Benjamin Percy has become a household name for a number of superhero fans, with prolific stints writing series such as green arrow, wolverine, And the xforce, as well as several SiriusXM audio series from Marvel. Last weekend, audiences were treated to a whole new kind of storytelling from Percy, as he co-wrote the upcoming drama the summer. Written by Percy and director James Ponsoldt, the film takes place during their last days of summer and childhood — the weekend before middle school starts — as four girls (played by Leah Barnett, Sunny Victoria, Madalene Mills, and Eden Grace Redfield) struggle. The harsh realities of growing up and embarking on a mysterious adventure. Percy and Ponsoldt’s heartfelt, fresh take on a coming-of-age story is brought to life by the star cast, which also includes Lake Bell and Megan Mullally.
in celebration of the summerHis recent debut, ComicBook.com recently spoke with Percy via email about his work on the project, and how his big business impacted the film. We also talked about his friendship with Bondsault, the genre-bending elements of the movie, and so much more!
How do you participate in the summer Happened, what about that project that made you want to be a part of telling its story?
Like every goofy dad, I was excited to share with my kids the stories that influenced me growing up. But when I sat with my daughter and read books like the hobbit And the strangers And the Where the red fern grows And the grudges—or when we watched movies like fools And the stand by me– Her response was always the same: “That was cool, but where are the girls?”
One day I found it on the family computer typing away. When I asked her what she was writing, she pointed to the title: The hobbit girl. The first line went something like, “This story may sound familiar to you, but it’s about a hobbit girl.”
In the same spirit of revisionism, James Ponsoldt and I began to talk about a story we might tell our daughters.
How was the collaborative process for working alongside James on the script?
James and I have known each other since 2003, when we were children’s writers and roommates at the Siwani Writers Conference. We became friends, kept in touch and collaborated a lot. He went on to direct films like Surprisingly now And the end of round And I went to grind novels and comics. We’ve written several scenarios together, but this is our first mileage scenario. We work together now together urban cowboy, which is in development as a string in Paramount+. And a few other things that I’m not allowed to talk about.
We have a beautiful, selfless process. Our phone conversations give way to a Google Doc that talks about the big things, the iconic image of the characters, and may provide an inaccurate outline. Then we start rolling script pages back and forth. We write on top of each other, so that in the end, it won’t really be clear who wrote what: one vote.
It’s so refreshing to see metaphors the summerwhich are usually narrated in male-centric films such as stand by me, presented in this female context. How important is that to you, in building the story?
very. Kids imaginatively practice life. They pretend to be movie and comic book characters. They talk through puppets and action figures and arrange them in some approximation of reality. So, what does it mean for their imaginations to be constantly engaged in stories of crime or horror in which women are victims or stories of adventures in which women are absent or in marginal roles? This story is actively working against this standard.
I loved seeing how the movie sometimes indulged in more frightening elements of horror – I felt it mirrored your style of comic writing. What was the experience like trying to find that color balance, while keeping the film consistent?
It’s a story about friendship and the transformative time of the year and life, but it’s also about loss and longing. Daisy’s character is our focus factor, and she’s suffered a wound from which she never recovered: her father left the family, and her mother was emotionally distant. So when a group of girls stumble upon a body – and commit themselves to discovering who it is – it’s the equivalent of their missing father.
Since you’re in the fictional candidate of an 11-year-old, a lot of the story is emotionally real but not real “happening”. There is light magic and dark magic at work that fades away by the end of the story, as the girls rub off the harsh realities of adulthood. So by the end of the story, you should be left wondering if there was ever a body.
Scary stuff aside, how can you say your recent work at Marvel – both the comics and audio series – have influenced your work? the summer?
In a way, writing comics is like writing a slow motion movie. Both are a visual medium, and paintings are not much different from a storyboard. In comics, you have to hit certain beats on certain pages and include B and C stories and contribute theme, characterization, and plot all at once; The same type of criteria applies to the film, but with a slightly different length and algorithm.
What surprised you most about the work experience the summer?
Since James and I are old friends, he very generously allowed me to be a part of the whole process. You have learned all about finance. I visited the group. I have listened to recording samples. I’ve seen various cuts during post-production. It was an incredible education.
One of the most inspiring things was the collaborative effort. So many people are involved in making a movie, and they all do their best to tell the greatest story possible. From makeup to fashion to lighting to editing; It takes a village, as they say.
I was really amazed at how important the editor is. They are the real authors of the story in a way, given how many hundreds of hours they think and synthesize it.
The cost was probably the most frustrating thing I’ve learned. Want some characters walking down the street and talking? OK. We have to block the street and pay all those companies and their employees the money they would have made that day. Want a rainstorm? Fine. We need to rent rain machines and maybe build scaffolding around the house to dim it and get some LED lights to replicate the lightning. I could go on – but I realized how much story decisions have to take into account budget.
What makes you happiest when you see the fans respond at once the summer Out?
I hope her magic sweeps them over and maybe they leave a heart wrenching feeling in the end.
the summer It is now shown exclusively in theaters.