Exclusive: Laeta Kalogridis Talks Ghost in the Shell Movie & More

Posted by: Sheila Roberts

MoviesOnline spoke exclusively with Laeta Kalogridis in New York today about her upcoming new film, the Martin Scorsese thriller “Shutter Island” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Kalogridis is an Executive Producer and Screenwriter on the film which is based on the 2003 Dennis Lehane novel. In 2004, she co-wrote the English adaptation of the screenplay for “Night Watch” with Timur Bekmambetov and “Alexander” with Oliver Stone. Kalogridis shares an Executive Producer credit on “Avatar” with James Cameron with whom she has collaborated for almost a decade, rewriting and polishing scripts for a variety of projects.

Our full interview with Kalogridis about her work on “Shutter Island” will appear later next week. In the meantime, we thought you’d enjoy reading what she had to tell us about her upcoming projects including “Demonkeeper” and the popular Japanese manga, “Ghost in the Shell,” which she is adapting into a live-action feature film.

Laeta Kalogridis is a very talented writer and we really appreciated her time. Here’s what she had to say:

Q: Can you talk about your upcoming projects? I know you’ve got “Demonkeeper.” Is that in the horror genre?

LK: It’s not really. It’s more of a fun horror movie than a straight up horror movie. It’s certainly not a hostile kind of horror movie. (Laughs) It’s a little bit of a – in my mind anyway – a throwback to the really fun movies when I was a kid, those great Amblin films like “Gremlins.” I mean, you know, just the really wonderful kind of family movie that you can take [the kids to] that has the scary stuff for kids but that everyone can enjoy. I have children so I really like the idea of something we can all go see together. “Shutter Island” would not be that movie. (Laughs) Not until later. No. And also, I’m writing “Ghost in the Shell” for DreamWorks for Steven Spielberg.

Q: Is that a remake of the 1995 film or is that an adaptation of the earlier manga?

LK: “Ghost in the Shell” was originally the manga. The anime came from the original graphic novel and then -- and that anime, as you know, is a relatively famous, groundbreaking piece of material -- also generated two seasons of an animated television show as well. And this is an adaptation of the original manga, the original comic book that sort of began everything.

Q: It sounds like it’s going to be a really intelligent, visually cool sci-fi film. Do you see this as possibly paving the way for more live action adaptations of anime and mangas in Hollywood?

LK: I can’t really speak to the trend because certainly a lot of the stateside comic book sources and even U.K. comics that have been mined, I think there’s always room for new source material just like people. I also think that a lot of the themes of anime as an art form are much more adult and darker than what people sometimes associate with the kinds of four-quadrant movies. For me, I don’t really know the answer to that, but I do think that Bill Gibson’s vision of an Eastern-informed West, where so much of our cultural reference points start to come from this shared literary history, I think that that’s definitely happening. And so, as mythos kind of evolves, and I think anime and manga are slowly becoming a big part of our mythos, I think yes, they’re sort of a natural fit for films.

Q: How does working with Martin Scorsese on “Shutter Island” compare to working with James Cameron on “Avatar”?

LK: Well it’s very much apples to oranges because they are such different people. I have to say “Avatar” has been such a rewarding experience. I mean, I wrote “Shutter Island” while we were filming “Avatar.” That’s how long “Avatar” has been going on. I’ve been doing “Avatar” for 4-1/2 years. In terms of working experience, I can certainly say that one of them was longer and I can also say that… I mean, I love Jim. I love Jim. I’ve actually been working with him off and on for a little over 8 years now and we’ve written two other scripts together. It was different primarily in that obviously the personalities of the two directors are very different, but they’re both exceedingly focused perfectionists with very singular visions. So, in that way, it’s similar. But obviously, in terms of their directing style, they’re just very different men. I tell people I’ll never have another year like the year where I got to work with both of them. I’ll never have another year like that because everything about both experiences was wonderful for me.

Q: Do you see yourself working on the “Avatar” sequel?

LK: (Laughs) You’ll have to call Jim.

“Shutter Island” opens in theaters on February 19th. Watch for our upcoming full interview with Laeta Kalogridis where she will tell us all about it.

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