BOOM! Studios Spotlight: Steven Grant Talks 2 Guns
Steven Grant is the long-admired creator and writer of the hit series 2 Guns: Second Shot Deluxe Edition from BOOM! Studios. Grant’s story follows two undercover cops and a botched bank heist, but the tables are turned when the protagonists are the ones pursued as common criminals.
The 2 Guns story was so popular that Universal Studios made it into a major motion picture starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. The movie debuted in theaters across North America on August 2 and blew away the competition, finishing the weekend in the number one spot. Grant, a sought-after talent in the industry, offers his take on 2 Guns the comic and its translation on the big screen.
Chris Doucher (CD): How does it feel to see your work from 2 Guns made into a movie?
Steven Grant (SG): It’s pretty surreal. In part I’m very aware of myself as the first domino in the whole thing, but it’s also very odd to see mile high billboards for the film. Watching the dominoes fall in strange patterns is very surreal. For instance, I was watching the season premiere of 30 Rock with my daughter last fall, when James Marsden, his hair buzzcut from his role in the film, walks into the scene. Liz Lemon looks at him in horror & makes a joke that sends him slinking away. My daughter accusingly said, “Dad, YOU did that!” I realized she was right; something I’d written years earlier forced Tina Fey to have to write a joke she’d otherwise never have written. It gets cosmically strange after awhile.
CD: You’ve mentioned to other media previously, that you essentially tried to stay out of the movie production process for 2 Guns. Why is that?
SG: It wasn’t my place to get involved. The book is mine but the movie is theirs, it has to play out by their standards, not mine. I was happy to do anything they felt they needed me to do, but they’re the movie professionals, not me. The production company, the director, the screenwriter & the actors all wanted to make a good movie, & at some point you have to trust that many good intentions will amount to something & if they can’t there won’t be a lot you can do about it anyway. Ross Richie was in there looking out for my interests probably as well as I could & I’ve been around Hollywood enough to know the more unnecessary interference there is, the less likely anything’s going to get done. Good, bad or indifferent, it’s more in my interests to have a film made from my work than not. Fortunately, 2 Guns is good.
CD: With regard to the film, did they do a good job of keeping the main core of your idea intact?
SG: The main thrust of the theme, story & character all remain intact, whatever the changes in plot & development. In the ways that matter, it’s a very faithful adaptation.
CD: Back to the actual comic now. BOOM! Studios has released the 2 Guns Second Shot Deluxe Edition. Give our readers – who haven’t read it yet -a rundown on the story and the characters involved.
SG: Here’s the pitch: two low rent crooks rob a drug bank. Neither of them knows they’re both undercover cops, & it’s not a drug bank, it’s a CIA money laundry. They’re both disavowed & hunted by their respective agencies as they try to track down the people who set them up while being targeted by a drug cartel & the CIA.
CD: How does BOOM! Studios do things differently compared to other companies you’ve worked with?
SG: At other companies I’m an outside contractor. It’s still effectively a wage slave relationship, whatever contracts might exist. I’m working to please the company. BOOM! & I, on the other hand, are equal partners in my work. I write what I decide to write & they facilitate it. My risk is ostensibly greater, but the reward is much greater, on many levels.
Spoiler alert for those who haven’t read 2 Guns yet – skip this next question.
CD: Give us some insight into the follow-up to 2 Guns – 3 Guns.
SG: Bobby & Marcus, not having seen each other since the end of 2 Guns a couple years earlier, end up on opposite sides of an illegal arms deal, but discover that while they can’t trust a thing the other says, working together is maybe a good idea. Unfortunately for them, there’s another player in the game who’s working against both of them, badly straining whatever tiny shred of trust they have left.
CD: A bit of a different question now: Do you prefer the printed edition or digital edition of comics?
SG: I don’t have a preference. I like reading comics in jpg and pdf form on a 10″ tablet, but those are formatted-for-print comics. I think both have their place, but I have to say I read for the stories not for the format. Stories are what interest me. The format is incidental.
CD: What are some other projects you currently have on the go or some that will be released soon?
SG: Besides 3 Guns, I have another action-adventure series in the works at Boom!, a one-shot Watson-Holmes story I’m doing with Hannibal Tabu & Dennis Calero for a little company called New Paradigm, & a revival of Gil Kane’s His Name Is… Savage for a production company moving into comics. But I imagine the lion’s share of my work from now on will be creator-owned comics for BOOM!
I’d like to thank Steven Grant for taking the time to do this interview, while on the road. And if you’re looking for even more great stories, be sure to check out our friends over at BOOM! Studios and follow them on Twitter @boomstudios – today.
Have you read 2 Guns the comic and/or seen the movie? If so, tell us what you thought in the comments section below the 2 Guns three-page preview. And if you’ve read 3 Guns, give us your take on that too.
Here’s a little teaser of the opening of 2 Guns: