When I read James’ first draft…it just had everything that we always hoped that this franchise would be. It really had a sincere love for the characters, and it found some odd emotional depth in it. But at the same time, it was just really funny and silly. Every page made me laugh.
I felt maybe on the first movie, I was a little bit of a plot donkey. And here, it’s a much looser, stranger, funnier version of Rick Flag. The first conversations I had with James were how I didn’t really feel like I wanted to be constrained by what I did in the first film. I wanted to go at this almost looking at it as a new character. He was all for that.
What do you see as Rick’s core as a character?
[He’s] a guy who, the military is his family, and he grew up without parents. So, he is what he does. Of course, you have to find the pain and the emotional depth of any character that you’re going to do. I think over the course of this film…I can’t really spoil it too much, but if the military is his family, Rick Flag, over the course of this film, has a reckoning with his family.
You’re no stranger to action or science fiction, but how were those elements different in this film than the first, or other stuff that you’ve done?
The scale on this is just on another level. Because it’s so heavily R-rated, you’re completely free to do whatever and say whatever you want. It just gives you complete free rein to explore this. It really is like a war movie at its center, with so much ridiculous silliness in the middle of all that. And then John Cena has a silver toilet seat on his head throughout the whole film, so you’re balancing a lot of different elements here.