Great Characters Have This In Common by Jason Satterlund

Film Courage: Does the antagonist have to be the strongest character in a movie?

Jason Satterlund, Filmmaker: Hhmm? Well that…ohhh? Strongest versus not strongest? I would say they need to be at least as well-defined as your hero. I think they need to be one of the strongest if not the strongest. Like the hero and the antagonist probably I would say neck-and-neck as far as well-defined. Like oftentimes the antagonist is not well-defined it’s just a villain. I’ve heard it described as (bad villains) as Muahaha. It’s just that they are just evil for the sake of being evil and that is the most uninteresting villain you could create, it’s the bad guy doing evil, laughing as he beats up somebody. C’mon? What’s more terrifying is…this may be a terrible example but in the FORCE AWAKENS you’ve got Kylo Ren the son of Han Solo right? He’s essentially sort of a villain, probably an anti-hero/villain. He’s a complicated character but to me I found him really terrifying because he’s like a child with a lot of power. That to me is scary. He wants to be loved, no one has loved him before. That’s the impression I got of him as a character, but boy he can stop a bullet and it really makes you afraid of him because he is so well-developed.

I think everyone can identify with that sense of wanting to be loved. I think we’ve all been in the presence with someone with a lot of power and you don’t know if they are going to snap at you and do something dangerous like that. Man…that is way more interesting than someone who is just evil for the sake of being evil.

The perfect example is the guy, his rival in the movie. Brandon’s son, the redheaded guy who plays, he the same age. I’m blanking on the name…Gleeson [General Hux, played by Domhnall Gleeson]! He is a little bit more like evil for the sake of being evil. He doesn’t really have the backstory of Kylo Ren so it makes Kylo Ren way more memorable in that film.

Film Courage: You’ve talked about backstory and The Wound and you’ve compared several films and said that all of them were orphans?

Jason: Yes…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

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