. They came to me with the idea that they wanted to do a Little Red Riding Hood project and basically threw out the idea of adapting the fairy tale. That’s how it came about.

In taking on a story that’s so well known by so many people for generations, were there things that you knew you would have to include and things you knew needed to be cut?

JOHNSON: Yeah, for sure. I wanted to include as much of the fairy tale as possible, for that reason. Everybody knows it and the story’s power comes from its familiarity, so I definitely wanted it to feel like Red Riding Hood. I wanted to keep the fairy tale intact, as much as possible. That’s why it comes at the end and everything else is the events that lead up to the story we know. There were parts of the fairy tale that just could not fit in with the narrative we had. It just couldn’t be done. So, we included the dream sequence towards the end to hit all those beats that people are expecting to see. 

When you’re dealing with a story that’s not very long in page count, is it freeing to have so much creative space, or is it daunting because you have to figure out how to fill in the story?

JOHNSON: It’s both, at the same time. It was definitely daunting, at first, because I had the thought of, “How does this become a feature film?” But then, once I sat down with the story and started asking myself, “What don’t we know about Red Riding Hood?,” I realized that you don’t even know her name. If you start fleshing it out, she’s going to grandmother’s house, but she’s obviously coming from somewhere. We know she has a mother. It was just about back-tracking from there. And then, the other aspect that helped flesh it out a little bit was just looking at the themes of the story. The wolf takes the short path, and she takes the other path. It’s all about making choices, and that’s where the love triangle came about. It was illustrating with characters the idea of making a choice. Those guys represent two different paths she could take. Both the theme and the story helped blow out the world a little bit. 

Check out the entire interview here

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