Chris Terrio, the screenwriter of Justice League and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, sat down with Vanity Fair for a DC Universe tell-all. The Oscar-winning scribe of Argo initially entered the universe at the request of Batman actor and former colleague Ben Affleck. Although B vs. S gave him a dim introduction to working for an action-hero franchise, Terrio agreed to write for Justice League and looked forward to a re-collaboration with Zack Snyder.
In the interview, Terrio reflected on his Justice League experience and the sudden turn in production once Zack Snyder exited. What Terrio adamantly affirmed is that the #SnyderCut stayed true to his original vision for Justice League. The screenwriter said, “Zack never for a second turned his back on me or doubted my work.”
He addressed the corporate-minded thinking that always goes on behind the scenes of a major franchise and tentpole film like Justice League. From his time working on both DC films, he quickly realized what cinematic content was first to be sacrificed: the narrative.
He told VF, “The last things to get cut out always are the stunt scenes and the special effects scenes because they cost so much…the things that get cut out tend not to be the big effects sequences or the fights or the stunt sequences. The things that get cut are…The scenes that actually give meaning to those bigger action sequences.”
Terrio marked the change in the film’s narrative when Snyder, his strongest ally, exited production. The picture quite blatantly became a money-grab rather than a chance to tell an epic and collaborative tale.
He explained, “When the movie was taken away, that felt like it was some directive that had come from people who are neither filmmakers nor film-friendly—the directive to make the movie under two hours, regardless of what the movie needed to do, and to make the colors brighter, and to have funny sitcom jokes in it.”
To make matters worse, the screenwriter found himself excluded from a picture he once co-led with Snyder. Just a few of Terrio’s remarks that display such maltreatment include: “I was not consulted on the order of the films, even though I was the person writing Justice League,” “I wasn’t invited to the set…I would only hear occasional reports about the reshoot,” and “I wasn’t invited to the premiere.”
He even shared that Joss Whedon and higher-ups had given him the cold shoulder. He said, “I’ve never met Joss. I don’t know him. I did reach out to him at the beginning of the process, through the executives, but I didn’t hear back.”
The only light Terrio seemed to find during his time with the DC franchise was his collaborative relationships with Snyder and the stars of the film. He fondly recounted his experience with Ray Fisher, who has been outspoken about the mistreatment of himself and his character Cyborg. Fisher and Terrio would spend hours working out the right way to tell the story of Cyborg, the first black DC hero. Terrio said, “Cyborg is the one character who can’t disguise himself. He lives in his skin. His otherness is a constant fact of his life. And that to me—and Ray and I discussed this—speaks about being a Black man in America.”
In the end, Terrio stands by the #SnyderCut: “People do have problems with this version of the film, and they’ll quibble with the length, and they’ll quibble with the way that certain characters are written. But that I can take, because that is actual critique of my work. That’s fair game, and that I’ll engage with any day. People can quarrel with the movie, but at least they’re quarreling with my version and with Zack’s version of the film.”
Click the link to read the full interview with Vanity Fair: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/04/chris-terrio-justice-league-batman-v-superman