Professor X might be the leader of the X-Men, but writer Zak Penn comes in a close second. Not only is he the screenwriter for “X-Men 3: The Last Stand,” due out in theaters May 26th, he also co-wrote the video game tie-in with legendary X-Men Chris Claremont for Activision. “X-Men: The Official Game” will be available for PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2, Nintendo DS, GBA and Gamecube on May 16. During the E3 convention in Los Angeles, CBR News say down for a quick chat with Penn amidst the madness of E3 to discuss the game and film
CBR News: Hey Zak, thanks for talking with us today. Considering the amount of news that’s been reported on the movie thus far, are there any secrets left in “X-Men 3: The Last Stand?”
Zak Penn: No, everything has pretty much been either figured out or leaked onto the Internet. The hardcore fans all know pretty much what to expect. A lot has come out, and it kind of loses the thrill. Like we wrote the Fastball Special scene to be this cool, surprise moment, and they used it in all the advertising.
CBR: But hey, it is a cool looking scene. How would you gauge reaction from the fan community?
ZP: The reactions to the trailers have been pretty good so far. There was a lot of carping on the Internet before they were released, but everyone seems pretty happy with the actual trailers.
CBR: How was it working with Chris Claremont on the game?
ZP: It was great. I did most of the dialogue though.
CBR: One noticeable difference between the game and the movie are some differences in the character line-up. For instance, why was Nightcrawler in the video game, but not in the third movie?
ZP: It gets to be a problem that there are only so many characters we can service. We’ve got all these mutants, and it gets to be a problem with screen time. Alan Cummings wasn’t exactly jumping to put back on the makeup, so he didn’t do it. We got him into the video game though, so his character is still around.
CBR: Tell us, what are the biggest differences in writing for a movie and writing a video game?
ZP: Writing for a video game is much more complicated and technical. You have to write to the needs of the game.
CBR: Do you have a particular favorite character to write for?
ZP: Any of the more verbose characters are easier to write. I can write Professor X or Beast, easy – although it helps that I know that the actors are going to knock the lines out of the park. It’s harder to write for a character like Wolverine, because he says so little. Every word out of his mouth has to be just right.
Phoenix is another good example of a hard character to write for. You can’t write her like the old Chris Claremont comics, because it’s a little too much. But at the same time, she can’t just sound like Jean. You have to find just the right balance.
CBR: Thanks for your time, Zak, and enjoy the show.
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