'Need For Speed' Interview: John Gatins Talks Story & Sequel Potential

Since you mentioned a sequel, if you were to do a sequel, is there a specific car, rig, model, anything that you would like to see that you were not able to include in this one?

That’s a great question. I think that I've kind of joked that I want the opening of the sequel to take place in Sweden and in the Koenigsegg factory, and one shot, I want to a Koenigsegg being completely put together, so that people know that it’s actually a $2.3 million dollar car, and then take it out onto some highway and just destroy it. Just to put it all to bed, like this is what we’re gonna be doing. It’s like, go to Europe and just destroy amazing cars. No, but I do - we've talked about the idea in a second movie, because the video game lives in North America, and we've even said to EA, we've said, “Look, you know, if we make a second movie, don’t you think we should take it overseas?” And we were a little worried that they might be like, “No, it has to live in the world of the game.” But they were like, “No, let’s do it.” So, they might end up tailoring the game to what we potentially do in the movie, because why not take it to Dubai and Paris, and race cars 180 miles an hour through the streets of Paris?

You've done a couple movies now that are based on worlds that have really obsessive cultures like high school football in Texas and car culture. Is that something you intentionally pursue as a writer, or is that something that happens?

I think it’s somewhat intentional -- like, Flight, for example, is a movie that came out of my intense and obsession of flying and airplanes and the pilot culture, and working on a movie like Behind Enemy Lines gave me the initial idea, ‘cause it was working with all these technical advisers who were military pilots. Getting to know these guys and realizing some of these guys become commercial airline pilots. It’s used to be much more so, it’s a little less now, but yeah, I think it’s always like, what do you want to learn about? And then you get inside something and you’re like, “Wow, there’s a movie here.” But as a writer, that’s what you’re always thinking. It’s like you walk around going, “Is that a movie? Is that a movie?”

They deal a lot with American masculinity as well. Does that kind of interest you as a topic?

I’m gonna field that one.

You’re the one in the cowboy hat right now.

I trying to think. I never thought -- I want to come up with a clever answer -- I never thought of it that way, but I guess, yeah, I grew up playing a lot of sports and I've done a lot of sports movies, so I think that’s probably part of it. And it’s such part of the American thing that, you know, the sports references when it comes to business, you know. Like people just talk about sports metaphors all the time, and I think sports reveal character. That’s the reason I get my wife interested in sports. She’s always just, “Ah, I don’t want to watch this football game,” but then if I say, “But wait! This guy broke his leg two years ago and he’s back, and it’s just him and his mom and she was a prison guard,” and now she’s crying, and, “I’m in! I’m in! I’m in!” So I think that any time you can apply a little human experience to whatever it is, we as Americans are suckers for it.

NEED FOR SPEED Marshall Motors Crew

Is it tricky to find - I feel that racing and sports, there’s sort of a twist of like, maybe they won, but they won in an nontraditional way that surprises the audience. You need some sort of, “Well, I never thought of that.”

Well, I think that’s always the case, because I've done enough sports over the years to realize how the trends go. It’s like they have to win! They shouldn't win. The win should be a different win. Okay, the win is a different win, so I think that it’s how funny how there’s trends. I love the movie School of Rock, because that was a thing that was like, hey, guess what? They didn't win, but that’s the good thing. It’s like, okay. There’s movies like that, and I think that were always trying to look for a twist on things. I think the Tin Cup was a great movie too. That surprised me. He makes great sports movies, Ron Shelton. Do you remember that movie though? It was like the third time he put the ball down and started, I was like, “Is this really happening? Costner’s supposed to win, right? Like, what the fuck?” So I like that. We did that too, here. We hopefully twisted it a little bit. We tried to keep the movie in front of the audience as much as we could.

Your films have a lot of minutia and detail -- and a lot of accurate detail -- how many drafts did you do of this? Where do you really put in those details?

It’s a lot. It’s always many, many, many drafts and it’s a ton of research, and it’s the reason I say no more than anything when somebody comes to me with something, ‘cause a lot of times I say, “Look, I’m just gonna be honest: I don’t know a lot about that.” And I feel like why would I be the guy who should write a period Western. I don’t know shit about that. It would take me forever to get up to speed with how they do what they do living in that place. So cars was a little bit something more up my alley. Sports came really easy because I played so many sports through college and all of that. Cars, sports, things I know about, and things I get fascinated with, like Flight being the airplane thing. But I had to learn a lot on this. It’s like I said, I don’t know anything about European super cars. I didn't even know what a super car was. Like, think about this: airplanes, like the commercial plane that some of you took to get here, that takes off at about 150 miles per hour. When that plane takes off, it’s gonna take off at about 150-160 miles an hour. The Koenigsegg (unintelligible, 21:31) can go 250 miles an hour. That’s 100 miles an hour more than the speed of the plane you’re taking off in. You just put that in your head and you go, “I don’t even understand that.” It’s like, how is that even -- yeah.


More Need For Speed: Aaron Paul Set Interview


DreamWorks Pictures' Need For Speed is directed by Scott Waugh and stars Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Ramon Rodriguez, Rami Malek, Scott Mescudi, Dakota Johnson, Harrison Gilbertson and Michael Keaton.

Need for Speed hits theaters on March 14, 2014.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

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