‘What Happened to Monday’ Writer Max Botkin Breaks Down How He Made A Day of The Week A Villian

Photo: Netflix
11 Oct2017
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Netflix is forever winning with its original content, beloved television programs, gripping documentaries, and binge worthy playlists that brought the term #NetflixandChill into the mainstream of anyone who wants to just relax and take in some entertainment.

What Happened to Monday” is a fan favorite film on the streaming service that can be added to your ‘Must Watch’ list due to its intriguing plot, stellar writing, and superb acting from the film’s star Noomi Rapace, who takes on seven roles. The plot takes viewers inside a world where overpopulation has become such an issue that the government created a Child Allocation Act that prohibits families from having more than one child. This causes issues for Terrence Settman (Willem Dafoe) whose daughter has septuplets. To prevent any harm coming to the girls, they all assume one identity as Karen Settman and are only allowed to leave their safe haven on the day of the name they were given, i.e. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. 

Photo: Netflix

Photo: Netflix

When one of the girls go missing, the remaining sisters team up to not only find their missing sibling, but to take down the corrupt government organization.

The film in itself took quite some time to see the light of day, but thanks to the persistence of writer Max Botkin, the original writer of the Tommy Wirkola directed project, Netflix watchers were able to dive into the intriguing world of the Settman girls to ponder if this is in fact the wave of the future. Given the extraordinary honor, Glambergirlblog was able to interview Botkin about “What Happened to Monday,” if the story could continue, and how the idea of the story was generated. Check out some excerpts from our chat!

Glambergirlblog: Where did the idea for “What Happened to Monday” come from?

Max Botkin: It started out as something that was very different from what it looks these days. Originally I loved the idea of identical twins and the fact that they may have to share a life in some form and they couldn’t afford to go to college or do the things they want to do, so I was kind of playing with an idea that was more of a comedy.”

GGB: How did the plot change?

MB: Initially it was going to be a contemporary piece in a modern world and more of a college comedy. As I grew the idea out to be seven [siblings] I realized the world had to shift a little bit to make it more dramatic and the genre changed. It got pulled more into a sci-fi genre. And then of course if you’re playing in the sci-fi genre and if you want the film to be commercial it needs to be a thriller.

GGB: Let’s talk about the dynamic characters that make up Karen Settman

MB: A lot of it was rooted in the days of the week and imaging if a day of the week came to life what would they be like? So of course Monday, everyone hates Monday, Monday gets a bad rap, so it was pretty obvious that Monday should be the villian in some form, or the more angsty one. The weekends were also pretty straight forward. Theoretically Saturday and Sunday technically would never have to go to work or even go to school. They would have to learn to be able to keep up, be educated, and passable for any of the other siblings. So I thought Saturday is the fun night that everyone likes to go out. We’ll make Saturday the party girl. Sunday would probably have the opportunity to go to church and be more religious and observant. I would say Tuesday to Friday are slightly more murky. Wednesday being hump day where everyone’s kind of looking to recharge during the week and stay focus; we thought Wednesday would be kind of the athletic, kick ass girl kind of made sense. The others were like, what other qualities could we endure that seemed plausible, so Friday, more randomly I would say, became more of an intellectual, kind of techy and nerdy. I don’t know, but for whatever reason it always seemed like Thursday would be kind of the mother figure.”

Photo: Netflix

Photo: Netflix

GGB: Would you want to revisit this universe?

MB: Yeah for sure. There’s so many interesting stories that you can tell within this world. I think it would be really interesting to do like a prequel of some sorts where we could follow the Settmans in their early 20’s or in their teens and their struggles growing up, what it means to never have love because there’s no way you can share a partner. There’s a lot of stuff you can play with. You can even build out  a lot of the Child Allocation Bureau stuff to be more of a police procedural, so you can even have a series rooted in like a CSI or any of these cop shows. I love this world and I love these characters so I would be really happy to play in it some more.

GGB: You “birthed” this idea back in 2000 and now it’s 2017. Was there ever a time when you thought this movie wouldn’t see the light of day?

MB: [laughs] Many times. Making a film at this level is just so difficult I realized. I’ve spoken to a lot of friends who are filmmakers, it’s kind of a miracle when a movie gets made because there’s so many things that have to line up. Getting stars and schedules, millions of dollars, all of that. For people to commit and be on the same page, to believe in a project, especially one like this with a corky concept it can be a little challenging. It can really tough. My original script was actually about seven brothers. One of the changes that was made was when Tommy [Wirkola] got involved to direct he had the idea of sending it to Noomi Rapace who he had a relationship with and that caused the project to shift. Honestly her involvement with Tommy was the thing that ultimately got it made.

Photo: Netflix

Photo: Netflix

GGB: Can you give any advice to aspiring screenwriters

MB: My biggest words of advice and something that I followed myself is that you have to live your life in order to have something to say. I encourage everyone, if you can afford to travel, to travel, go and see the world. Even if it’s just the U.S., take a road trip. Go to other places you haven’t seen before. Meet people you never spoken to. Really try to broaden your horizons in terms of life experience. Without life experience all you’re doing is telling stories that are rooted in TV or movies that you’ve seen before. Be very disciplined in your writing. Write everyday. Read as many screenplays as you can. Watch as many TV shows and movies as you can. Study your craft and be patient. Don’t let a no stop you.

Coming up Max Botkin has two major projects. “Ponce,” set in the modern-day world, stars Eugenio Derbez who awakes thinking he is the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon who found the fountain of youth. He must immerse himself in the 21st century. His other project brings together big names like: Will Arnett, Stanley Tucci, Natasha Lyonne, Alan Cumming, Ludacris, Shaquille O’Neal, and more in “Show Dogs,” a family friendly comedy where a macho police dog must go undercover in a prestigious Dog Show.

Congrats to Max Botkin on all the amazing things he has coming up and the outstanding job he did on “What Happened to Monday.” Leaving our chat he said, “Don’t be afraid of big, crazy ideas. Right now we need more original, kind of out their ideas more than ever before. This is the time to be thought-provoking.”

Watch the exciting trailer for “What Happened to Monday” in the clip below, then be sure to head over to Netflix and check out the film streaming now.

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Photo: Netflix

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