Attached at the Hip: 2 GUNS Is Developed
BOOM! Studios published the first issue of writer
Steven Grant and artist MATEUS SANTOLOUCO's
explosive five-issue miniseries, "2 Guns," in 2008.
Grant told the intriguing tale of Bobby and Stig, two
undercover agents who discover that the amount of
cash locked in the bank vault that they are robbing is
not remotely what they expected. When the two find
themselves double-crossed by the very men who set
them up to do the job, they must go on the run from the
organizations they vowed to serve.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BOOM!
Studios Ross Richie walks us through the source
material: "It's a story about characters ground up by
the system, set within the framework of government
agencies that pursue their goals, no matter the
consequences. Steven took the familiar noir trope of
an undercover cop tale, and he deconstructed that. He
also included lots of comedy and action to make it
The series of graphic novels is written by a man
with a curious take on this style of writing. "I like
doing crime comics," admits Grant, who calls 2 Guns
an "anti-buddy" story. "I don't actually believe in good
and evil. From my perspective, people walk a line, fall
on this side or that, and wobble back and forth. It's just a natural existence. I tend to view my material not as
dramas, but as situational comedies where everybody
in the story thinks they know what's going on, and
actually nobody in it knows what's going on."
Producer Marc Platt, who has shepherded to the big
screen action hits such as Wanted and Drive, was keen
to develop the graphic novel series brought to him by
his colleague, fellow 2 Guns producer Adam Siegel.
Platt discusses his initial interest in the source material:
"I always love stories where there are two characters
who are seemingly very different, and the journey of
the story is the way in which those two characters find
their way to each other. Here were two guys who don't
want to be in the same general vicinity of each other, but
who are forced to work together and learn something
about each other and themselves in the process."
Siegel recalls what drew him to the project, and the
manner in which he worked with a talented screenwriter
to flesh it out: "When I read Steven Grant's graphic
novel, I was blown away by the great characters and
the clear concept that these were two guys who were
undercover from each other."
To develop the story into a film, Platt and Siegel
found a writer who could turn
this crime story series -- replete
with much humor and multiple
twists -- into a taut script.
Explains Siegel: "I was a big fan
of Blake Masters' work on the
television drama Brotherhood,
which I thought had two great
masculine roles: two people
on both sides of the law. Blake
sparked to the graphic novel
immediately, especially the
Butch & Sundance elements
that he saw in them."
Fresh off of three seasons
on an award-winning show,
Masters jumped at the chance
to work on fare that was a bit lighter. "2 Guns is twisted
in its own way, but I instantly saw the spine of the story
and the chance to create some great characters in this
world that the graphic novel set up," he offers. "The
characters and the humor of the movie are inextricably
bound together. The humor is coming out of each
character's worldview and the way in which those
views clash. Everybody has their own code, and they
can't believe everyone else doesn't share their code."
Platt was pleased with the direction in which
Masters' script was headed, and he flew through a
review of the initial treatment. The producer recalls:
"I read the first draft of the screenplay on an airplane
between Los Angeles and New York, and got to around
page 80 just before landing. I shot off an e-mail from
the plane to Adam that said, 'I love these first 80 pages,
and if the last 40 are just as good, we're in!'"
Early on during the script's development, Mark
Wahlberg expressed interest in joining 2 Guns. He came
aboard as Navy Petty Officer Michael "Stig" Stigman,
a fast-talking sharpshooter who is as awkwardly
charming as he is cunning. For more than a decade,
Stig has served the Navy honorably. But when he does six months in the brig after attacking a military police
officer (MP), Stig is drafted into one of the Navy's
shadier ops and officially considered AWOL. He can
maneuver in the dark, and he's now dispensable if he
decides to go off the Navy's playbook.
The actor describes what drew him to the role: "The
story goes back to those great buddy action comedies
that I've always been a huge fan of. Stig's that guy
who just goes on impulse. Going into the bank heist,
they've both been playing each other; neither has
been completely honest about who they are or their
motivations. Even though he's playing Bobby, and
Bobby's playing him, Stig's still honest about how he
feels. He's up for a good time, but if he gets rubbed the
wrong way, he can go dark pretty quick."
Although their mission has them planning to steal
approximately $3 million of drug kingpin Papi Greco's
cash when we are introduced to the reluctant partners,
Stig and Bobby get much more than they bargained
for. When they open (read: blow up) the safety deposit
boxes at Tres Cruces Savings & Loan, they discover
more than $43 million -- money that will most definitely
be missed when they go on the run.
Wahlberg brings us up to speed with the moment
when it all goes to hell with the agent and the operative:
"After the heist is over, unfortunately it's either Bobby
or Stig, and Stig gets the upper hand. Stig doesn't want
to kill Bobby because he's very fond of him, but he has a
job to do. In the scuffle, Bobby's DEA badge drops and
Stig is upset -- even though he's been double-crossing
Bobby -- that Bobby had the nerve to double-cross him."
For his part, DEA agent Robert Trench is called
many names. And depending upon the role you play in
his world, you may know him as Agent Trench, Bobby
B. or Bobby Beans. He's spent three years infiltrating
Manny "Papi" Greco's Sonora, Mexico-based empire,
and in the past 12 months, he's brought in Stig to
work the job. Bobby's latest deal has him trading 500
American passports for cocaine, and Greco has come
up with cash, not coke. As Bobby and Stig head back
into the U.S. -- happy to still have their heads attached
to their bodies -- they are hauled into custody. Both of
their superiors are less than pleased they've come back
Masters expanded upon this rich world that Grant
created and underscored that when you're in deep with
a drug lord, your handlers are bound to wonder if you
are on the take, or as Papi puts it, you "skim a little
cream." After Bobby and Stig are questioned separately
at immigration control, Bobby is given two more weeks
before the DEA pulls the plug on his operation. Stig's
plan of robbing the bank where the drug lord stashes his
cash is looking like Bobby's best option for nabbing the
criminal. Until they make the heist and realize they've
actually stolen the CIA's money.
As the screenplay developed, producer Randall
Emmett was sent the script by Wahlberg, with whom
he collaborated on projects including Broken City and
the upcoming Lone Survivor. Emmett was enthusiastic
to come aboard and help finance the project starring
his longtime friend. "The script was a page-turner for
me; it had tight dialogue and skillfully balanced drama
and comedy," recalls the producer, who is partnered
with George Furla in the production company Emmett/
Furla Films. "Watching the relationship between the
two characters evolve, I knew it was the kind of film
audiences would welcome."
When it came time to seek out a director for 2 Guns,
the production team agreed with Wahlberg's assessment
that his previous director Baltasar Kormakur would be
a good match for the material. Indeed, when Wahlberg
introduced Kormakur to Masters' explosive screenplay,
the director knew it should be his next project.
2 Guns is a natural progression of expression for
Kormakur, a critically acclaimed actor and director in
his native country of Iceland who made his American
studio film debut in 2012's hit Contraband, which starred
Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale. Known for finding a
story's strength in dark humor, his films include 101
Reykjavik, A Little Trip to Heaven, Jar City, Inhale and The Deep. Commends Wahlberg: "Balt comes from
that school of guerilla filmmaking. He never goes to the
trailer. He's always on set, always moving stuff himself,
getting in there and making it happen."
Discussing his choice to join the team, Kormakur
says: "The script had this modern Western feel,
which felt like something that I could play with and
be stylized in finding ways of visualizing the story.
There's a lot of humanity to the characters. We like
them as we follow them, even though they're living in
an elevated, but not necessarily unrealistic, criminal
world." He sums: "Ultimately, 2 Guns is a characterdriven
film that pays homage to Westerns through the
feel and scope of the landscape."
Kormakur readily admits that he is drawn to
action scripts, but not simply for the sake of delivering
adrenaline-fueled moments. "I look at what I can add
to it, and I ask myself if I connect with the material or
if it will just be another day at work," he states. "I get
attached to material that I feel I can put myself into and
help the actors; that gets me excited."
Platt knew it would take just the right director
to walk that line between delivering the explosive
set pieces of the screenplay
and actually exploring the
characters' comedy and drama.
"2 Guns is an action movie
with humor, but it's also about
real people. Underlying Balt's
work is tremendous humanity,
which is vital to creating a
movie that is entertaining and
one that people care about,"
explains the producer. "From
day one, he saw the tone of
2 Guns and understood the
masculinity of it: the nature of
male friendship and the notion
of two guys doing jobs that
they believe in."
The production partners on 2 Guns were rounded
out by two fellow producers, financier Norton Herrick
and BOOM! Studios partner Andrew Cosby, and this
proved to be the right group to finance and bring to
life Kormakur's vision. "Balt is an innovator," sums
Furla. "As an actor, as well as a director who has come
up through the system, he knows how to accomplish
creative shots that tell the story."
With one of the leads set for the action film, it was
time to cast the fellow actors who could bring 2 Guns
to life. And that began with one of the only performers
working today who could wholly embody the complex
Bobby Trench, whose motto is "When this is over, I'm
going to kill you": two-time Academy Award winner
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