Vin Diesel was the lynchpin of ‘The Last Witch Hunter’ and is a ‘300’ sequel on the way?
Last November, deep beneath the frozen ground of Pennsylvania, I visited the set of “The Last Witch Hunter”. Producer Mark Canton sat down to talk about how the film came into being, the hopes for an expanded universe, and what makes Kaulder different from other heroes.
Unrelated, Canton also spoke about his hopes for teaming up with Zack Snyder again in the future.
How did you get involved in “The Last Witch Hunter?”
MARK CANTON: I worked on it for about four years. Breck [Eisner] was aboard early and then Bernie [Goldmann] he came [on]. Then we just kept hammering away at the screenplay and Breck created this incredible world, which was really difficult to do in light of the fact that there was no IP on this. Normally everyone would think [a story like “The Last Witch Hunter”] would come from a graphic novel, but in this case, the graphic novel’s gonna follow [the movie.] We had no Frank Miller to fall back on, so that makes it very, very original and unique. It’s not a DC or Marvel property, but it’s just as badass as any of those. I know from having done it.
With an original story in a deep fantasy setting, is it difficult to walk the line between telling the story and turning the film into one lone drone of exposition set-up?
CANTON: Of course. But some of us are experts at this type of mythological storytelling and clearly in my career with the “300” movies and “Immortals” and other[s], I’ve always been passionate about mythology. That is a big step up for Vin too. It’s a whole different type of journey. It’s eight hundred years and it’s not at all like the [“Fast” franchise]. It’s a whole different world. It’s not slow either but it’s not fast…it’s different.
Speaking of Vin, how important was it for you guys to get him on board as Kaulder?
CANTON: Well, we actually only wanted Vin. We never talked about anybody else, which is crazy. Not to say someone else couldn’t have played the role, but we never talked about anybody else. So we did reach the point which is Vin or no movie, because we were so committed that he was the right character.
But one of the things that’s most exciting is the cast, even the little role[s]. This Queen, which is unbelievable, the whole cast…I think it’s sort of like a perfect storm in that sense, you know? Now we just have to do our jobs. And Breck’s great […]he’s just killing it now. So it’s great.
Can you talk a little about what separates Kaulder from other characters that fight the supernatural?
CANTON: He’s stuck in his journey, in his immortality, stuck in what he needs to do in terms of freeing himself from…you know everyone wants to be immortal, unless you are, because then life keeps passing by. I think it’s thematically more interesting. I’m not worried about the monster movies. This is not a monster movie and it’s not like “The Mummy” or “Clash of the Titans” or one of those movies. It’s more a people movie, but I think it’s more of a combination of genres in an interesting way…we’re confident.
What else do you have on your plate right now?
CANTON: We’re getting very close on a few things. A third “300” I’m sure, if and when it comes, I’m sure Zack [Snyder] has something special in mind for a finale. We’re talking…it’s just he’s shooting “Man of Steel” and “Batman” and “Catwoman,” everyone you could think of right now, “Wonder Woman”…eventually we’ll all connect, maybe around Christmas and start to look ahead. He’s got some pretty great ideas about where this could all go.
You can read more about my trip to the set of “The Last Witch Hunter” over here!
“The Last Witch Hunter” arrives in theaters on October 23.