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The DC Extended Universe has had an interesting life, starting with Zack Snyder's set of movies. Snyder brought an ultra serious tone and five-film vision to the projects, although there has been some backlash to certain plot points. Writer Chris Terrio worked on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as the original script for Justice League. Terrio recently broke his silence about what it was really like working in the DCEU, and is defending one controversial scene from BvS involving Lois Lane.
When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released back in 2016, it didn't fare well critically. This is at least partly due to so much of the movie being cut, making the plot confusing. The bad reviews went viral thanks to an infamous Ben Affleck interview, and BvS endured quite a bit of hate from the public. Chris Terrio believes that the public's feelings about the movie resulted in extra criticism, especially regarding Lois Lane's opening sequence in the fictional country Nairomi. As he explained,
Once the critics decide a movie is incoherent, it’s just a pile-on. Then they attack everything. There’s a line at the beginning of the film where a warlord says to Lois Lane, ‘They didn’t tell me the interview was with a lady.’ And Lois replies, ‘I’m not a lady, I’m a journalist.' So one reviewer held up this line as proof positive of my stupidity and my inability to write Lois, or to write at all.
While Chris Terrio understands some criticism about Batman v Superman, especially the theatrical cut, he doesn't believe Lois Lane's dialogue in her first scene are one of them. Because that line is actually a very specific reference.
Chris Terrio opened up about his time working in the DC Extended Universe in a long-form interview with Vanity Fair. He got honest about exactly how he contributed to Zack Snyder's pair of movies, including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In addition to talking serious smack about Joss Whedon's cut of Justice League, Terrio also addressed a variety of criticisms about his pair of blockbusters.
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Later in his same interview, Chris Terrio went on to explain exactly why Lois Lane uttered that line during Batman v Superman's Nairomi scene. Rather than being lazy writing, it was a direct reference to famed journalist Marie Colvin. As Terrio put it,
Well, the character of Lois in the movie was inspired by the journalist Marie Colvin, who was of course killed in Syria. She was one of the most intrepid journalists who ever lived, in my opinion. And there’s a story in Vanity Fair, ‘Marie Colvin’s Private War’, and the line that Lois says is almost exactly the line that was in that article, where a Chechen warlord said he wouldn’t shake her hand because she was a woman. Marie Colvin replied, ‘There is no woman in this room, only a journalist.’ So that line was my tribute to her. But then in the pile-on, a line like that is held as proof positive that I don’t understand either women or journalists or human beings, and that I’m a shitty writer.
Being a filmmaker is a tricky thing, as each movie becomes the property of the public after its release. Each moviegoers has an opinion, and this is especially true for major properties like the DC Extended Universe. So when Batman v Superman's theatrical cut failed to meet expectations, it was the subject of countless memes and jokes. That's why Chris Terrio believes that Lois Lane's dialogue was the subject of some backlash.
The reaction to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came shortly before production began on Justice League, and resulted in the studio pushing for a lighter tone. Chris Terrio clearly has thoughts about the power of that reaction, and how it would ultimately affect the theatrical cut of Justice League. Luckily, Terrio and Zack Snyder's vision was finally revealed thanks to the Snyder Cut.
The next installment in the DCEU is The Suicide Squad on August 6th. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your next movie experience.