TALKING PICTURES is an interview series in which I talk to the people behind some of my favorite movies. From cult movie directors to character actors, from seasoned veterans to brilliant newcomers, from celebrated artists to filmmakers who haven’t received the recognition they deserve – these folks have made some great movies and have lots of fascinating stories to tell.
Today’s guest is screenwriter Kevin Droney – who adapted not one but two computer games for the big screen back in the Nineties: MORTAL KOMBAT and WING COMMANDER. MORTAL KOMBAT, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and based on the fighting game series that was known for its ultra-violence, was released in 1995 and was a huge success, spending three weeks at the number one spot of the U.S. box office. Unfortunately, WING COMMANDER, released in 1999, was not as successful – in fact, it was a failure both critically and commercially, even though it remains to this day the only game adaptation directed by the creator of the game series himself, Chris Roberts – whose WING COMMANDER sci-fi action series was a gaming phenomenon throughout the Nineties and continuously pushed the technological boundaries of computer gaming.
In our interview, Kevin discusses how he created the story for MORTAL KOMBAT, a game that didn’t really have a plot, and how he focused on the mythological aspects of the game’s background. He talks about how Linden Ashby kept adlibbing lines and confusing his fellow actors, and he also talks about how his love for the Bruce Lee movies influenced the script. Kevin also shares his memories of developing the WING COMMANDER script together with Chris Roberts and exploring his sci-fi universe, and he discusses how the script got rewritten without his involvement and why the finished film doesn’t really represent his original script. We also talked a little bit about another film that Kevin wrote, a drama starring Raul Julia and Laura Dern called DOWN CAME A BLACKBIRD, a captivating, serious story about a clinic for survivors of torture that shows Kevin’s versatility as a screenwriter.
For more on the video game movies of the Nineties, please check out our other interviews here on Talking Pictures, including an interview with Rocky Morton, co-director of SUPER MARIO BROS., an interview with DOUBLE DRAGON director Jim Yukich, and an interview with Steven E. de Souza, writer/director of STREET FIGHTER.
If you speak German, there’s also episode #38 of our Lichtspielplatz podcast with in-depth discussions of all these movies. The interviews and the podcast are part of a series on video game adaptations – you can find all of the relevant articles and links here.
So here’s Talking Pictures with screenwriter Kevin Droney!