At San Diego Comic-Con International this weekend, Top Cow Productions announced that screenwriter Holly Brix (“The Butterfly Effect 3”) and director Ryuhei Kitamura (“The Midnight Meat Train”) are officially signed on for the “Magdalena” feature film, based on the Top Cow character. To learn more about the project, CBR News sat down with the pair for this exclusive interview.
“I met [Top Cow President] Matt Hawkins few years ago and we've been talking about doing something together,” Kitamura told CBR. “He thought I'm the perfect director for ‘Magdalena’ and gave me the comics and the treatment. I read it and loved it. We had couple meetings and felt that we are on same page and have high goals to make this movie great.”
“Magdalena” will be Kitamura’s second feature film in America, where he begins again after a celebrated directing career in Japan. “I'm still a newcomer in Hollywood. I gave up all my success in Japan to be here and there's no turning back,” he said. “My first American movie, ‘The Midnight Meat Train,’ was a test for me. Even though I made lots of movies in Japan it really didn't matter in Hollywood. I was new guy in town and I knew I had to prove what I could do under any circumstances. It wasn't an easy experience but I did my best and I am proud of the movie.
“After ‘The Midnight Meat Train,’ I knew I had to find the project where I can really show my ability. I didn't want to do the same type of movie and repeat myself. Now, thanks to Matt Hawkins, I finally found the project where I can do what I'm great at: action.”
Joining Kitamura will be Holly Brix, screenwriter and self-professed fan of Magdalena. “I got involved with ‘Magdalena’ when [production company] Valhalla brought it to me last year,” she told CBR. “Several of the [comic book’s] storylines have been incorporated into the script – there are a lot of storylines in the source material. The challenge was in picking which ones to use to shape a cinematic through-line.”
Kitamura, sharing Brix’s enthusiasm for the project, has every confidence in the film and production team. “I'm so excited to work with these great producers,” he said. “I was blown away by Holly Brix's long treatment so I have no worry for the script. Movies and comics are totally different things and it's not always easy to translate, but I will do my best to keep the spirit of the comic.
“I made movies [in Japan] like ‘Azumi,’ ‘Alive,’ and the superhero television show ‘Sky High’ based on the superhero movie, and ‘The Midnight Meat Train’ based on great Clive Barker's book. I have always tried hard not to disappoint original creator. If I make original creator unhappy then what's the point of doing it? So far I’ve only made them super happy so I will keep on doing it.”
Additionally, Kitamura is more than ready to take on the task of bringing one of genre comics’ few female leads to the big screen. “In Hollywood, lots of people say that female action movies don’t work. I disagree,” he said. “There were lots of female action movies that didn't work - because they were bad movies. The producers and me are ready to change the tide with ‘Magdalena.’”
Along with his goals for an action-packed film, Kitamura is most excited for the fan reaction. “I will show the next level of action, but it's not only about action,” he said. “This is a story about a girl who finds out what she really is and how to fight her own destiny. I can't wait to screen it at Comic-Con and blow the fans away.”