Pacific Rim: Uprising Director Steven DeKnight Discusses The Surprising Villain

MAJOR SPOILERS for Pacific Rim: Uprising. You know, if you care.

Pacific Rim: Uprising was a pretty dumb (yet passable and enjoyable) sequel to what should have also been a pretty dumb original film, if not for the involvement of one Guillermo del Toro, who elevated the material with his attention to character and obsession with twisted sci-fi. While Uprising had a very different feel tonally and visually than the original, some of the weirder elements felt they came from del Toro’s early work on the sequel. Such is the amazing and very creepy decision about the surprise villain.

If you saw the film, you know that the main villain turned out to be the friendly scientist Newt (Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny and Hotel Artemis), under the influence of the alien creators of the Kaiju, after “drifting” with a Kaiju specimen too often… yes, very del Toro indeed. But… what if two great minds think alike, like drifting Jaeger pilots? got director Steven DeKnight to talk about the twist in a recent interview:

“When I first sat down with Charlie Day, I said, ‘Look, I’ve got this great idea that you’re the villain of the movie. And I remember he said, ‘Oh yeah, Guillermo [del Toro] talked to me about that years ago.’ And I didn’t know that Guillermo had also had that idea. So, we were both on the same wavelength there. Charlie really loved the idea. He loved the challenge. He thought it made sense for the story based on the first movie and really just dove head-first into it.”

RELATED: Pacific Rim: Uprising: Actress Shyrley Rodriguez On The Backstory and Behind The Scenes Production

It was certainly fun to see a goofy TV favorite of mine become the villain in an action franchise. DeKnight went on to talk about what I thought was the most twisted scene:

“That infamous scene where he comes home and has the oddly romantic encounter with Alice, the Kaiju brain, this was a scene that was added to the script. It wasn’t in the original version. I went back and forth on it because on the one hand, I thought it was funny and creepy and cool and odd but I also worried that it would tip that there’s something wrong with Newt and he might be the bad guy. Every time we would test the movie, we would put it in, we would take it out, we would put it in, we would take it out. Literally we were down to locking the movie before we decided. It’s a scene that always made us laugh and Charlie’s so great in it. It’s just so weird that we put it in. But that was one of those scenes where it’s in, it’s out, it’s in, it’s out.”

What did you think of Day’s turn as a mega-villain in a franchise? Want to see him menace the Avengers or Batman next (I know I do), or is he better as a comedic foil? Let us know in the comment section below!

Pacific Rim: Uprising will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on June 19 and digital download today.

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Nick Doll

Cinephile. Streaming addict. Kevin Feige may be my God, but I love Mission: Impossible(!), 007, DC, Indiana Jones, and so much more. Writer. Certainly most comfortable writing. Comic enthusiast. Really, just a Hell of a Geek!

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