An Open Letter to Ryan Reynolds (and 20th-Century Fox… but mostly Ryan Reynolds)

Dear Mister Reynolds.

First off, congratulations on being Ryan Reynolds. Seriously, you lucked out on that one.
But I digress…

If I can pull you away from your picture-perfect marriage, your adorable child and whatever business comes along with being sexy as hell, there’s something I was hoping to talk to you about. Y’know, plant a bug in your ear.

It’s about your labour-of-love turned license-to-print-money success story, DEADPOOL. Specifically, the sequel. I understand there’s an opening for a director. Now, I’m certain you have a veritable conga line of directors forming around the block for this gig, and no surprise. One of the most successful R-rated movies of all time, not to mention the highest grossing film in the X-Men franchise? That’s a pretty choice checkmark for anyone’s CV! I’d go for it myself if, y’know, I knew the first thing about making a movie! I mean, I find the camera on my phone is challenging at times, and I wouldn’t even know where … I’m off track, again. I’m sorry. I’m getting help for it.

The point is, I’m not the best candidate for the job but I know someone who is.
Two someones, in fact.
Twins, to boot.

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Meet The Twisted Twins, Jen and Sylvia Soska. Writers/actresses/directors/all-around badasses.

Now, you may know them from their seminal cult film, AMERICAN MARY. Or their stint as the taskmasters on GSN’s HELLEVATOR. Or their larger-than-life presence on social media. Chances are, though, you’ve heard of them. Especially with everyone making a big to-do on ( your social network of choice) about how they’re the obvious choice to direct the sequel. Before I go any further, yes, social media fooferaw like this should be taken with a sizable grain of salt. Hot button tweets and likes have a short shelf life online and can burn out real quick-like. Ask KONY. He’ll back me up. But the difference here is that the buzz is legit. In fact, you guys have more in common than you may be aware of. How much so? Let me break it down for you, starting with…

1) Number #1 Fan:It’s safe to say that there’s probably not a bigger fan of Wade Wilson’s hijinx than you. A man doesn’t spend that much time cultivating a project like this for A DECADE without a bit of love for it. But I’d be willing to wager that The Soskas could give you a run for your money on Deadpool 101. Not only can they tell you whether or not Deadpool was ever infected by a splinter of the Venom symbiote (answer: yes) , but they’ll tell you which series,volume and issue it happened in. Hell, they’ll break it right down to the page and panel. Believe me, I know! But beyond an encyclopedic knowledge of the character, they GET Deadpool – the character, the universe, the specific quirks and traits that make him such a standout from the rest of the spandex crowd on both the page and screen.

Like you do, really. And who wouldn’t want that in their corner?

2) Hometown Pride: You’re from Vancouver. Guess what? So are they. They know the scene, they know how to get the most bang for your buck out west. It may seem like a little thing, one of those tenuous-at-best connections , but it’s one more point in this little connect the dots, and I’m trying to make an argument here.

3) Ringing Endorsements: As mentioned before, the social networks are buzzing with support and calls for the girls to take the helm. Their fan base is loyal… VERY loyal. And vocal about their support, too. There have been petitions, hashtags and every other media tool possible to spread the word. But there’s also been high praise from other persons of interest, too, that bare mentioning:

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Yes. THAT Slash. String-shredding, top-hat-wearing, rock-and-roll royalty!

I’m not saying it’s enough to swing the vote completely but HOLY CRAP, IT’S G-N-F’N-R’s SLASH!!!

4) Maximum Effort: these girls started out 100% DIY, Ryan ( I feel like we can first-name basis this stuff, now. We’ve been through *so* much now.). From a handful of short films to their GRINDHOUSE-inspired DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK to the cult-phenomenon that is AMERICAN MARY. Currently, they’re ramping up to start on the remake to David Cronenberg’s RABID, as well as more-projects-than-common sense in development. They know how to make a little look like a lot.And while I don’t know that much about filmmaking (ie: nothing at all), I know that, brother, that ain’t easy.

Put em all together, and what does that spell?

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Yeah, I know. I’m sorry.

Look, my opinion doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. I’m neither a captain of industry nor a mover-and-shaker (which incidentally sounds like a substitute name for a go-go dancer). I’m merely a guy with a blog, who happens to occasionally write for other outlets when the mood hits him. That probably puts me just a fraction above “angry teenager with a Reddit page”. The point is, you could do worse things then taking a lunch meeting with them and letting them make the pitch. Hell, Sylvia has stated that she’ll waive her pay for the chance.

I repeat: free labour! That’s living the dream, friend-o!

And what do I have to gain from this? Nothing. I have no horse in this race, and I’m sure there have been more eloquent arguments put forward for the cause.  But I do like to see like-minded individuals come together, especially if it means working together on a passion project like this. Great things can happen when people of  a similar mind-set come together, and this could be one of those moments.

In the end, it’s your call to make, but the signs are there. It’s at least worth mulling over. At the very least, you’ll make Slash a very happy man. And really, who doesn’t want that?

Either way, best of luck with the hunt. And continued success with all that “perfect life that we all envy over here oh-so very much” thing, too.

Sincerely,

Ron McKenzie

 

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Jen & Sylvia Soska, with KILL CRAZY NYMPHOS ATTACK co-creator, Daniel Way.                Who also wrote DEADPOOL. So yeah, add THAT to the checklist.

 

IN CONVERSATION WITH: JEN AND SYLVIA SOSKA (Marvel’s NIGHT NURSE)

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If there’s a singular descriptive that best sums up Vancouver’s Twisted Twins,  Jen & Sylvia Soska, it’s “busy”.

Since their debut feature, 2009’s DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK, the Soska Sisters have hit the ground running with little to no time off for a breather. With four feature films under their belt (and a fifth in development) as well as hosting duties on GSN’s upcoming horror-survival game show, HELLEVATOR, and their recently-crowdfunded collaboration with Daniel Way – the so-NSFW graphic novel KILL CRAZY NYMPHOS ATTACK – you would think their dance card was fully punched. They have found time, though, to fulfill one of their lifelong dreams: to write for Marvel Comics.

SECRET WARS JOURNALS #5 (on shelves today) is part of Marvel’s lead-up to the company-wide reboot, which will see the familiar Marvel Universe broken down and reconstructed. Jen and Sylvia’s contribution (one of two stories found in this issue) spotlights an “alternate universe” version one of the company’s more obscure characters, Night Nurse, in a tale of occult body-horror.

And the result… well, you can read all about that tomorrow right here.

I had the chance to catch up with Jen & Sylvia to discuss the title, their unabashed love of comics and what it was like to work with “The House Of Ideas”.

 

So what brought you to Marvel’s door?4794751-scwarsjou2015005_dc11_lr-0

Sylvia: That would be through our wonderful friend Lauren Sankovitch, who had worked for Marvel before. We met through our mutual friend, Matt Bankston, at San Diego Comic Con and we were fast friends. Months later, Lauren got us in touch with Jake Thomas when they were looking for writers for their Secret Wars story arcs. Jake gave us a crash course in comics and also was very gracious as we nerded out all over him.

Jen: Our grandma always used to buy us comic books. We’d go for walks to the corner store and we got to pick out one each. She called them funny books. I remember we’d flip through them looking for girl super heroes. X-Men in the 80s was our first step into comic book land. I loved Rogue and Sylvie loved Storm. We got so many over the years. We eventually went to collecting them at a comic books store near our grandparents’ place, Big Pete’s. It’s still our comic book shop.

 

As lifelong Marvel fan(atics), what was it like getting to run amok in their playground?

Sylvia: For two girls who grew up making up Marvel stories to kill time between their cartoon shows and comic books, we never dreamed to have this kind of opportunity. We are quite familiar with the Marvel Universes, but Jake was there to get us caught up on all the things leading up to where our story would play. To be honest, I never wanted to leave. Unlike other mediums of entertainment that we have been involved with in the past, there was so much freedom working for Marvel. The world is as big as your imagination and you have no restrictions as to how big or how abstract you can go.

Jen: It’s a dream come true. We spent so much time making up stories for Marvel characters between the two of us between releases. To be able to write for a company that had so much to do with the women we grew up to be is so surreal and just incredible. Admittedly, it was a major career goal for us to be able to work for Marvel, I just expected it to take years longer to be able to break in to it. It felt familiar and so much better than I could have ever imagined or dreamed of to get to play around and raise a little hell in the Marvelverse.

How familiar were you with Night Nurse, and her many iterations, before taking on the project?

Sylvia: The most familiar to us was the new Claire Temple, as portrayed by Rosario Dawson on the perfect Netflix Daredevil show. Night Nurse also made an appearance in the Brian Michael Bendis Daredevil comic run, but Jen was way more familiar with that as she’s the huge Daredevil fan. I don’t want to give anything away, but because of how the story goes, it was important to us for the readers to get to know the original Night Nurse, Linda Carter. As we brushed up on her, I found a lot of similarities between her and our AMERICAN MARY protagonist, Mary Mason.

Jen: We loved her reinvention in the Daredevil Netfilx series. We did a lot of research to catch up on what she’s done and where she’s been. I saw her pop up with Daredevil in the comics and with Strange, too. Not surprisingly we included both in our comic.

SCWARSJOU2015005A005_col_previewWhen you were putting it all together, what was the editorial input like? Were you given carte blanche with your story, or were there specific guidelines in place before you put pen to paper?

Sylvia: As a filmmaker, much of our work is being put in a box and then you creatively problem solve to tell a story without seeing those perimeters. Working for Marvel was freedom. Obviously, we were fitting into a pre-existing world, but Jake was there to let us know where we were and then let us go. It was a very collaborative process and a fun one because all of us are comic fans, so we were speaking the same language from call one. When we first got to brainstorming ideas, we had some pretty out there ones that had this been a studio meeting, it would have been unlikely to have gotten approved – in this we got everything. We actually were very encouraged to really spread our wings creatively.

Jen: It was liberating. We’ve read so many comic books, so we kind of understood the style, but Jake was simply incredible teaching us the ropes of piecing it all together. Obviously, there are a lot of changes happening in the Marvel Universe right now, so we had to be told what was up and who was off elsewhere doing stuff. We got to create a brand new demon as Blackheart was busy elsewhere, ha ha.

As filmmakers, was the comic-creating process an easy fit for your sensibilities or did you have to flex new creative muscles?

Sylvia: Like filmmaking, you get surrounded by a team of talented people who bring the story to life and support you every step of the way. We wrote out our panels but we also drew how we envisioned the pages and the progression of the story. Seeing those original crude sketches and then seeing the final artwork was a huge holy shit wow moment.

Jen: We were in very good hands. Jake and the amazing editorial and art team were wonderful. They really supported us and guided us in the right directions. It’s a bit of a learning curve as you need to distribute information and tell your story differently than you would in a screenplay or a book. It was very cool. I think we’ve got the swing of it. It’s really cool because you literally get to create everything in your story and world. Nothing’s off limits.

Speaking of Soskas & Comics, what’s the word on your next project, Kill Crazy Nymphos Attack?

Sylvia: Talk about freedom. Those that are familiar with our work know that we have strong opinions about many social, political, and religious issues. My mom more simply has put it ‘you two have always had a problem with bullshit.’ It’s coming along fantastically. Daniel Way is one of the most viciously intelligent and uncanny artists that I have ever had the pleasure of collaborating with. There are things that he comes up with that we could never in a million years and then there are things that we come up with that is from a different world because we look at this very graphic novel as the jumping off place for a ballsy grind house throwback flick.

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Jen: It’ll be coming out next year and I’m so overwhelmed by the love and support we’ve gotten from the fans. It was our very first Kickstarter project and I simply couldn’t believe how much support we got. I love it! It’s especially great because there are absolutely no limits there. And when you’re writing with badass Daniel Way, nothing’s off limits to begin with, ha ha.

Having worked in film and now written for Marvel, are there any other titles you would like to get your hands on, creatively? Which Marvel comic/film properties would you like to have a crack at?

Sylvia: All of them. Reading Marvel Comics really helped me growing up as a weird kid that got picked on a lot. Comics are a medium of entertainment like nothing else. My favourites are Spider-man, Deadpool, Punisher, Storm, and, new favourite, Night Nurse.

Jen: I’d honestly take on any Marvel hero. I love them all. They’re like old friends. I grew up with all of them. I think we’d have a very cool spin on X-Men. Venom is a favorite and I don’t think we’ve quite gotten him right yet.

 

With Marvel “rebooting” its comics universe, is there a chance we’ll see your take on Night Nurse integrated into the new continuity?

Sylvia: I can’t comment, but reading the Secret Wars Journal #5 will answer that.

Jen: Oh! Great question! I’m afraid I can’t say. You’ll have to pick up the comic book!

SECRET WARS JOURNALS #5 is available today at your nearest comic shop. KILL CRAZY NYMPHOS ATTACK is slated for release this year (officlal date TBA). And be sure to add The Twisted Twins official website to your bookmarks for any and all of the news that’s fit to print.