Exclusive Interview with DC Comic and SMALLVILLE Scribe Geoff Johns - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Exclusive Interview with DC Comic and SMALLVILLE Scribe Geoff Johns

January 15, 2009 by  

Hey GMMR readers! Sarah here and I wanted to share with you my recent interview with DC comic book writer, Geoff Johns! Geoff, who has been in the biz for years and is quite a superhero himself, penned the script for the Legion episode that will air tonight on Smallville.

He was nothing but nice, and a very down to earth guy! Where he finds the time to work on all of these projects I’ll never know. And because there isn’t enough hours in the day to list all of Geoff’s work you can check them out at www.geoffjohns.com. Don’t forget the Legion hits the small screen tonight on the CW at 8pm!

How did you end writing the Legion script for Smallville?
Geoff Johns:
I work in comic books most primarily and I worked with Jeff Loeb who was a writer on the show a couple of years back. One day I was talking to him about an idea I had for a Legion episode for Smallville and I thought it would be really cool, why don’t they do it (this was earlier last year) and he said that’s a really good idea. Then he mentioned it to the producers at Smallville who I had already known. They were interested in hearing the idea and they wanted to know more about it, they wanted me to write something for them. So I had lunch with Todd, Darren, Kelly and Brian and we discussed what the Legion would mean to Clark and what it would mean to Clark in Smallville terms. What kind of episode you would get out of it and they really seemed to respond to it. Next thing you know I was in the writer’s room and we were breaking the story.

How was writing the script? Was it different for you, I know you were on the Blade TVseries?
GJ: It is different from comic books because I don’t have a budget writing Legion comic books. That’s the hardest thing and with certain constraints you just have to be creative, its different writing. It’s also different because you’re tapping into a bigger tapestry because it’s the eleventh episode out of a 22 episode season. So essentially you have to see what all come before, where everything is going to go. You’re kind of a touchstone and how is this episode going to contribute to the larger picture? That was really something they wanted to figure out and I think it all came together well. With all the developments with Chloe, Brainiac and Doomsday. Then the Legion comes in at the perfect time, I’m surprised at how organically it fit in.

Did you write up your own draft and then get together with the Smallville writer’s?
No, Smallville has a writer’s room full of cool people, thankfully, and when I went in there for a week and a half I got to know everybody and we broke the story. Then I went off and wrote the script.

So you get together and brainstorm?
Yes, we brainstorm, they tell me where everything is going, everyone throws out ideas, and then you all kind of break the story

Did you have to compromise creatively?
I was really happy with every decision that was made, everyone in Vancouver, the Director Glen Winter, they were amazing! Glen was all about embracing the Legion, the spirit of the legion. The costume designs were great, the props were fantastic. They made the Legion rings, which is a membership code, look exactly like they do in the comics. All the costumes echoed the comic books. I don’t really think there were any compromises made.

Does Clark get a Legion ring?
You will see Clark with a Legion ring at some point. I’ll tell you that much.

Did you spend anytime on set?
I went to Vancouver last October and worked with Glen on the set, over the course of shooting the episode. The crew couldn’t have been more welcoming they were so perfect. By the end of the week I was hanging out with some of them, grabbing dinner. They were just so nice and normal, cool people, and they have worked together so well. They did such a great job. I went in there not knowing anybody and I came away with a bunch of friends.

It has to be a little scary showing up and you don’t know anyone…
You’re always intimidated because you don’t know anyone and you don’t want to step on any toes. They have a well oiled machine they’ve been working on for eight years and I certainly didn’t want to interfere in their process. They were just great and I could definitely do another episode strictly because of the experience.

Did you know Ryan Kennedy, Cosmic Boy? Wasn’t he on the Blade TVseries?
I knew Ryan from Blade and he was fantastic on Blade. We always wanted to have him back and when he came up as a potential for Cosmic Boy everybody liked him. It was just great. He captures the character brilliantly. He really got into the character, all three of the Legionnaires did. Who this guy was and what his attitude would be towards his hero. It’s like going back in time and meeting your absolute idol and seeing flaws, and then trying to explain the flaws and give excuses for that. Eventually seeing it in the wrong way or assuming something you shouldn’t assume. All the complexities and suddleties of that he captured perfectly.

Did you show Alexz Johnson (Saturn Girl), Calum Worthy (Lightening Lad) and The Persuader who their characters were and explain their traits? Did you assist in coaching them?
Glen and I went trough the characters with Alexz who plays Saturn Girl and Calum Worthy who plays Lightening Lad. The Persuader is just a little bit more of a beast because he’s more aggression and action and what he needs to do is what his being is. He’s kind of a force of nature all his own. The Legionnaires are much more complex, really just their personalities personified. What their back stories are, what their interested in. How they feel about Clark and the Legion itself, and their interaction among themselves. We went through all of it and they really just grabbed a hold of it. I think any Legion fan will watch them and agree they did their homework

I can’t wait for this episode, I’m so excited! In the last couple of seasons there have been some bumps, some up and downs. Some of the fans have stopped watching, but this past season has been great!

I think this season is like resurgence personally, and part of that for me is my interest line at DCU. So when they embrace what Clark is about, what the DCU is about. And you get to see Clark progress. I think there’s some really cool character developments. I never thought Doomsday was that interesting. I think he’s more interesting in the TV show than the comics, and I love him in the comics. I just like that extra dimension he has in the show.

What do you think about the buzz all over the web about the Legion episode? The interest is just insane!
Well I hope we can deliver. I hope everyone that is a fan of the Legion is just happy with how they turned out.

Do you think this will be something that pulls them back into the series?
I hope so. I hope they watch and they stick around. With the stuff they have coming up its going to be terrific.

Are you considering writing for another TV series?
If it’s the right show. My first job is comic books; my first passion is comic books. It would depend on the show and on the people. The people I have been fortunate to work with are the greatest people at DC and the greatest artists in the world I’ve also been lucky in TV to work at Smallville with Brian, Todd, Kelly, Darren and Glen in Vancouver – their just great people. Allison Mack was amazing, super nice and super professional and great to work with as well as Tom and the rest of the cast. To work with people like that you get spoiled!

Thanks to Geoff for taking the time to talk to us.  Tune in tonight at 8pm on The CW to see the episode that Geoff penned.

— posted by Sarah


3 Responses to “Exclusive Interview with DC Comic and SMALLVILLE Scribe Geoff Johns”

  1. Erik on January 15th, 2009 8:39 pm

    I loved this interview, Sarah! Your organic questions gave the interview a nice flow and you explored topics that would interest fans of both Smallville and Mr. Johns’ previous work in comics.

    Fantastic stuff, and a great bit of content for GMMR!

  2. Give Me My Remote on January 15th, 2009 10:04 pm

    I”m with Erik on this one. Fantastic interview!!!

  3. sarah on January 15th, 2009 10:57 pm

    Thank you! I think the episode turned out great too! I really want to know what Lana’s secret is.