09May 18

The New Indian Express - The Incredible Hulk

Joss Whedon's comment on 'Avengers' script inappropriate: Zak Penn

NEW DELHI: Hollywood scriptwriter Zak Penn has responded to Joss Whedon's comments that he solely wrote the script of the superhero ensemble film "The Avengers", saying the filmmaker is entitled to his opinion but he is "wrong".

Penn, who has impressive resume of films such as "X-2", "X-Men: The Last Stand", "The Incredible Hulk" and Steven Spielberg's latest sci-fi adventure "Ready Player One", said he found Whedon's comments "inappropriate".

"He (Whedon) is entitled to his opinion but he is wrong. Obviously, I don't agree with him. I found his statement a little bit inappropriate. I don't want to comment on it too much. "I worked on a draft for 'Avengers' for four years and he came in and rewrote it. It's not like I wrote a story and handed it to him and he threw it out. That's not how things work. He should not be talking about it in public, if you ask me," Penn told PTI in a telephonic interview from Los Angeles. Whedon, who directed the first two 'Avengers' films, had recently said he wrote the first Avengers story alone but had to share the credit with Penn. "I started at square one on the script. I mean, straight up. I don't wanna rag on it, but I fought (for) that credit.I was very upset about it.I know how the Guild works, first guy on a movie and all that, but I've never had good luck with arbitrations. I read (Penn's script) one time, and I've never seen it since.I was like, 'Nope. There's nothing here," Whedon had said in a recent interview to Thrillist. Whedon was succeeded by Russo Brothers -- Anthony and Joe -- for Marvel's latest box office blockbuster "Avengers: Infinity War" and its follow-up next year. Penn, who once worked on many Marvel films, has fond memories of working on the initial draft of "Hulk" and finally writing 2008's "The Incredible Hulk", which is set to air in India on June 8 on Sony PIX. The writer-director is happy with the character's journey, whom he calls "the big guy", in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "I think it is great. I have always loved the character. I worked on it. I started working on the first movie when I was in my 20s, but that script got thrown away. I have always loved the character and it is great to see how he has been embraced by the audiences. I am happy for the big guy," he says. He just had a huge success with "Ready Player One" and Penn credits the director for making it one of his most memorable collaborations in Hollywood as he believes one is as good as the person they work with. "There is no comparison to working with Steven Spielberg. It is a greater experience than working on other ones combined together. What makes scriptwriting either really fun or terrible is the people you work with. "There are times when you get lucky and get to work with a master like Spielberg. Then, there are people who make it not fun, no matter how fun the end product is. " Penn, 49, says scriptwriting in Hollywood is tough as writers often struggle to stay employed but it is a job he would not trade for anything. "It is a tough job. There is a lot of fighting to keep yourself employed. People get fired a lot, particularly the writers, but I cannot complain. The last experience (Ready Player One) was the most fun I ever had. It can be real fun. " As a scriptwriter Penn may be associated with big-budget studio productions but as a director, he prefers to attach himself to smaller projects as there is more creative control. Asked if he was looking to direct again, the scribe says, "Sure, I will do it again. I have mostly done smaller films because I like to have control over what I am directing. But I will do it again soon. " Penn collaborated with celebrated German filmmaker Werner Herzog for 2004 mocumentary "Incident at Loch Ness" as a writer and producer, directed "The Grand", an improv comedy, which had an ensemble cast including Ray Romano, Woody Harrelson, Chris Parnell and Werner Herzog among others. His last film as a director was critically-acclaimed 2014 documentary "Atari: Game Over", with his "Ready Player One" co-writer Ernest Cline.