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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Zack Snyder on Sucker Punch

With 300 and Watchmen behind him, and Superman: Man of Steel scheduled to go next, at the moment director Zack Snyder is talking about his latest film, Sucker Punch. In this exclusive interview, he discusses the genesis of the concept.
Interview conducted by and © Edward Gross

For the full Zack Snyder interview, check out issue #52 of SciFi Now Magazine, now on sale.

QUESTION: On Sucker Punch, what germ of an idea did you start with?

ZACK SNYDER:I think it was a few things, to be honest, but from a visual standpoint I’m a big fan of Heavy Metal and fantasy art, so in terms of the setting and the way the world is built, that definitely comes in there. And I love the sort of Twilight Zone type of storytelling, so that also fuels the vibe to the movie.

QUESTION: And as it’s gone forward, how has the idea evolved?

ZACK SNYDER: I think it evolved in a kind of practical way; you know, like you’re sitting around and thinking about something in an abstract way and how it tends to be unfilmable. Not to say it’s gone completely concrete, because it’s still pretty liquidy when you look at the images we created. That’s the way it evolved for me – it became more practical, but it’s still ridiculous in its scope and scale, though it definitely did become more concrete. Which creates a chain of events in the way those events are rendered and, in turn, become more practical. I know it may not make sense, but the process of making the movie made the idea of the movie have to be more practical. I wasn't allowed to just have flights of fancy, I had to say, “OK, how does A affect B, how does the fantasy take root in reality?”

QUESTION: Was the appeal in the beginning just the idea of saying, “We’re going to have a World War II plane fighting a dragon?” You know, juxtaposing these different worlds upon each other, as is evident from the trailer/?

ZACK SNYDER: I think the fun came from the evolution of the different ideas. We knew we were going to this dragon world, and I needed the girls to sort of arrive in these places as a way to get into the world. I was, like, “What’s their vehicle going to be?” So it’s a modified Mitchell – if you notice, it has one jet engine and it’s got mini-guns on it – someone’s been working on this plane and making it into what it is. That was just me going, “It should be a Mitchell and it should have mini-guns.” I don’t know why I said that, but it just seemed obvious. That was the kind of thing I wanted to see. It’s like a mash-up of sci-fi imagery in a way.

QUESTION: Was this the toughest of the films you've done so far?

ZACK SNYDER: Not really. I mean, 300 was a physically harder movie to make, just because we shot it in a lot less amount of time, and the battles had all these people in them. This was my same stunt team from 300, so now I'm pretty comfortable with the guys, but we were just trying to figure it out in those days and we were getting the shit kicked out of ourselves. On this one, just what we had to get done in a day was crazy.

QUESTION: But this has to be pretty high up there in terms of being challenging, doesn’t it?

ZACK SNYDER: It was incredibly demanding, and part of the reason for that is that it’s emotional, too. The girls are constantly having to train, so one day you’re doing fighting, and the next day you have to do something a little more emotional – it was definitely a roller coaster in that way.
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