‘Clash of the Titans’ says it loud: A Pegasus that is black and proud

March 26, 2010 | 7:33 p.m.

Screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi had a Herculean task with “Clash of the Titans” — how do you hold on to the heroic touchstones from the beloved (but now wildly dated) 1981 original film and still make a 21st century special-effects spectacular for this modern ironic age? It turns out one way was making Pegasus black.  I sat down with them for sandwiches at Little Dom’s to separate myth from fact as far as the new epic, which is due in theaters April 2. — Geoff Boucher

Black Pegasus


GB: Going into this project, what did you know you wanted to avoid? What were the things you didn’t want to see in your revival of “Clash of the Titans“?

Clash of the Titans 1981

MM: We knew that tonally it should not be grim. It shouldn’t be ponderous. It had to have a sense of fun and a sense that it’s an adventure movie with likable characters. There had to be some irreverence in there but it couldn’t be jokey.

PH: When things are happening, you want this true sense of jeopardy but it had to have a real sense of fun to it. It couldn’t be self-serious. We also knew there were these set pieces from the original that were so critical in our memories and so big in our imaginations that this movie wouldn’t be “Clash of the Titans” without them. We knew we wanted to include Medusa, the Pegasus, Calibos and the Kraken, of course.

GB: When I was on the set in London, director Louis Leterrier said he was mulling over big changes for the Pegasus — he was thinking of making it black with leathery bat wings.

MM: The Pegasus is black in the movie. I’m glad the bat wings didn’t happen. It made the horse look too evil, I think. But we were big supporters of black Pegasus. It was to make the Pegasus a bit more of a bad ass. When you see it in the film, it looks tough. And the actual horse they got was a bad ass. And huge.

GB: One of the other choices you needed to make was about Bubo, the little mechanical owl from the original film…


PH: There is a brief, loving cameo. There was a lot of debate about the owl. It’s funny, everyone wants to know about the owl, everybody asks. He’s always going to come up.

MM: He’s a polarizing figure.

PH: It’s true. There’s two camps, the pro-Bubo camp and the hate-Bubo camp. We realized tonally and as an ongoing part of the story that we wanted to create, it would not work. We wanted a reference, though, so there is a scene that has made final cut. He is seen and dealt with. He is dispatched quickly.

MM: But nothing bad happens to him! He’s not dispatched like that, just as far as the story. It’s a way of acknowledging the fans of the original. This title has such a special place in our memories in our childhood, as it does for a lot of people.

PH: If the movie works the way we hope it works, it will access that way that you watched movies when you were a kid and you were just psyched to go see a movie. It was a quest for awesomeness at all times. It should kind of be like metal, you know, like the side of an old-school custom van? Frank Frazetta paintings and Dio.

GB: It’s interesting to consider the character of Medusa — here is a person who got a really raw deal. She was a beautiful young maiden who gets raped by Poseidon and then turned into a monster by Athena who is angry that the rape took place in her temple.  

Medusa in Clash of the Titans


MM: We explored that it in the script a little bit. We retell the story of how she came to be and, as usual, the gods are just so horrible.

PH: The gods are all about blame the victim. They blame everyone but themselves.

GB: “Clash” producer Basil Iwaynk at Thunder Road Pictures is the one who approached you two about the project, but what happened next? 

PH: We came in and met with everybody and we came in about the same time as [director] Louis Letterrier, so we kind of formed a bond with him. He’s the best. And fortunately, our take really coincided with his right from the beginning.

MM: He was such a good call for this project. He has the kind of energy you need for this kind of adventure movie. He’s also very smart and steeped in all kinds of movies. He brings a sense of focus but also a sense of playfulness to everything. He has fun with everything he does but he takes it all very seriously.

GB: I hear he may be directing the “Avengers” film for Marvel Studios.

MM: That’s what it seems like. I know it’s something he really, really wants to do. I think he would be absolutely perfect for it.

— Geoff Boucher


Clash of the Titans 2010 poster

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“Clash” and “Percy Jackson”: Same myths, epic differences

Sam Worthington on “Avatar” worries: I don’t want to be a cartoon

VIDEO: Sam Worthington on the blue carpet of “Avatar”

Is Percy’s myth too close to Harry’s magic?

Hollywood looks to fill “Harry Potter” gap

Daniel Radcliffe in “The Hobbit”? Star says thanks, but no thanks

“Thor” director Branagh excited by scale of the story

PHOTOS: Pegasus says hello to Perseus in the new “Clash of the Titans” (Warner Bros). Second, poster for the 1981 film and, third, Bubo from the 1981 film (Los Angeles Times archives). Fourth, Medusa in the new film (Warner Bros.). Bottom, a poster for the new film.


13 Responses to ‘Clash of the Titans’ says it loud: A Pegasus that is black and proud

  1. Gonzobot says:

    I'm not a Big Hollywood Guy by any means, but I gotta say, when I'm feeling nostalgic for 'the way movies used to be' I do this little thing. I go to my shelf, and I take down one of the old movies, and then I watch it.
    Am I doing it wrong?

  2. Jo Woods says:

    That actually makes sense when you think about it.
    Lou http://www.anon-web-surfing.it.tc

  3. Christ says:

    God of War III did it better.

  4. AndreaU8 says:

    As a 100% Bubo Lover – I still want to see the movie, but come on! Pegasus looks way better white.

  5. Erica Bluff-Hopp says:

    I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm super excited. My Husband and I grew up watching the first Clash of the Titans so it will be wonderful to see a new version.

  6. Ron Stewart says:

    Just saw Clash Of The Titans Friday. It Sucked BAD. The 3D was terrible. I knew it was a 3d conversion movie, but Alice in Wonderland was great.This movie had card board flat backgrounds flat treelines, mountains etc. It seems all they did was separate the people from the background scenes. This is definately NOT the way to do 3D. In fact I think the public should be warned before they clunk down extra money to see crappy 3D. To be honest I might have liked it better in 2D.

  7. John Nivek says:

    I was under the impression one needed talent to be a screenwriter, but I was wrong.The sludge put out by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi really brings this home. WIth a clear conscience theses hacks cashed the checks they were overpaid to rewrite a clssic. How bad could versions 1-3 have been to force them to raise the crap factor in a forth rewrite.
    What is is truely ove the top is both Phil and Matt think they did a wonderful job but it smacked more of Percy Jackson than a legitimate sword and sandle piece. I hated the movie, the "frog" who directed it, but above all I despise the writers who should be spanked and sent to their rooms.

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  10. Dddddd says:

    New affects great, but the story was changed. This was a F for sure. Pegasus was white no matter what. Perseous never had a shaved head, look at the year that never happened. There clothes looked new, should of been more ripped up, not as if they were from Macy's. A classic movie should be made the same.

  11. ClashOfTheStupids says:

    Well what do you know, affirmative action for mythical horses now don't that just beat everything.

  12. asia says:

    Lobe the movie !!! It is so awesome

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