Five-0 Redux: Lenkov hits the big screen

Jul. 6, 2013 | 22 Comments

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

It seems hard to believe Peter Lenkov, creator, executive producer and showrunner of “Hawaii Five-0,” has much time for anything else, but a creative mind can’t be reigned in.

Peter Lenkov, right, with "Hawaii Five-0" co-producer Robert Orci. (Star-Advertiser File)

Peter Lenkov, right, with “Hawaii Five-0″ co-producer Robert Orci. (Star-Advertiser File)

Lenkov is no exception; on July 19, his graphic novel turned feature film, “R.I.P.D.,” opens in theaters. Lenkov is no stranger to seeing his words turned into blockbuster films and hit television shows — he is credited as a writer for the television series “24” and “CSI:NY,” along with films “Demolition Man” and “Son in Law,” among others. Lenkov’s list of writing credits is, of course, extensive. (I was also pleased to see Lenkov wrote for “The Crow: Stairway to Heaven,” a Sci-Fi Channel television show which starred “Hawaii Five-0” recurring cast member Mark Dacascos.)

“R.I.P.D.” is based on Lenkov’s comic book of the same title, and when I spoke to him about it in August 2011 he spoke extensively about his love of writing. When I asked him a few weeks ago about his new film, he was just as excited to talk.

Author Stephen King said writing is like “telepathy.” What a writer sees in their heads is mentally transmitted to the reader via the writers words on the page. So I asked Lenkov to tell me what it was like for him when he saw what he had envisioned in his head printed on the pages of his finished graphic novel.

“Honestly, it was a childhood dream come true,” Lenkov said. “I loved comics as a kid and getting to actually create one and see it become a reality – it was amazing stuff.”

Lenkov was quick to give credit to “R.I.P.D.” artists Lucas Marangon and Randy Emberlin.

“They did such a tremendous job,” he said. “I’d never quite seen the contents of my head on the page before. They just nailed it.”

Lenkov was “blown away” by the finished product and gave a lot of credit to director Robert Schwentke and producers Neal H. Moritz, Mike Richardson and Michael Fottrell.

“The team did a phenomenal job on the movie. I think people go to the movie of a book or a graphic novel to see this story they loved taken from the scenes of their imagination and presented on the big screen. But when it’s your book or graphic novel – the experience is a thousand fold. I loved it,” said Lenkov.

Jeff Bridges, left, and Ryan Reynolds co-star in the big screen adaption of "R.I.P.D." (Courtesy Dark Horse Entertainment)

Jeff Bridges, left, and Ryan Reynolds co-star in the big screen adaption of “R.I.P.D.” (Courtesy Dark Horse Entertainment)

I asked him if it was different from seeing one of his television scripts come to life.

“Obviously, the budget is main factor,” he said. “The other one for me is running a TV show is a 24/7 job. You’re hands on with every facet. Getting to have other people take an idea of yours and run with it, it’s great.”

“R.I.P.D.” is based on Lenkov’s “Dark Horse” comic and a story by David Dobkin, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. The film’s screenplay is by Hay and Manfredi. Lenkov is also one of the executive producers on the film. If you haven’t seen the trailers yet, the cast is incredible. Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds star as “two cops dispatched by the otherworldly Rest In Peace Department to protect and serve the living from an increasingly destructive array of creatures who refuse to move peacefully into the afterlife,” according to Lenkov.

 Sheriff Roy ready to send his perps to Hell in Peter Lenkov's graphic novel version of "R.I.P.D." (Photo courtesy Dark Horse Entertainment)

Sheriff Roy ready to send his perps to Hell in Peter Lenkov’s graphic novel version of “R.I.P.D.” (Photo courtesy Dark Horse Entertainment)

Bridges plays the veteran R.I.P.D. sheriff who spends his afterlife “tracking monstrous souls disguised among the living as ordinary people.” He and his new partner, the “wise-cracking” Roy, are teamed up “to arrest and bring to justice a special brand of outlaws trying to escape final judgment by hiding among the unsuspecting on Earth.”

Starring alongside Bridges and Reynolds are Kevin Bacon as Bobby Hayes, Nick’s partner before he’s taken out in the line of duty; Mary-Louise Parker as Proctor, Nick and Roy’s “tough-as-nails” bureau chief in the R.I.P.D.; and Stephanie Szostak, who plays Nick’s widow. Both Nick and Roy have avatars which hide their now-dead identities on earth. James Hong plays Nick’s elderly avatar and supermodel Marisa Miller is Roy’s very sexy one.

When I asked Lenkov about what he thought about Bridges and Reynolds, he said he was positively thrilled with the casting.

“When you get a couple of actors like Jeff and Ryan, you just keep pinching yourself, unconvinced of your good fortune,” Lenkov said. “They were just incredible. They embodied the characters so well; they even look like the characters do in my book! Their attitude and commit to the work just comes off the screen. I really can’t see anyone else in these roles.”

Like King’s vision of telepathy, Lenkov seems to believe that what we will see in the film is a complete vision of what he wrote in his graphic novel. I’m sure fans of “Hawaii Five-0″ will enjoy his latest trip to the big screen.

Redux Side Note:

Dennis Chun was very grateful for the award he was bestowed with a few weeks ago. He wanted to thank all the “Hawaii Five-0” fans and he sent me this special message to share:

“Aloha to all the Five-0 Ohana- I am so very touched and humbled by the fan’s words and aloha. I cannot tell you how much the award means to me. In reality it is I who should be thanking and honoring you for your support. It is a privilege to be able to entertain you and a true blessing to be a small part of a show that has such great fans. Filming for season four will start soon and it will be the best yet. Remember it moves to Friday this season. Thank you again. Best always and malama pono, Dennis Chun.”

Fans may have noticed that there was no “Hawaii Five-0” repeat this week, but next week’s airing of “Hoa Pili” will bring “Five-0 Fridays” back online.
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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  • Jennifer Fornale Pellecchia

    Great interview Wendie! From reading this I look forward to Mr. Lenkov’s R.I.P.D. even more. :)

    • Wendie Joy

      Thanks Jen! I’m with you- I can’t wait to see it as well:) Mahalo for reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • Dina

    Nice Wendie love your work as always…think Peter would be HAPPY to cont talking about his craft, challenges he faces (other than budget) as a writer vs EP.. I see a sequel to this piece ;=))

    • Wendie Joy

      Thanks for reading Dina;) I was blessed that Peter told me so much and look forward to sharing more of his insight with everyone in a future Five-0 Redux. Mahalo for commenting and supporting! Aloha, Wendie

  • Madaline Rico

    Wonderful interview. I love to see a writer diversify into different media. I look forward to seeing Peter’s comic books come to life. Also, thank you for sharing Dennis Chun’s message to the Ohana/ Hawaii Five-0 fans. We are so grateful to him for sharing his time with us over the past few years.

    • Wendie Joy

      Hi Maddy- I agree with you:) Can’t wait to see Peter’s movie and I too am grateful to Dennis for sharing his time with us:) Mahalo for reading and supporting! Aloha, Wendie

  • Justine

    Great interview Wendie! Movie looks awesome……and hell it’s Ryan Reynolds, I’d see it even if Peter wasn’t involved….I’m shallow. ;-)

    • Wendie Joy

      Thanks Justine:) I think I’ll be shallow with you! Mahalo for reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • HawaiiFive0Gal

    Looking forward to see this film. Just makes it better that Peter is involved. Love anything with Jeff and Ryan as well. Also, thank you for sharing Dennis Chun’s sentiments. He is such a gracious, lovely man. Had the opportunity to talk with him on a radio blog. Genuine. Great article, Wendie.

    • Wendie Joy

      Thanks so much for reading H50 Gal:) I’m with you about seeing the film- for one because it’s Peter’s story and because Ryan and Jeff look perfect as the leads. And I think Dennis is reading the comments so I’m sure he’ll see your lovely comments. Mahalo for reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • Lisa Effler

    When we have talent such as Peter Lenkov and Ryan Reynolds coming from Canada, I am proud to call myself Canadian. I can’t wait to see this movie. Excellent write up as always, Wendie.

    • Wendie Joy

      Thanks my Canadian friend! I am looking forward to seeing RIPD and Peter’s words and story on the big screen and Ryan Reynolds at his action star best. Thanks for reading and commenting Lisa:) Aloha, Wendie

  • LindaStein

    Thanks for the great article and interview with Peter, Wendie! I was just at the movies over the 4th of July weekend and saw the RIPD trailer before the feature we saw. It looks totally awesome. I know it’s going to be a fun ride of a movie and I can’t wait to see it. I just love every episode of Five-0 that Peter personally pens so I know I’ll love this movie. It looks like an absolute hoot and with Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds on board you know it’s going to be a ton of fun.

    Also, thank you for forwarding Dennis’ best wishes to the fans. He is such a jewel and, as usual, as the fans are paying him tribute he turns it around, thanks the fans again and continues to show what a gracious man he is!

    • Wendie Joy

      Thanks for the review on the RIPD Trailer Linda! I’ve only watched it online- would love to see it on the big screen- and the movie as well! I was just really blessed that Peter would answer my questions so candidly. And I agree with you- Dennis is a jewel:) but you know that! Mahalo for reading and supporting! Aloha, Wendie

  • Andrea McNelley

    What a great article! Thanks Wendy! I can’t wait to see this movie!

    • Wendie Joy

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Andrea! Have fun on the 19th! Aloha, Wendie

  • FIVE0JOE

    THIS FILM IS GONNA ROCK ! COMICS, HEROES, SPECIAL EFFECTS, JEFF BRIDGES AS A HOT BLONDE RYAN REYNOLDS KEVIN BACON !
    LENKOV BE THE MAN

    • Wendie Joy

      Joe- I could not have said it better myself! Thanks for your passion! And thanks for helping me with this one- you’re awesome:) Aloha, Wendie

  • Luna McAwesomesauce

    Great article, Wendy! You always do a fantastic job, and the bit of back story makes the movie even more intriguing!

    • Wendie Joy

      Thanks Miss McAwesomesauce! Thanks for reading and for commenting! Glad you liked the backstory:) Aloha, Wendie

  • jlopie1

    Okay, so if you want to know, I read the Redux on Sunday while floating the Yellowstone River in Montana! The Redux is THAT important a read! But, then, the view of the Absaroka Mts. from the river took precedence and I had to wait until today to comment! (You can’t have it all, Wendie!)

    Really enjoyed this Redux! I’ve seen the trailer on television and can’t wait to see the movie! I love the storyline and it’s the type of movie I enjoy – action packed, irreverent, and fun! Like Linda says, I live for the H5-0 episodes that Peter writes, so I know I’ll enjoy this movie!

    Also, congratulations to Dennis Chun for his much-deserved fan award. He has given us a truly beloved H50 character – the groan heard around the globe when Duke was shot on the Hookman episode is proof!

    Mahalo, Wendie – who knows where The Redux will be read next!!

    • Wendie Joy

      Thanks Lynnette!!! Glad you got to read it- and floating on a river no less! Awesome:) Just love you for that:) Glad it was worth your time too:) Aloha, Wendie