Exclusive: D.J. Caruso Reveals Y: The Last Man Story Details
by Alex Billington
September 22, 2008
Over the weekend I had the chance to catch up with director D.J. Caruso in order to chat about his upcoming film Eagle Eye (that full interview will be up in the next few days). I wanted to make sure to get an update from him on Y: The Last Man, his passion project comic book film about a boy named Yorick who suddenly becomes the only male left alive on Earth. He's mentioned before that Warner Brothers wants to turn this into one of their big 2010 movies, since they're in need of some, but we've been waiting to hear more details, including what they might change in order to turn the comic book series into one (for now) all-encompassing movie. Caruso exclusively revealed to us what his "big change" in the plot will be.
Caruso said that he turned in the script to New Line last week and is working on tweaking it over the next month. "It's my job to get the script right first, and once we get the script right, which we're getting close, it could potentially be the next movie," he explained. The comic series, which began in 2002 and just wrapped up with its final issue this January, spans a total of 60 issues. A story that vast obviously won't fit into one movie. "If you know the series at all, it's a lot to choose from… You want to make a movie that stands alone, but I keep telling them I can't fit it all into one movie. God willing if it's successful enough, there has to be another movie." Caruso briefly explains how the story in the first film plays out.
"Initially it'll open very similar to what you know in the opening book basically, with Yorick and Beth. And ultimately when it all goes down, we jump to 6 or 8 weeks later, and sort of take that world there. In the montage of when it's all happening, we do see what happens in China, we do have little vignettes of things that are happening all over the world. And then from that point on, in the first movie, it then stays in Yorick's journey to get to -- with 355 as they try get across -- and find the doctor and losing Ampersand… It's global in that you see what happens, but it doesn't go out and further."
It sounds like at one point Caruso really wanted to talk more about what happens in it, but has to stop himself. However, when we started talking more about the comic and fans, he mentioned one of the big changes that they've made. "One big change is that we put in a 'ticking clock' with Yorick and Ampersand, and I separated them, and Yorick starts to get a little sick when Ampersand's not with him. I felt like we needed some kind of ticking clock so it wasn't just a boy and his monkey." Sound a bit like Spielberg's E.T.? Caruso added that Brian K. Vaughan, the author of the comic, has been helping out a lot. And as for the aforementioned big change -- "Brian loved that. So it's good to hear that the creator loved that."
Caruso's Eagle Eye debuts this weekend and once things start to settle down, he'll be working on Y: The Last Man again. "In another month or so it should be ready." It's one of the projects that I've been anxious to see come together. I just hope Warner Brothers understands this adaptation's potential and doesn't let it slip by as a small project. That's why I asked Caruso about how global it would be - to get a feeling for whether WB wanted to give this the budget that it really needs. The first draft of the screenplay was submitted and he's already got notes and is tweaking it, let's just hope he can polish it quickly enough. If you're a fan of the comic, I'm curious what you think about Caruso's big change? Good or bad?
If they get Shia in this thing too i'm out.
Darunia on Sep 22, 2008
I'll second that. Shia is a great actor, but he's in danger of being WAY overused.
vegeta on Sep 22, 2008
Drop Shia, he doesnt fit. Get the guy who played Peter in Heroes. And drop the ticking clock-jeez!
Sam Iam on Sep 22, 2008
jesus christ people what did shia do to deserve such hate what u want him to stop making movies for a year or two lol he is fine for it and he is a good actor i cant wait sounds good
nelson on Sep 22, 2008
I think it s a marvelous story but I think it would work even better as a TV series with every week a new "adventure" of 355, Yorick , Ampersand and the Doc I am having trouble imagine it as a movie
Pen_Romantic on Sep 22, 2008
It's annoying as hell when directors decide to chage story lines of already well written stories, I don't know whether it's ego or just down right stupidity.
personx on Sep 22, 2008
The important question is is the movie going to be a PG13 or R Rated. If its PG13 it wont be Y The Last Man. If it is R Rated then I can't see Shia or Alicia Keys being involved with a potentially controversial storyline and jeopardising their mainstream appeal. Someone suggested Topher Grace which I think would be a much better fit.
Sumit on Sep 22, 2008
Alicia Keys was in Smokin' Aces, so don't know if rating really matters to her.
Red Buttons on Sep 22, 2008
@ personx... It's neither ego or stupidity that causes film makers to alter story lines. Film and literature are two completely different artistic mediums and in order to successfully transform one into the other changes have to be made to keep the story coherent and within a 2 hour time frame. Try adapting a novel into a film and you'll see how difficult it really is. In novels all of the action is driven by narration and dialogue, but in film you can apply some of that action to visual aids instead which can cause the original words of the story to get lost in translation. So the film makers aren't maliciously trying to ruin the original work of art, but in adapting the piece into film a new story is created which was inspired by the original.
peloquin on Sep 22, 2008
They should just get Will Smith to do this one too... "You saw the legend, now the True Story." HA they would.
FunnyGuy on Sep 22, 2008
Ugh, this thing would work so much better as a TV series than a movie. That Vaughn is involved in some capacity at least gives me some hope for it though.
From the Internet on Sep 22, 2008
For the love of God, I hope they don't cast Shia. He's such an annoying actor. It's all in the title. It's not called "Y The Last Boy."
Jonas Quinn on Sep 22, 2008
Shia is a pretty good cast member because he's a damn good actor and has come a long way, and while some of his recent movies have been a little sub par, it wasn't his fault and he still gave himself a certain appeal when he came onto the screen. I would prefer Adam Brody, but the only reason is because Shia is a little too buff, and it's hard to believe he wouldn't be able to kick some girl's asses, but as far as wise cracking, he's got that down pact. I would stand behind it, only problem I really see is the whole separation of Yorick and his monkey and the sick thing, I see three problems; 1) it makes the end when the monkey dies not nearly as emotional for Yorick and that part of the comic literally made me want to cry, it was very touching and it was because they both spent so much time together, and that's where #2 comes in, I don't know if Caruso has the ability to deliver an emotional scene like that and that could very well destroy the entire franchise for me if that scene wasn't able to make me feel the sadness I felt when he died in the comic, and #3 is when separated from Ampersand, he starts to get a little sick? The only way that will work is if all the other men took time to die, because they all die instantly and theoretically so would Yorick, he wouldn't just start getting sicker and sicker, he would just die. Other than those problems, I think the film will be terrific because the story was overwhelmingly amazing, except for a few parts here and there, but I look at things in a mostly film perspective so maybe those parts did well for a comic. I don't know. But if Caruso can make the sickness thing work, then I'll stand behind that as well. I don't doubt his action and suspense abilities, just that one scene that I expect to cry on.
Errol on Sep 22, 2008
No Shia. Loved him since Even Stevens but this isn't the role for him. I understand there is some sort of comfort the director finds in casting him but NO NO NO. And Jada Pinket HAS to be 355 there is just no doubt about it. As for Yorik someone made a great suggestion of Ryan Gosling. I could totally see chemistry between them both and they both can carry their characters with great depth. But how much do you want to be they'll cast Lucy Lui as Dr. Mann. UCH. They find some way of screwing it up. I hope Caruso can keep the execs from bending over my favorite comic.
Christina on Sep 22, 2008
Uh, shia isn't a good actor. He's a likable presence on screen, but he plays himself in pretty much every movie. It's always the same character. Don't confuse likable presence with good acting.
Darunia on Sep 23, 2008
@ Darunia: That's not true at all, in Disturbia he pulled of scared and nerdy kid while in Indiana Jones he had his Brandoesque "I'm more of a badass than you" act down and in Transformers his role was completely separate from the other two, you're going to have to explain yourself. He's not the same in all his roles.
Errol on Sep 23, 2008
I gotta say, I enjoy Shia's witty banter as much as the next guy, but his roles in Disturbia, Transformers, Indiana Jones, I Robot, and even Bobby were identical...the popular smartass... Don't confuse an enjoyable presence with diverse acting...though I can't blame him for that because the studios are the ones typecasting him and not offering him the roles he could use to expand his acting palette.
Peloquin on Sep 23, 2008
I still disagree, in Indiana Jones he was cocky, not so for Transformers, Disturbia, or Constantine, I haven't seen the others though. In Disturbia he was pretty nosy and jealous, also not so for the others, in Constantine he wasn't any kind of badass or smartass, he was like a young envious butler almost. Transformers was just Transformers. Enough said about that.
Errol on Sep 23, 2008
I forgot about Constantine, but that's another great example of a similar performance by him. He played the envious apprentice in both that and I Robot. He's still young though so he has time to find his acting niche, he'll get bored soon enough in playing the same character and expand upon his abilities...it'll just take some time for him to take that risk. It was best said on Entourage "It's the same role as Shia Leabeuff had in Disturbia, you smile so girls wanna fuck you and then you laugh all the way to the next Raiders of the Lost Arc." Shia is playing the Hollywood game so far just fine.
Peloquin on Sep 23, 2008
I don't know why you guys are so down on Shia; he's perfect. Watch Disturbia and Eagle Eye and you'll see he has the characteristics and acting ability to portray an excellent Yorick. And Yorick is suppossed to be boyish and immature, that's the point, he's suppose to grow into a man through the series, which if they make the film into a triology would be great. As far as Alicia Keys, I agree, she hasn't demonstrated enough acting ability to pull it off. Have some faith guys, this will be awesome.
MovieGuy on Sep 23, 2008
*Can't believe the people who defends Shia's "diverse" roles* What a joke. Oh, he reads different lines thus he must be a great actor who is obviously playing different characters....PLEASE!
James on Sep 23, 2008
Shia is a good actor. Yes, he has beeen playing himself but not because he cannot be diverse. It is just that is not what he is paid to do right now. The directors and studios want him to play the character we see so often. Once this passes you will see Shia can act.
john on Sep 23, 2008
Ok well what about Johnny Depp? When he first started out all he did was play the naughty boy badass all the girls wanna fuck, and he still does it today, but he has also done some very tremendous stuff and very phenomenal acting, but did people doubt him for doing a role that is different when he wanted to do Fear and Loathing? If so I'm certainly glad no one paid attention to them. Shia's roles ARE different and while a couple may have similarities, think about how many films he's made, not even ten! Give the guy a chance, he's amazing in the roles he does, and the characters are different, and yes Yorick's role is very different, but it's also a role that has spend years growing every month, and is going to be spread across 3 movies!!!!!! Stop dissing on an actor who clearly has potential to be something! And let's not forget another list of great actors who have all started out in similar character roles. Bruce Willis, Jim Carrey, etc. and they have all grown to become great amazing actors, so lay off and let Shia do his thing. Besides, it's not like Caruso will listen to the fan boys, Brian K. Vaughn already told him not to.
Errol on Sep 23, 2008
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