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Episode 13: A Conversation with Daniel Waters

The Locust Files takes a look at Tim Burton’s Batman Returns where Lee talks with screenwriter Daniel Waters. A departure from what the Locust Files normally delivers, here we venture into the world of screenwriting and the creation of one of the most complex of comic strip adaptations – Waters discusses his concept of the Catwoman and the Penguin, the sexuality of the film, the backlash from fans and critics and much more in this in depth conversation.

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  1. Thank you so much for this brilliant interview Lee.

    It was an absolute pleasure to listen to Daniel Waters speak about how he originated ‘Batman Returns’, one of my all-time favourite comic-book films, and a movie that, for all its idiosyncrasies, is extremely close to my heart. It was equally enjoyable, if not more so, to listen to your own feelings about the film, which are clearly very positive and passionate.

    Although I also rate The Dark Knight trilogy, I thought you were spot-on in contrasting the sexless nature of the Nolan films with the much more vibrant Burton ones, which, to their credit, actually display a genuine interest in female characters (I also thoroughly agree that the Nolan films are very choppily edited in places). And I particularly loved your parallel between The Ice Princess, a personal favourite character of mine, with Waters’ titular ‘Heathers’ (something that hasn’t escaped my own attention). In fact, almost all of the Returns characters have their own ‘Heathers’ analogues. Like Veronica Sawyer, Selina is a sympathetic but flawed protagonist who gets mixed up with a seemingly likeminded ‘bad boy’ type (i.e. J.D. and The Penguin) who reveals himself to be a mean-spirited murderer (additionally Bruce Wayne arguably shares some of J.D.’s more ostensibly attractive traits). And Chip Shreck bears more than a passing resemblance to Kurt and Ram, Westerburg High’s meat-headed football players.

    Anyway, thanks again for this interview. Also, if you ever consider composing an article/essay, or better yet, write a book, on Batman Returns, I’ll be there in a shot to read it.

  2. So happy to learn you regard Batman Returns so highly, Lee. It’s also my favourite Batman film and one that I regularly enjoy revisiting. Always interesting to hear about behind-the-scenes stuff and Dan Waters reveals the truth beneath much of the hype. Loved the ‘buy a t-shirt as your ticket’ promo at the time of release; so cool!

    Looking forward to hearing your Blu Ray commentary for Lugosi’s ‘The Black Cat’; being the cat lover that I am, your chosen theme of evil felines in films sounds fascinating, though I never understood why they included an evil cat statue in 1945’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ to explain the supernatural goings-on. It’s not in Wilde’s novel. Totally unnecessary, I thought.

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