Q: What is your background as a writer? What influenced you to pursue this crazy career?
I'll be the first to admit that I'm a jack of all trades. I love all mediums, all genres, as long as it's a good story. So, while my agents hate that I'm not and easily packaged M.Night style storyteller, I get out there and try do my best whether it's in film, television, or comics. With this approach, I've written everything from a family adventure movie for Disney to a dark graphic novel for BOOM! Studios. And I think this eclectic mix of interests comes from my early years as a comic book junky. I collected in the 80s, and had everything from Charlton Comics' MONSTER HUNTERS to the Marvel classics like X-MEN and PUNISHER. My older brother was a super reader, plowing through Horatio Hornblower novels when he was like 9, and I took endless shit for reading my flimsy comics. But I was always a visual storyteller, preferring to act things out for my parents, and as such, comics, film and TV fit that interest better than books. I actually never planned on being a writer when I was a kid. I always thought I'd be an actor. I started performing on stage when I was eight. And I got more and more into it through high school. But in college, I was pegged as a "character" actor. And I got kind of pissed that I was no longer a "leading man." So, I decided to write a one-man show to demonstrate my star power. The irony is that one-man show became my last acting gig. I was hooked on writing and realized I loved telling all the parts of the story, not just one role. I wrote another play that year, and my first screenplay. After that, I was on a path towards screenwriting and never got off.
Q: What are some of the recent projects you have worked on?
My last produced credit was TRAVELER, a TV show I created for ABC. It was an amazing learning experience. When I sold the pitch to ABC, the idea could not have been more in the zeitgeist. We were what's called a "serialized thriller" in the vein of LOST and 24. And that type of show was really hot. And we made a good pilot, so we got picked up to series. But we were slotted to be a mid-season show in the '06-'07 season. And in the fall of '06, every other serialized thriller outside of LOST and 24 failed. I mean, KIDNAPPED, DAYBREAK, THE NINE, they all went down. And we had execs telling us "don't worry, you're mid-season, it will be okay by then." But it clearly wasn't. So by the time we finished our episodes it was like getting all dressed for the prom with no one to take you out the door. We just sat on the shelf, and finally got our 8 episodes on the air last summer. If you missed it, you weren't alone. If you've seen it and are still pissed that we ended on a huge ass cliffhanger, you can check out my closure blog, which I think is still up on TVGuide.com. We had a great group of fans, and they were understandably pissed that we'd left our show open-ended. So, I wanted to give them some closure for the show and wrote a long blog that told them where the story and characters were going. I think the fans appreciated it.
Q: I liked NORTH WIND, sort of like an ice-age ROAD WARRIOR. How did the idea for that come about?
Well, being a child of the 80s, ROAD WARRIOR was definitely one of my touchstone movies. And I remember being freaked out by THE DAY AFTER, which was on television back when everyone watched TV movies. So, as a kid, I loved post-apocalyptic stories because they showed me that society would survive somehow, even if the world became a crappy place where people killed each other over oil... wait, a second... Anyway, the fear of nuclear war really died out in the 90s. But a new fear emerged in climate change. And I remember a conversation with my brother and step-father about how global warming could actually lead to the next Ice Age. My brother suggested an idea of a big sci-fi thriller with clones and people hibernating, but I wanted to get back to the stuff I liked in those post-apocalyptic movies. So, I came up with a revenge story about actions and consequence, something that tied into the environmental themes of the story, and I was off to the races.
Q: Who are your favorite characters in the book and why?
I think my favorite characters in the book are the Skinrunner and Pak. There's a lot of Western (the genre) influence on the story, and I always loved the Man with No Name archetype. The guy who rides into town, kicks some ass, and leads by example. But he's only as good as the legacy he leaves behind. And in NORTH WIND, the Skinrunner mentors Pak, trying to teach him the idea that revenge is an empty action. Pak's character wants to kill the man who destroyed his way of life. But the Skinrunner knows that this guy will eventually pay for his actions. And Pak's need for revenge, which is really a selfish action, might keep that man from getting his just desserts. The Skinrunner's kind of like a Buddhist gunslinger. And Pak his volatile young apprentice. And, I hope, people are wondering what Pak will choose right up to the end of the story.
Q: What are you working on now?
I'm currently adapting NORTH WIND into a feature for film producer John Davis. John makes big movies. This will be no exception when we hopefully get it on screen. I'm also adapting another graphic novel called THE DAMNED for DreamWorks. It's an awesome horror-noir book by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt full of undead gangs and plenty of demons. Get to stretch my horror legs a bit.
Q: How can people contact you?
I'm on Facebook. Though don't be offended if I'm slow to write back. I'm not on there that much, especially now that Scrabulous has been scrapped.
Q: What did you think of THE DARK KNIGHT (LOL. I think I'm the only person who didn't like it!).
I'm totally down with THE DARK KNIGHT, though I don't think it's as good as BATMAN BEGINS. Actually, BATMAN BEGINS is my favorite superhero flick, so that's a tough comparison. But THE DARK KNIGHT lived up to the hype for me, especially Ledger's performance. And that was a hell of a lot of hype!