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Jumper Author Steven Gould Discusses Movie Sequel Possibilities

Jumper Author Steven Gould Discusses Movie Sequel Possibilities” width=”560″/>

The scifi author discusses Doug Liman’s divergent adaptation of his novel, his hopes for a second movie and the Jumper movie that could have been.

Q: Jumper‘s director, Doug Liman, said his goal was to subvert the superhero in creating a selfish protagonist. What was your goal with the book?

A: The character in the book is quite different. He’s in a pretty bad way in the sense that he’s this runaway teen with an abusive father — far more abusive than in the movie. So he’s desperate; he does steal from a bank initially, but he doesn’t keep stealing. But Liman really liked that self-interest thing that was going on in the beginning. In mine it was all a metaphor about escape. The kid has issues he needs to deal with, so no matter how far he runs he can’t teleport away from himself.

Q: How much control did you have over the script?

A: I got to read the scripts as it went along. One of the most interesting ones was a pretty dark script by the guy who did the adaptation for Fight Club. Among other things the other jumper is the bad guy. You get Griffin leading Davy down a dark direction before he finally finds his own sense of center. And then conflict ensues. The Palladins were there, so there were multiple bad guys, but the Griffin character was much darker.

Q: You wrote Griffin’s prequel story for the movie. Was it weird to write a novel for a movie that differed from your work so drastically?

A: It was interesting. What was hard about it was that it’s a very dark story. The character has to go through a lot. It starts when he’s 9 years old, and he goes through really bad stuff to become the character he is at the beginning of the movie. I’d written dark stuff in the past, but when you’re writing it and you get to a bad place, you can put it down and walk away. But because this book had to be done before the movie I could never back away.

Q: Where does all this trauma you put your characters through come from?

A: Well in the case of Davy, my father thank God has been sober for 30 years. But until I was in college he was an active alcoholic. Jumper is very much my self-therapy, my working on stuff that was true to me.

Q: What would you like to see happen in Jumper 2?

A: Liman has expressed a particular interest in an unspecified moment in the sequel Reflex, and I suspect it’s this twinning thing that Davy does, where he’s jumping to a place and back and forth to the point where he’s in both places at once, and a hole opens connecting the two places. So when he’s chained to a wall, he jumps back and forth to the ocean and all this water floods out of the hole. If ever there was a cinematic moment, that’s it. And then there’s this thing from Reflex where you have a very shadow-y Illuminati sort of government agency and they very much want to control jumpers. And that organization showed up in the scripts, but they ended up having to cut it because of budget. So that thread might show up.

Q: You write a lot of young adult scifi — and to an extent Jumper and Griffin are both YA stories. What’s the attraction for you?

A: Part of it is the fact that science fiction and fantasy are meaningless distinctions when it comes to writing YA. You’re not ghetto-ized, and you’re actually going to sell a lot better because bookstores don’t split YA into genre — it’s all mixed in there. I’ve always loved young adult — it’s what got me into science fiction in the first place, reading Heinlein’s young adult stories. And it was really a goal for me to write books that can be read by a wider audience.

Q: You just released a short story that ties into your next book about an infestation of metal-consuming bugs in the American southwest. What can you tell us about it?

A: It’s the ultimate terrorist incident — far more extreme than 9/11. But the bugs don’t eat humans, they just eat everything metallic, so you don’t have any technology. No knives or phones or cars, or certainly guns. And they react nastily if you try to destroy them. They swarm. Then after I write that, I’m going to write the next Jumper novel. At the end of Reflex Davy and Millie are making a concerted effort to have kids, so you can sort of figure out what it might be about…

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