Exclusive: John Logan on Noah and Skyfall


Most CS readers will already know the work of screenwriter John Logan from little movies like Gladiator and The Aviator and The Last Samurai, but his name continues to be associated with some of the most respected filmmakers, including his work on adapting Brian Selznick’s “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” for Martin Scorsese’s Hugo.

Logan’s been keeping busy as the writer brought on by Sam Mendes to work on the script for the next James Bond movie, Skyfall, and he’s also recently worked with Darren Aronofsky on his take on a famous biblical story, Noah, which he’s making for Paramount. ComingSoon.net spoke to the writer about both of these projects at the recent New York junket.

While Logan tends to be a writer involved on a project from beginning to end, his work with Aronofsky isn’t quite as immersive. “I just dipped in to help a little bit because I’ve liked Darren’s work and we just sort of talked about it and it was fun. It’s really great,” he said.

“I think Darren’s an auteur and I think he’s a genuine artist,” he responded when asked whether this would be Aronofsky’s return to larger scale films ala the hugely underrated The Fountain. “I think any movie is going to be his sensibility. What excites me about it is the revisionist idea of Darren Aronofsky doing a bible movie. It’s like, when Ridley came to me with ‘Gladiator’ I was like, ‘You’re out of your mind. It’s a sword and sandal movie,’ but we were able, all of us, to sort of to put a new gloss on an old genre. There couldn’t be a more old tired genre that we think we know than the biblical epic. You have those images of Charlton Heston, Cecil B. DeMille, but that’s not what we’re doing. Darren’s sensibility is completely modern and so thrilling because it’s revisionist.”

Logan has been a lot more involved with working on the screenplay for Skyfall, the anticipated new James Bond movie from Sam Mendes, who may have the honor of being the first Oscar-winning director to tackle Bond. Like Logan, he comes from the world of theater, and though Logan has to remain fairly tight-lipped about the plot, he did tell us whether that theater background has influenced the new movie at all:

“I think what’s great about one thing Sam and I share is we have the language of theater, because that’s where we grew up, but we’re also filmmakers. I would like to think those two things inform all of our work, so back and forth,” he said.

He did tell us a bit more about the collaborative process and how they came up with a story for the new movie, being that Skyfall is not based on any existing James Bond book ala Casino Royale.

“Purvis and Wade who wrote the last several had worked with Sam very closely and written a fantastic, fantastic script. I came into that with Sam in January, so I’ve been on for almost a year now, as a matter of fact. It’s great. It’s so thrilling to work on because like everyone, I grew up on Bond. My first Bond that I remember seeing was ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ and ‘Skyfall’ comes out on the 50th anniversary of ‘Dr. No,’ so it’s thrilling to be a part of it, and I’ve rarely had a better time on a movie. All of us worked very closely, and that includes Sam and Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson. It’s very much a family and it’s a very open, honest exchange about everything, which is frankly, one of the reasons it’s so gratifying. We’re all working together to do the best movie we can.”

Logan is also working with rocker Patti Smith to adapt her critically acclaimed book “Just Kids” for the screen before returning to the stage himself, of which he told us, “She’s a dear, dear friend, and it’s like sitting down with a great artist, talking about a wonderful human story. It’s very fulfilling.”

Look for more with Logan, talking specifically about working with Martin Scorsese on Hugo very soon.