It seems hard to believe Peter Lenkov, creator, executive producer and showrunner of “Hawaii Five-0,” has much time for anything else, but a creative mind can’t be reigned in.
Lenkov is no exception; on July 19, his graphic novel turned feature film, “R.I.P.D.,” opens in theaters. Lenkov is no stranger to seeing his words turned into blockbuster films and hit television shows — he is credited as a writer for the television series “24” and “CSI:NY,” along with films “Demolition Man” and “Son in Law,” among others. Lenkov’s list of writing credits is, of course, extensive. (I was also pleased to see Lenkov wrote for “The Crow: Stairway to Heaven,” a Sci-Fi Channel television show which starred “Hawaii Five-0” recurring cast member Mark Dacascos.)
“R.I.P.D.” is based on Lenkov’s comic book of the same title, and when I spoke to him about it in August 2011 he spoke extensively about his love of writing. When I asked him a few weeks ago about his new film, he was just as excited to talk.
Author Stephen King said writing is like “telepathy.” What a writer sees in their heads is mentally transmitted to the reader via the writers words on the page. So I asked Lenkov to tell me what it was like for him when he saw what he had envisioned in his head printed on the pages of his finished graphic novel.
“Honestly, it was a childhood dream come true,” Lenkov said. “I loved comics as a kid and getting to actually create one and see it become a reality – it was amazing stuff.”
Lenkov was quick to give credit to “R.I.P.D.” artists Lucas Marangon and Randy Emberlin.
“They did such a tremendous job,” he said. “I’d never quite seen the contents of my head on the page before. They just nailed it.”
Lenkov was “blown away” by the finished product and gave a lot of credit to director Robert Schwentke and producers Neal H. Moritz, Mike Richardson and Michael Fottrell.
“The team did a phenomenal job on the movie. I think people go to the movie of a book or a graphic novel to see this story they loved taken from the scenes of their imagination and presented on the big screen. But when it’s your book or graphic novel – the experience is a thousand fold. I loved it,” said Lenkov.
I asked him if it was different from seeing one of his television scripts come to life.
“Obviously, the budget is main factor,” he said. “The other one for me is running a TV show is a 24/7 job. You’re hands on with every facet. Getting to have other people take an idea of yours and run with it, it’s great.”
“R.I.P.D.” is based on Lenkov’s “Dark Horse” comic and a story by David Dobkin, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. The film’s screenplay is by Hay and Manfredi. Lenkov is also one of the executive producers on the film. If you haven’t seen the trailers yet, the cast is incredible. Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds star as “two cops dispatched by the otherworldly Rest In Peace Department to protect and serve the living from an increasingly destructive array of creatures who refuse to move peacefully into the afterlife,” according to Lenkov.
Bridges plays the veteran R.I.P.D. sheriff who spends his afterlife “tracking monstrous souls disguised among the living as ordinary people.” He and his new partner, the “wise-cracking” Roy, are teamed up “to arrest and bring to justice a special brand of outlaws trying to escape final judgment by hiding among the unsuspecting on Earth.”
Starring alongside Bridges and Reynolds are Kevin Bacon as Bobby Hayes, Nick’s partner before he’s taken out in the line of duty; Mary-Louise Parker as Proctor, Nick and Roy’s “tough-as-nails” bureau chief in the R.I.P.D.; and Stephanie Szostak, who plays Nick’s widow. Both Nick and Roy have avatars which hide their now-dead identities on earth. James Hong plays Nick’s elderly avatar and supermodel Marisa Miller is Roy’s very sexy one.
When I asked Lenkov about what he thought about Bridges and Reynolds, he said he was positively thrilled with the casting.
“When you get a couple of actors like Jeff and Ryan, you just keep pinching yourself, unconvinced of your good fortune,” Lenkov said. “They were just incredible. They embodied the characters so well; they even look like the characters do in my book! Their attitude and commit to the work just comes off the screen. I really can’t see anyone else in these roles.”
Like King’s vision of telepathy, Lenkov seems to believe that what we will see in the film is a complete vision of what he wrote in his graphic novel. I’m sure fans of “Hawaii Five-0” will enjoy his latest trip to the big screen.
Redux Side Note:
Dennis Chun was very grateful for the award he was bestowed with a few weeks ago. He wanted to thank all the “Hawaii Five-0” fans and he sent me this special message to share:
“Aloha to all the Five-0 Ohana- I am so very touched and humbled by the fan’s words and aloha. I cannot tell you how much the award means to me. In reality it is I who should be thanking and honoring you for your support. It is a privilege to be able to entertain you and a true blessing to be a small part of a show that has such great fans. Filming for season four will start soon and it will be the best yet. Remember it moves to Friday this season. Thank you again. Best always and malama pono, Dennis Chun.”
Fans may have noticed that there was no “Hawaii Five-0” repeat this week, but next week’s airing of “Hoa Pili” will bring “Five-0 Fridays” back online.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.