For the final part of our Riddick special features, we have a press conference interview with writer/director David Twohy from a recent press day. During his session, Twohy discussed why he enjoys collaborating with franchise star Vin Diesel,  how the R-rating for Riddick meant that they would be making the sequel independently, his thoughts on creating strong characters, future plans and much more:

Question: I was wondering if you could start off by discussing whether or not the final version of Riddick is how you envisioned and were there any unique challenges you faced while making the film?

David Twohy:  Yeah, I would say that the final movie does embody what we always envisioned because as a responsible filmmaker, I have to imagine the whole movie; I have to script the movie, I have to board it out, I have to budget it and I have to figure out whether or not I can afford all those expensive visual effects or not. So yeah, it looks exactly like the movie I had imagined. Sometimes better, sometimes not quite as good but it pretty much is what I thought. It's what I set out to make.

Sometimes Vin is not privy to everything that's in my head and all the work that I've done with all the concept artists, so he doesn't always know but he likes it that way. He likes to see the early cuts and see the visual effects come in and be wowed by what is coming in; so sometimes he's surprised but I don't have that luxury of being surprised as the filmmaker if I'm doing my job right (laughs).

So we set out to make the kind of movie we wanted to make on the budget we could make it on; as you know, this wasn't a studio production this time around, it was an independently funded film. Knowing that was the case, knowing that we had limited resources, Vin and I sat down in his kitchen and came up with a story that would fit that budget. It couldn't be as grand as the last one, it had to be more contained so it probably feels a lot more like Pitch Black to a lot of people. It probably is more like that because of how we limited its scope and limited it to one world. But it is definitely the movie we set out to make.

Question: I thought it was interesting how the character of Dahl, a woman, who would usually be made into a potential love interest in any movie wasn't made into one for Riddick? Can you talk about casting Katee for the role and your decision to keep her this independent character?

David Twohy: I remember a story from the first Alien movie where- and Ridley (Scott) told me this so I'm assuming it's true- it was scripted for Ripley to be a man and he decided to make Ripley female because these kinds of parts should be gender neutral. And so I've always remembered that which is why I think the women in my movies tend to be able to stand on their own two feet; they aren't 'arm pieces' to anyone and I like that.

In terms of Katee, she was the first person to read for the role out of about 100 actresses and that I remembered her throughout the entire process speaks highly of her. So finally I said, "Who was that girl who came in that very first day with the blonde hair that just killed it" and they told me it was Katee and that she was on Battlestar Galactica. I didn't really follow Battlestar so I wasn't really casting her based off of that; I just thought she was the best actress.

And I'm so glad that we did cast her too. Clearly, just like her character, she holds her own amongst the men. Swears worse than any of them (laughs).

Question: What was behind the decision to make Riddick R-rated and while fans begin patiently waiting for Riddick 4, will there be something like the previous anime series done to tide us over? Or a Riddick theme park?

David Twohy: Or what about Riddick: The Ride (laughs)? Actually, we're doing Riddick in D-Box and I just experienced that the other day for the first time. That felt like the closest thing you'd ever get to a Riddick ride, really. But yeah, I don't really know what that in-between thing will really be but we embrace them and we'd like to do more.  I know we published the motion graphic novel as well which helped with the backstory on how he went from King of the Necromongers to a man left alone on a planet.

It would be great to get another game off the ground too but those things are very hard to launch; they're costly and they need a lot of lead time so it's really hard to sync up those games to a release of a movie.

And as far doing an R-rated movie goes, it felt important because as a filmmaker, I feel like with that rating I had the flexibility I needed to do what I wanted. With PG-13 I feel like I'm pulling my punches, either with my script of with working with my actors on the set and coming up with stupid analogs for the word 'fuck' and I'm just getting tired of that. It gets to the point where people aren’t talking the way people really talk and so just because I didn't want to pull any punches anymore, the rating was very important to me.

Also, it plants a flag firmly in the ground for our fans as well; it lets them know that we are being true to the character and true to the nature of the series. The reason we were PG-13 last time was obvious, because we were a big studio movie and to minimize their risk, they wanted to make sure they could reach out to what they think is the widest possible audience. And there's actually sound reasoning for that. But Vin and I feel more comfortable back in the R-rated universe.

Question: Can you discuss bringing back the savagery to both the character and also to the Riddick franchise? Also, you dealt with the Necromongers in Chronicle but not in Riddick; is that a mythology you plan to revisit in the future if there happens to be another film?

David Twohy: Second question first- yeah, if we find success and find the flexibility to go wherever we want for the next movie; Vin and I are talking about making two more movies and probably just that. It would be good to do a close-ended franchise rather than a franchise that just keeps spitting them out to just spit them out.

We would like to get back to the Necromongers too; there is more to them- I'm actually cutting a Director's Cut DVD which includes more epilogue which has Riddick returning to the Necromonger empire and actually has him setting things right there in terms of the guy who abandoned him on this planet and left him for dead and his search for Vaako (Karl Urban) who he thinks has the answers to where his home world lies.

So a couple more movies in the franchise would be nice so the next few weeks will be telling for us and that's really what we want to do; we want to pay off the fans who have stuck by us all these years and never stopped talking about these movies to us. And it was them who made us realize that we had a responsibility to make another movie and not leave things the way they were.

For the primitivism for this movie and getting back to the animalistic nature of things, that was important too but it's also part of the character who thinks at the outset of the story that maybe he's gotten a little soft and a little too slow while he was King of the Necromongers so the exploration of Riddick trying to get back to basics, a man trying to find his edge again, it's a good evolution for Riddick but it also in some ways parallels the transformation that the franchise has also undergone.

Question: I was wondering if you could talk about what you enjoy most in regards to collaborating with Vin?

David Twohy: That he doesn't shut up (laughs). You know, he's a guy who aims high and pushes me to aim high. He's a guy who dreams and thinks anything is possible and me, I'm more of a practical guy; I try to be the responsible filmmaker living within the constraints I've been given. Vin doesn't think like that- Vin is always thinking big and doesn't see things the way I do at all. Sometimes there's a folly to that but most of the time it can be really inspiring to work with where it opens up my ideas to new ways of getting things done.

What's great about Vin is that he's a guy with all the confidence in the world and has always had that, even when I cast him as just 'some guy' who I wanted to be in Pitch Black. But even back then, he had this unshakeable confidence in himself.  And not only is he a guy who can see the future but he's also the guy who can somehow almost 'will' the future into being so he gets to say, "Hey, I was right all along" (laughs).  He's inspiring in that way.

And just when you think Vin's only this guy with big muscles and not much else, you realize he's also this guy with a huge heart as well and that's what I like about him.


“The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty.

The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy.”

Universal is releasing Riddick in theaters on September 6th, including IMAX screens. Vin Diesel stars with Karl Urban, Jordi Molla, Matt Nable, Katee Sackhoff, Bokeem Woodbine, Dave Bautista, Conrad Pla, Raoul Trujillo, Nolan Funk, and Keri Hilson. To read our recent press conference articles for Riddick, visit the following links:

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.