Zack Stentz Interview – Writer of the Netflix Film “Rim of the World”

Rim of the World is an upcoming Netflix original film directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels, The Babysitter) and written by Zack Stentz (X-Men: First Class, Thor). Back Lot 605’s own Casey Kelderman had the opportunity to give a Q&A with writer Zack Stentz about Rim of the World, his career, and his future projects! You can check out Rim of the World on Netflix beginning May 24th and follow Zack online @MuseZack.

“What is Rim of the World about?”

Stentz: “Rim of the World is a science fiction-adventure movie about four mismatched kids who meet at summer camp when an alien invasion takes place, and are entrusted with a key that can stop the invasion–but only if they can get it 70 miles across the war zone that Los Angeles has become.”

“How did you develop the idea for the project?”

Stentz: “I had long wanted to a modern version of the classic kid/teen adventure movies I had grown up with in the 1980’s, and while taking my own kids to summer camp up in the mountains, realized that the summer camp environment was a perfect setting to separate kids from their parents and force them to fend for themselves. And who doesn’t like a good alien invasion?”

“What are some films that have influenced your writing style?”

Stentz: “I watch as many films as I can and am always breaking them down and looking for lessons to take from them. In the case of Rim of the World, I looked hard at Stand By Me, which is itself a story of kids on a journey learning things about themselves and each other.”

“You are most known for writing X-Men First Class and Thor, how have those two films impacted the way you look at future projects?”

Stentz: “On a practical level, having your name on two big, very successful movies opens the door to much better assignments than one would otherwise be up for. But I’ve tried to make sure I don’t spend all of my creative energy chasing other projects, and work on original material as well.”

“Do you approach an original concept like this any differently than an established property, such as X-Men or Thor?”

Stentz: “When working on an established property, you’re using your creativity in the service of something that already exists, and you have to treat that property with respect. With an original script, you obviously have to do all of the hard work of building worlds and characters yourself, but you also have the tremendous joy of starting with a blank screen and letting your imagination truly off the chain.”

“How much input as a writer did you have on the final product?”

Stentz: “It varies from project to project. Sometimes you’re merely one writer among many in the process, you do your work and then hope for the best when the movie comes out a year or two later. In this case, I got to be involved from beginning to end, consulting both on set and in the editing room.”

“The film is directed by McG and has a score composed by Bear McCreary, what is it like having these to veterans working on Rim of the World?”

Stentz: “It was an honor to work with McG, who’s both incredibly creative and a force of nature on set, adding a positive energy to everything he does. And Bear has been a friend for over a decade, going back to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and getting him to score this was a dream come true.”

“You are also working a script for a remake of Big Trouble In Little China, how has your writing differed from that project to this one?”

Stentz: “I worked with my former writing partner on the BTILC remake over two years ago. Obviously that was a collaboration with another person, a take on an existing property, and tailoring one’s writing for a movie star (The Rock.) While this was mostly writing alone and for unknown kids in the lead roles.”

“Have you ever considered directing a feature film yourself?”

Stentz: “Being on set for Rim of the World and watching McG work really gave me the directing bug. That’s something I’d really like to do in the future.”

“Did you attend summer camp as a child? If so, what is your favorite memory from camp?”

Stentz: “I went to summer camp for a couple of years, but TBH I didn’t enjoy it for the most part. And I didn’t want the film to reflect my own 1980’s camp experiences, so I drew much more on my own kids’ experiences of camp when writing the film.”

 

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About the Author
Casey Kelderman found a love for film at a very early age. One of his earliest memories of watching movies was the original Star Wars trilogy on VHS. Casey graduated from The University of Sioux Falls in 2017. At USF Casey produced weekly movie reviews and hosted a radio show. He graduated with a degree in Media Studies. Skills he learned in college have allowed him to help create Back Lot 605. He has produced and directed 4 short films. His favorite films include Halloween, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Die Hard.
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