Zack Snyder has taken his fair share of criticism from DC fans ever since he started bringing their favorite superheroes to the big screen. However, Chris Terrio hasn’t fared much better. The Oscar-winning screenwriter of Ben Affleck’s Argo has also been lambasted for his work on the scripts for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and the theatrical cut of Justice League. But according to Terrio, the backlash is undeserved. In a new wide-ranging interview with Vanity Fair, Terrio reflected on his time spent in the DC sandbox, starting with his rewrite work on BvS.
As Terrio tells it, Affleck was initially “reluctant” to play the Dark Knight in Batman v. Superman. So in order to assuage his doubts, Warner Bros. allowed his Argo scribe to take a pass at the script. Terrio claims that by the time he came aboard, Batman’s murderous vendetta against Superman was considered “non-negotiable.” With this, he tried to create a version of the character that made his actions more understandable. Unfortunately, fans didn’t get to see the full extent of his efforts in the theatrical version. Terrio blames the film’s negative reception on cuts made by the studio. These scenes were later restored in BvS’ “Ultimate Edition.”
“I was proud of the script when I completed it,” said Terrio. “But it turns out that when you remove the 30 minutes that give the characters motivation for the climax, the film just doesn’t work. As we learned from the two versions of Justice League, you can’t skip on the character and think the audience will give a shit about the VFX.”
Additionally, Terrio promised that the movie’s Dawn of Justice subtitle wasn’t his idea: “I heard it and I thought, It just sounds self-important and clueless in a way,” said Terrio. “Tone-deaf. The intention of the film was to do something interesting and dark and complex. Not quite as Las Vegas, bust ’em up, WWE match as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Despite his experience on Batman v. Superman, Terrio agreed to return for Justice League. But things took a much different turn after Joss Whedon took over the project. In fact, Terrio was so put off by the finished film that he tried to have his name removed from the credits, but this was a logistical impossibility.
“Prints had already been struck or hard drives burned or however they deliver movies these days,” explained Terrio. “The elements were on their way, and to remove my name they would have had to restrike the prints or redo the digital copies, and the film could be delayed. It would be an international scandal and news story. So I shut up and I said nothing publicly. I’ve never said anything about Justice League since then, but the movie doesn’t represent my work.”
“The 2017 theatrical cut was an act of vandalism,” added Terrio. “Zack may be too much of a gentleman to say that, but I’m not.”
What do you make of Terrio’s comments about his DC work? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Justice League Odyssey Vol. 1: The Ghost Sector
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