Hi Reddit. This is David S. Goyer, creator and Executive Producer of Da Vinci’s Demons, screenwriter of the upcoming Man of Steel, co-writer of The Dark Knight trilogy and Black Ops II. Fire away and ask me anything, especially about my latest project Da Vinci’s Demons. Or Kickboxer 2 - I’m sure most of you have burning questions about that.

*EDIT-5pm ET* Hey, everyone -- thank you for all the questions and for keeping the snark to a relatively painless level. It's actually been a lot of fun. But I'm in the UK and it's way late, so sleep calls. Insert shameless plug for Da Vinci's Demons here. We really are proud of it and the season ends pretty spectacularly. And, um... check out that little film of mine later in June. That one's pretty good too.

Comments: 885 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

klonopinhead443 karma

How indispensable is your awesome Director of Development and why?

iamdavidsgoyer398 karma

My director of development needs a raise. (That's her that asked that question.)

mulkbanner253 karma

How would David Goyer do Green Lantern?

iamdavidsgoyer1230 karma


ScreenwriterGuy226 karma

How long do you think you can dodge the JUSTICE LEAGUE questions? ;-)

iamdavidsgoyer605 karma

Dude, I can dodge Justice League until the end of this AMA.

iamdavidsgoyer391 karma

Two consecutive punches in the same direction. He's beating the $$%% out of someone.

touristoflife190 karma

you've worked with both the nolan brothers. do they have different creative styles? approaches? or are they more similar than different?

also...your work...it's good!

iamdavidsgoyer279 karma

The Nolan brothers are very different. In part, I think, because Jonah grew up more "American". He's got an American accent, as opposed to Chris, who was older when they moved here. But they are both fantastic collaborators.

flaxom159 karma

What's the best piece of advice you could give to an amateur screenwriter?

iamdavidsgoyer433 karma

Hey, guys, thanks for joining me. Best piece of advice for an aspiring screenwriter? Write a TON. Don't just do first drafts. Open yourself up to criticism. Keep writing -- even if people initially discourage you. Chances are, your first few efforts won't be that great. Took me about 4 scripts until I felt like I was starting to "get it". Treat writing like a job -- try to write at the same time each day or days. Keep to a schedule. Outline before you begin! And don't give up during the middle of the script. Most beginning writers quit in the middle and never get through to the end. AND DON'T START REWRITING UNTIL YOU HAVE A FINISHED DRAFT!!!!

Frajer149 karma

Do you feel like the tone of films based on comic books is changing and if so is that a good or a bad thing?

iamdavidsgoyer296 karma

Yes, I think films are changing because of comicbooks. And yes, I think that...that's a good thing. It used to be that Hollywood have a very preconceived notion about what a comicbook film should be -- basically, the Dick Tracy film, with lots of primary colors. I'd like to think that Blade and Batman Begins helped change that. In a way, I think comicbook films are just catching up to where comicbooks have been for the last 20 or 30 years.

jandsb_fan144 karma

Can we really trust Zach for a justice league movie?

iamdavidsgoyer277 karma

Zack did an incredible job on MOS. Chris and I were both blown away by what he did. I am very proud to be associated with what he's come up with.

personmanguy109 karma

Huge fan of your work, Mr. Goyer and you'd make my day if you answered even one of these questions:

1)Was it difficult navigating from Demon Toys to Batman?

2)Who came up with “Die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”

3)What did characters like Joker and Bane look like in your head while you and the Nolan brothers were writing?

iamdavidsgoyer203 karma

"Die a hero..." Man, no idea which one of us came up with that line. It was a LONG time ago and a lot of those specific moments tend to blur together. As for Bane and the Joker. The Joker was pretty much spot on. Bane was difficult. Always felt the character in the comics was great, but that the costume was ridiculous. I was impressed with the look that Chris came up with -- it was, frankly, a lot scarier than I'd imagined.

dontuforgetaboutme23103 karma


iamdavidsgoyer351 karma

Torrent? Come on, it's STEALING. It's a bummer to see your stuff on torrent. It does make an impact on the profitability of some of these films. Not everyone who participates in residuals is a millionaire.

philipquarles98 karma

Who would win in a fight between Batman and Blade?

iamdavidsgoyer477 karma

Batman would kick the shit out of Blade. I mean, come on. Given a head start and some planning, Batman might even be able to take down Superman. Seriously, are you REALLY asking that question?????

danhess294 karma

David, I've been meaning to ask you this -- is it true that the line "Some motherf***ers are always trying to ice skate uphill" in Blade came about when you overheard Wesley say it in real life in between takes or is that just HOLLYWOOD LORE?? If not, it's the best thing you've ever written.

iamdavidsgoyer186 karma

Some motherf****rs... Half and half. I heard Wesley say something similar -- about ice-skating downhill. I say "No, I think you mean UP-HILL". He said "yeah". Then I said "We should use that in the end of the film." He thought he was joking. We had to convince him to do it. He'd only do one take. The rest is history.

courtFTW93 karma

Does everyone involved with Man of Steel feel a lot of pressure because of all the hype surrounding it?

iamdavidsgoyer212 karma

Sure, there's a ton of pressure surrounding Man of Steel. WB has a lot riding on it - not just the Superman franchise, but the future of DC movies. More importantly, I think Zack, myself, Henry -- we just really want to give the fans the Superman film they deserve. The kind of Superman film I dreamed about making since I saw the first Donner film. I HOPE people like it as much as we do. Knock on wood.

TheHebrewHamma84 karma

What do you think is the best screenplay you wrote that didn't ended up being made into a movie and why did it fail?

iamdavidsgoyer236 karma

I think my best unfilmed script so far is my adaptation of Murder Mysteries, the Neil Gaiman story. So far, it's been tough to get the financing because it's "arty", but also requires at least $40 million or so. Fingers crossed we'll get there soon.

spacegirl35269 karma

Why do you think a Wonder Woman movie hasn't happened yet? And if it did, who would you want to play her?

iamdavidsgoyer131 karma

I think Wonder Woman is a very difficult character to crack. More difficult than Superman, who is also more difficult than Batman. Also, a lot of people in Hollywood believe that it's hard to do a big action movie with a female lead. I happen to disagree with that. But that tends to be the prevailing wisdom. Hopefully, that'll change in the next few years. Who should play here? No idea...

vikash72266 karma

I have a few questions for.

  1. How was your experience working with Christopher Nolan and how does has that effected your future and do you plan on collaborating with him in the future?

  2. How do you think Man of Steel will affect the future of a Justice league film?

3.would you be interested in writing the justice league film?

As a fan I have loved your work ever since I found it watching the blade trilogy. I'm a teenager and I go to an arts high school for film and your screenwriting has been pivitol in different productions that I have been apart of.

I hope to see more of your work and I have enjoyed the first couple episodes of DaVincis demons and I hope to see anything from you in the future

iamdavidsgoyer180 karma

Working with Chris was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. But also hard as shit. Chris is an exhausting taskmaster. He will push you until you scream. But Chris also works harder than anyone I know and he has an incredible work ethic. I've learned a lot from Chris. I definitely think he helped me grow as both a writer and a director. I'd love to work with Chris again. I'd work on adapting the phone book if he asked me to. Chris instills a lot of loyalty in the people he works with.

SurfingFarmer63 karma

How did you happen to bring DA VINCI'S DEMONS to STARZ? And, how will you deal with Da Vinci's homosexuality?

iamdavidsgoyer113 karma

We'd heard that the head of Starz was interested in Da Vinci, so that was a no-brainer. Regarding DV's homosexuality (or bisexuality, depending on whom you talk to), I always intended to explore that. There was some discussion about whether or not the first season would be too soon -- whether we'd alienate viewers. But I argued we'd also alienate viewers if we DIDN'T explore that. Without giving too much away, we will be exploring that in Season 1.

IncidentOn57thStreet51 karma

Hi David, I really admire your work.

I'm an aspiring screenwriter half way through my university course. Just finished my semester and I plan on spending my summer writing and watching as many films as I can then I'm going to L.A. in August just to go to a few film festivals.

If you could give your 20 year old self a piece of advice you wish you knew sooner, what would you say? Doesn't have to be writing related.

iamdavidsgoyer240 karma

Advice for my 20 year-old self. Man. I was such a fucking idiot when I was 20. Try not to stress so much. Try not to worry about who you're going to become. Just try to live. Try to experience and love and fail and travel. Try as many different jobs as possible. Kevin Costner once said he thought failure was underrated. That we could learn a lot from that. I stressed out a lot in my 20s. I'm a lot happier now. And a lot less selfish.

tnuts42046 karma

hi david, thanks for the AMA. always good to see a fellow ann arborite out there kicking ass in the real world! my question is how does your method differ when writing for different mediums (video games, film, and tv)?

iamdavidsgoyer73 karma

Go Ann Arbor! Each medium is different. For TV, you've got a serialized story -- so you're thinking about the individual episode, and then the season as a whole -- and then the series as a whole. Features are more close-ended. In some ways, comicbooks are similar to writing for TV. TV tends to be much more collaborative. Writing videogames is completely different -- the latest Black Ops was nonlinear, so we had to come up with dozens of different endings. A branching tree of if/then decisions.

DrAcula143143 karma

considering how much Dark Victory and Long Halloween influenced the Dark Knight trilogy, have you met Jeph Loeb? Also what is your favorite graphic novel?

iamdavidsgoyer84 karma

Yes, I've met Jeph Loeb a few times. Great guy. I even wrote an intro to one of those Absolute books for him. Favorite graphic novel? Watchmen?

denizenKRIM42 karma

Back during the Batman Begins days, you noted how you preferred Jake Gyllenhaal during the casting rounds. If you were to cast Bale's successor today, who would it be and why?

iamdavidsgoyer94 karma

That's a hard question to answer -- it's impossible for me to think of Batman as anyone other than Bale at the moment. He approached the role with so much integrity and conviction.

more9438 karma

From your experience do you think film school has payed off? Working in the business, do you think it has any value today (like when hiring new writers)?

iamdavidsgoyer61 karma

I went to filmschool from '84 to '88. At the time, the internet was just getting started. There weren't even screenwriting programs like Final Draft available then. Or YouTube. Or relatively cheap HD cameras. So I think it was more useful back THEN than it might be today. Today, there are more options than there were then. For me, interviewing writers, I don't care at all whether or not they've been to filmschool. That said, I'm sure filmschool helped me.

XibalbaN736 karma

Good choice in bringing in Bear McCreary David - so often music gets overlooked and is more of an "afterthought". By having Bear aboard, you guys have helped breathe a special spark of life in to the mix...literally!

Was Bear your first and only choice? If not, who else were you considering? - Paddy

PS: LOVE the show! Congratulations on getting that second season! (If what I have heard is true!)

iamdavidsgoyer38 karma

Thanks on the kind words about Bear. He is incredible. I had two initial choices -- Bear and Clint Mansell. Bear was available and that was that. Music can be an ENORMOUS part of a show. We brought Bear in early and he's really been integral to the show. I even increased the length of the title sequence by 15 seconds after I heard his theme.

SiouxieSioux32 karma

Hi, thank you so much for doing this! I'd like to know: What's your personal geekiest feature? And is there a geeky feature you share with Leonardo Da Vinci?

iamdavidsgoyer85 karma

Geeky feature? Hmmm. Asking my wife right now... honey? Reading comicbooks by the bedside? Not wanting my two boys to play with my action figures? Especially my giant Galactus figure. I'm a pretty shitty dancer as well. Maybe we can give that feature to Leonardo.

TheGMan32332 karma

I know you probably get this question all the time, but how long did you have to work before you got your first job and felt you had truly broken into the industry? How did you support yourself until that point?

iamdavidsgoyer82 karma

Sickeningly, I sold my first screenplay about 4 months out of college. At that time, I made enough money to quit my shitty job. From that point onward, I've supported myself by writing ever since. My first job out of school was as a P.A. at MTM Studios (Mary Tyler Moore). I delivered mail and shit to various executives. They were complete ass-holes to me.

crabcakesandfootball32 karma

Thank you for doing this, The Dark Knight Trilogy is my favorite trilogy out there. My question is, how early on did you and the Nolan Brothers know what direction you were going to go in with the movies? Was is all planned out or did you take it one movie at a time?

iamdavidsgoyer58 karma

The Dark Knight trilogy was definitely taken one movie at a time. That's just the way Chris likes to work. We had no idea whether Batman Begins was going to be successful. And after the Dark Knight, because of Heath and a lot of things, we weren't sure we had another film in us. It took us a long time to come around to an idea that we felt was a worthy follow-up.

guannabislounge32 karma

a) Where do you film Da Vinci´s Demons ? b) Wich DC Heroes would you like to make a movie about ?

iamdavidsgoyer70 karma

We film Da Vinci's Demons in Wales. Swansea. It is very wet. I am there right now. But the locals have embraced us and it's a great deal of fun. Tons of castles and ruins everywhere you look. Which DC heroes would I like to film????? Hmmm.... Wonder Woman would be cool.

oliver_tate30 karma

Which comics were your biggest inspiration for Man of Steel?

And thank you for making the DC movies we deserve, The Dark Knight trilogy was amazing and im hoping Man of Steel blows us away even more so we can get that fucking Justice League movie going!

iamdavidsgoyer87 karma

In order for a Justice League film to happen, MOS has to be successful. That's up to you guys and about 80 million other people. ;)

omgfloofy30 karma

Hello, David!

It's not really a question, but I wanted to thank you for being part of bringing FlashForward to television. It was a great TV series that I had a blast following while it was running.

I'm sure everyone's going to ask you about your movies and while I like them, that show was a major impact to me. I simply wanted to be able to thank you for that.

iamdavidsgoyer58 karma

Thank you re: Flashforward. That was one of the big heartbreaks of my career. It started out amazing and then the network kind of... completely ruined it. Blechh.

wpmullen26 karma

Mr. Goyer, thank you for doing this and thank you for bringing us Da Vinci's Demons to fruition for us. I am enjoying the series so far. Actually, I don't have a question, I just wanted to say thank you very much!

iamdavidsgoyer43 karma

So glad you're enjoying Da Vinci's Demons. We've been having a blast making it. Stick with it. The season ender is INSANE!!!!!

D0mi21 karma

Hello Mr.Goyer Thanks a Million for this AMA. And for visiting /r/davincisdemons. My questions:

How was it to research and bring to life the creations of Da Vinci?

Did it bring any difficulty to you and the creative team the fact that most of them were only on paper?

And what other inventions can we expect in future episodes?

iamdavidsgoyer30 karma

Even though the show is historical fantasy, research is a big component of the show. It gives us tons of inspiration and texture. In terms of future inventions, expect to see the giant crossbow, the diving suit, possibly the parachute. Eventually the aerial screw and self-propelled cart. Lots of them. If you're interested in DV's inventions, you should seriously check out the Citizens of Florence app. I had some hand in it. I was doubtful at first, but the guys did an amazing job on it. It's really cool and you get to explore the ones we've used (and lots of other things) with it. No bull-shit. It's cool. Done right, I think second screen can help. Done wrong, it blows.

HelluvaLottaMalarkey20 karma

Lemme ask you something my good man,

If you could reanimate any dead historical figure(The great Da Vinci excluded because it'd just be too convenient), get said figure drunk to stop them from freaking out, then have a long honest conversation, who would you choose and what would you want to talk about?

iamdavidsgoyer57 karma

I'd resurrect Mark Twain, if I could. That guy was funny as shit. And incredibly good at predicting the future. And I think he'd be a fun drinking buddy.

heymack20 karma

What movie is your favorite guilty pleasure? You know you shouldn't like it, but you just can't help yourself...

iamdavidsgoyer73 karma

Halloween 3. The non-Michael Meyers one where they embed little splinters from stonehenge into chips that are put into Halloween masks and it causes kids' heads to explode and mutate when they watch the TV ads.

Wiggles42019 karma

Hi David, thanks for doing this AMA!

What prompted you to create Da Vinci's Demons? I'm really enjoying the show and wanted to know where the inspiration came from.

iamdavidsgoyer59 karma

A lot of things inspired me for Da Vinci's Demons -- always been intrigued with him as a historical figure. And I liked the idea of doing revisionist history (definitely something that people in comics are more used to than in TV). Assassin's Creed didn't hurt -- but I'd already been toying around with doing the idea. I like "secret histories". I like steampunk.

WhatDoesYourHeadSay18 karma

How daunting was it to write a follow-up movie to Kickboxer? Were you worried that a less than pristine sequel would tarnish the awesomeness that was the first one?

iamdavidsgoyer53 karma

But seriously -- Van Damme was up to do both a sequel to Bloodsport and Kickboxer. At the time, he said he'd do whichever one I wrote. So I said I'd write whichever one paid me the most money. Kickboxer 2 won. I was only 21 years old. The movie sucked ass.

Niquoi17 karma

Hey David! Thanks so much for doing this. Fellow Trojan here, currently in the screenwriting minor program at SC. First of all I want to say that Dark City is one of my favorite movies, and I feel that it's highly underrated.

For my questions: What keeps you moving forward when you're writing? That is, what keeps you from closing the script and never coming back to it? And how do you feel your time at school has helped you in your work?

Again, thanks so much. Great to see a screenwriter doing an AMA!

iamdavidsgoyer29 karma

These days, deadlines sometimes keep me from continuing to polish a script. If I didn't have a deadline, I think I would keep going back again and again. Recently, I was in a position to rewrite a script I'd written 7 years prior and it was like I was revising a completely different person's work. Weird.

DerfelMacklin17 karma

Was John Byrne's Krypton an influence on your approach? Getting that vibe from some imagery and interviews. Miller, Loeb, and Brubaker were pretty key influences on the Dark Knight trilogy. What runs/stories would say are similar touchstones for Man of Steel?

iamdavidsgoyer41 karma

Byrne's Krypton was definitely an influence, but not the only influence. Was also influenced by Alan Moore's stuff. All Star Superman. Geoff Johns' stuff. Even the old Curt Swan stuff.

uofo1717 karma

Hi David thanks for the AMA!

I’m finishing the last 20 or so pages on my screenplay. However, I can’t help but rewrite dialogue and descriptions on my existing pages.

Once your done with a writing a scene, do you typically not review until your entire draft is done?

iamdavidsgoyer71 karma

Try to resist rewriting until you actually have a rough draft done. I know it's hard, but you have to have two different hats. For the first draft, just get a workable draft done -- even if you think some of the dialogue sucks. It's so much easier to revise once you have a road map.

agentjayjay17 karma

As a budding screenwriter, your work pretty much sets the standard. (I know, flattery). My (first?) question is this: How do/did you know when your work is/was good enough to shop around?

iamdavidsgoyer34 karma

The truth is, I DIDN'T know if it was good enough to shop around. I was completely naive. I just started trying to get people to read it. But, once I got feedback, I didn't curl up into a ball and start crying. I tried to step back and see if there was any legitimacy in what people were saying. And if there was, I started addressing it.

A_Dog_Chasing_Cars16 karma


What's a story you wish you could make an adaptation of for the big screen? Any actors in mind for the roles?

What TV series do you enjoy?

Thanks for doing the AMA! :)

iamdavidsgoyer48 karma

For TV series, I like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Justified, Walking Dead, Madmen, The Wire, Luther, Utopia, Sherlock...As far as other projects I'd like to tackle... maybe Childhood's End?

Mikeaz12315 karma

Why does Da Vinci have perfectly styled spikey hair and everyone on the show has the whitest teeth I've ever seen?

iamdavidsgoyer36 karma

Maybe we went a little overboard on the hair gel. Blame Starz. As for white teeth, do you really want to see Laura Haddock with rotted teeth?

ContinuumGuy14 karma

Two questions:

  1. You've written TV, movies, comics, video games and novels... what's the easiest to write and hardest to write?

  2. Is Mothra or any other Kaiju (Ghidorah, Rodan, etc.) going to be in the new Godzilla movie you've written? (I know you probably can't answer this one, but it's worth a shot.)

iamdavidsgoyer33 karma

I think novels are the hardest to write. Re: Godzilla, I only did 4 weeks on it and there've been a ton of other writers that came after me. But I believe there will be other monsters, yes. There were at least 2 others when I was mucking about with it.

cadaverouskawaii14 karma

Thank you for the AMA! I'm interested in how did you exactly cast the main characters in Da Vinci's Demons? I read about the lovely casting choice of Tom Riley, but what about the others (Laura Haddock, Blake Ritson etc.)? Where did you find them? It's been a pleasure to notice you've chosen such talented, but fairly unknown actors.

iamdavidsgoyer22 karma

Thanks for the nice things you've said about the cast. To start with, we have an amazing casting director named Priscilla Johns (who also cast Thor and Captain America). I told her we didn't necessarily need stars -- just incredible actors. Took a long time to find Tom. Months. For Laura, she'd mostly done comedy, but I thought she rocked the drama. As soon as I saw Blake, I wanted him. Took a while to convince Starz, as he'd never played a villain before.

ajayreddit12 karma

Who is your favorite screenwriter? What is your favorite screenplay?

iamdavidsgoyer23 karma

One of my favorite (and underrated screenwriters) is Walter Hill. his early scripts have an incredible economy to them. like they were written as haikus. I still love his script for Hard Times. Also love Milius.

WIAPilot11 karma

  1. What fact about Da Vinci in your research surprised you the most??

  2. How many times have you seen the Mona Lisa? :-)

iamdavidsgoyer28 karma

I didn't know that Leonardo was a vegetarian when I started researching. I also didn't realize that he and Michelangelo really hated each other. That's something that I hope to explore later on. He was also quite funny, which I don't think many people realize. I've seen the Mona Lisa only once -- when I was in highschool.

DancherUA11 karma

Hey David,

Was there something specific that inspired you to create Da Vinci's Demons? I noticed some references to Assassin's Creed series, like the Turk and the construction lift Leo used to get away from Swiss guard. Do you consider videogames to be as legit form of art as books and movies are?

Thanks :)

iamdavidsgoyer21 karma

I think videogames are definitely a legit form of art -- but still a relatively young medium, so there's lots of space to grow. Nothing specific in terms of inspiration -- but Assassin's helped. There've been lots of other fictional novels about DV as well.

spacegirl3526 karma

Davinci's Demons has a sweet second screen app for iPad. As a writer, do you think the 2nd screen movement has enhanced or hurt the TV viewing experience today?

iamdavidsgoyer10 karma

I think the second screen movement is exciting - but it all depends on the application. The app has to have its own itegrity and not just be a bull-shit up-sell, you know?

mulkbanner6 karma

What can you tell us about Jonathan Hickman and Matt Fraction's involvement in Da Vinci's Demons? Will they be writing separate episodes or working together? Have they pitched anything, yet?

iamdavidsgoyer6 karma

Matt and Jonathan, first of all, are incredible guys. I was fans of their work, but didn't know them before I cold-called them. They will each be working on separate episodes. Matt is doing one with me and Jonathan one with Corey Reed. They have both pitched their episodes and both have already been approved. They are FUCKING AWESOME and if we get a third season, I'd love them to join us full-time. Buy Hawkguy and The Manhattan Projects!!!!

ScreenwriterGuy5 karma

Hi David, thank you so much for being here, I'm a big fan. Re: DaVinci's Demons. Does the show depend on DaVinci or could it have been another famous person in the title role? Basically, how important was it that a KNOWN BRAND be a part of the show to get it sold to Starz and audiences?

iamdavidsgoyer15 karma

Sure, we might have been able to do another show with another historical figure -- but the question is, would we have gotten an AUDIENCE for it? He was/is a known brand. So that recognition helps cut through the clutter. If I had done a show called Roger Bacon's Demons, would you have tuned in? (Even though Roger Bacon was fascinating.)