R.I.P.D. series creator Peter Lenkov and R.I.P.D.: City of the Damned writer, Jeremy Barlow share their thoughts about the path the series has taken from the original comic book to making the upcoming film and finally revisiting the comics with the City of the Damned prequel.
was an interesting journey taking R.I.P.D.
from book to screen. Before it was even published, Universal had interest in
turning it into a film. We had initial meetings about what the movie should be, what would translate well onto the big screen, what needed to be expanded upon.
At the time there were only four issues—not much mythology. But once the story
was decided on, it went through numerous drafts, lots of writers, everyone
working to nail that blend of action, science fiction. and comedy that the
story needs. It’s a complicated process.
With casting, we considered a lot of actors, but we were blessed to
get Ryan Reynolds. He’s always had a great passion for the project. For the
character of Roy, Jeff Bridges was at the top of everyone’s list, but he’s so
selective; you never think you’re going to get him. You just can’t get better
casting than these two. And the funny thing is that they look like the
characters in the original book.
The creative vision of the film is absolutely that of our director,
Robert Schwentke. I actually went to Schwentke’s office during the early days
of preproduction. We talked about the comic and his vision for the movie. He
showed me all these pre-vis sequences that were done with this amazing
animation. I was instantly impressed and knew the film was in good hands. And
Mike Richardson, one of the producers and the publisher of Dark Horse, was kind
enough to keep me in the loop throughout. The film turned out better than I
could ever have hoped for. I can’t wait for fans of the genre to see it.
Jeremy Barlow, writer of R.I.P.D.:
City of the Damned:
I was brought aboard to
translate what R.I.P.D. had become
for the screen back into graphic novel form. Editor Patrick Thorpe had teamed
up artist Tony Parker and me for a couple of short anthology stories a few
months prior, and the creative chemistry between the three of us was
instantaneous. The kind of collaboration you always hope for.
Very early in the process
Peter Lenkov and I had some great conversations about the different approaches
we could take, both of us wanting to show just how vast and interesting this
world of afterlife peacekeepers could be. Here was an imaginative concept that
stretched all the way back to Creation—we could literally go anywhere and do
just about anything with it.
We settled on telling Roy’s
story in City of the Damned, which
gave us the means to dig into the Rest In Peace Department’s rich history, and
to expand on Jeff Bridges’s character, giving context to some of his
motivations in the film. Knowing where Roy’s story was going—and being able to “hear”
Jeff Bridges’s and Ryan Reynolds’s voices as I wrote the dialogue—was a
When you’re playing in
someone else’s sandbox, you’re often limited in the toys you’re allowed to use.
R.I.P.D. gave us some amazing toys.
Peter and Patrick encouraged us to stretch our imaginations and load up City of the Damned with outlandish ideas
and compelling characters, and we really went for it.
City of the Damned reveals the scope of Peter Lenkov’s vision,
working both as a prequel to the movie and a gripping adventure in its own
right. I’m proud of what we accomplished.