Marvel and DC comics franchises have come to dominate the superhero movie genre, but that isn’t stopping longtime friends and collaborators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg from entering the fray with Robert Kirkman’s Invincible.
The duo’s latest adaptation, announced in April, will bring Kirkman’s Invincible–a superhero comics series that the Walking Dead creator launched in 2003–to life on the big screen. In an interview at a “Film Independent at LACMA” screening of Preacher in Los Angeles, Rogen said he’s more focused on making a good movie than trying to compete with Marvel or DC.
“My favorite of the superhero movies that have come out recently have been Logan and [Spider-Man: Homecoming], which are both movies that would be great movies if you removed the fact that they were superheroes,” he said. “They were good movies where one of the characters was a superhero. And I think that it’s an exciting thing that people have accepted that.”
Invincible follows superhero Mark Grayson, the son of a hero named Omni-Man. Markus inherits his father’s abilities and the books portray his struggles to cope with his powers and responsibility as a teenage hero.
Goldberg and Rogen began their current run of adaptations with the oft-maligned Green Hornet movie in 2011, but they’ve learned a lot since then, especially from their work bringing the Garth Ennis-written comics series Preacher to AMC.
“We did The Green Hornet and learned a ton of s*** that now we’re re-applying,” Goldberg said.
Preacher, which rather infamously has diverged far from its source material, provided its own set of lessons, especially regarding whether to stick to the books or alter the story as needed. “The biggest lesson is to do both things simultaneously,” Goldberg said. “Throw it all away and come up with something completely different, and then also don’t throw anything away, and then discuss the two options and then see what makes sense.”
“It’s a movie, so a lot of stuff it’s just like, there’s no time for that, there’s no time for that, there’s no time for that,” He continued. “Whereas with [Preacher] we’re like, we can get there in the third year if we want. We could hypothetically do all sorts of things down the road. With Invincible, we have to do something in 120 minutes, or whatever it is.”
Despite that, Goldberg said Invincible will resemble its source material more than Preacher has so far. “We just started writing it, but we really are on the same page as Robert Kirkman,” he said. “I think we have like a really clear direction for it that is way closer to the comic than [Preacher] has been.”
That can still change, of course. Goldberg said that when they originally pitched the Preacher adaptation to AMC, it was as a “straight up” adaptation of the books, Sin City-style. That had changed by the time they shot the show’s pilot, thanks in large part to the influence of Preacher creator Garth Ennis, who told them to alter as much as they needed to.
Making Invincible a good movie first–one that would be just as good if it didn’t involve superheroes at all–remains the focus for now.
“That is much more an idea I can wrap my head around as a writer than this ‘universe-building,’ as it were, and how to introduce one piece of what might ultimately be a 30-piece puzzle,” Rogen said, referring to the cinematic universes being built by Marvel and DC. “Like with Sausage Party, that was like, a movie. If it wasn’t food, it would still be a movie. It worked. In real life, you could work out all those analogies. And that’s been our approach.”