DREW Pearce is in a good mood. The Fall Guy, his latest Hollywood blockbuster as a screenwriter, was met with strong buzz after its premiere at SXSW in March, while Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt’s Oscar nominations, as well as Gosling’s performance

of the song I’m Just Ken from Barbie at the ceremony, have also generated a substantial amount of buzz and excitement for the new action comedy.

Critics have been just as impressed with The Fall Guy. Based on the 1980s TV series about stunt performers, the film revolves around battle-scarred Colt Seavers (Gosling) trying to find the missing lead star of Jody Moreno’s (Blunt) directorial debut, only to get pulled into a dangerous plot of murder and deceit.

“The movie has just been certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes,” Pearce excitedly tells The National over the phone.

“So even though I thoroughly disagree with the concept of Rotten Tomatoes, I’m very happy we got certified.”

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What’s most striking about Pearce’s declaration is that he pronounced tomato so differently within the space of three seconds. This is entirely understandable, as the Fife-born screenwriter has now been living in Los Angeles for 12 years. He’s had tremendous success there, too.

While he’s credited with writing Iron Man 3, Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, and Hotel Artemis (which he also directed) he has actually worked on scripts for 60 movies in this time.

Pearce said: “I think one of the upsides of being a British person writing American heroes is that I’m able to write them as underdogs. I wonder if because I’m British, I’m still prone to making my main characters self-deprecating.

“I feel like it makes them more appealing. It also helps if the actors playing them are as magnetic as Robert Downey Jr and as handsome and funny as Ryan Gosling.”

While Pearce was born in Fife, his Scottish mother and father moved him and his sister down to the south-east of England when he was just three.

The National: Ryan Gosling

With their grandparents and family still up in Scotland, Pearce would regularly have to spend hours in the car visiting them. He said: “My entire childhood is defined by those 12-hour drives up the M1 to see my grandparents and get very buttered toast when we arrived late at night.

“All of my feelings towards Scotland are so nostalgic. It’s wrapped up with The Fall Guy, because that’s around the time the show was airing, too. It brings back lots of warm, fuzzy memories.”

After briefly writing for The Face magazine, singing and playing guitar in a band and doing some television work, Pearce turned his attention to screenwriting. He’d have done so earlier but since he had absolutely no connections in the industry he was under the illusion that he wasn’t permitted to.

The National: Drew Pearce at the premier of The Fall GuyDrew Pearce at the premier of The Fall Guy

‘I honestly didn’t know I was allowed to be a film-maker,” he said. “Call it a lack of imagination or ambition on my part, but my whole life I only realise I’m allowed to do something once I meet someone who is actually doing it. I thought to myself, ‘Well if they’re doing it, I probably could, too’.”

Pearce soon created and wrote No Heroics, an ITV2 sitcom about a group of unsuccessful superheroes, which was met with strong reviews and earned a Best New British TV Comedy of 2008 nomination at the British Comedy Awards.

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While it only lasted for one season and six episodes, ABC picked up the American rights to the show and even shot a pilot for it.

Pearce said: “ABC are owned by Disney, and No Heroics was incredibly R-rated, so I knew it wasn’t a good fit. It was a disaster.

“But when I was out in Los Angeles I had a meeting with Marvel and [president] Kevin Feige. When I walked into the room everyone had watched No Heroics.”

When Pearce was asked if there was a Marvel comic he’d like to adapt, he mentioned Runaways. Feige was actually holding meetings with writers about adapting Runaways that next week, but there was no room for Pearce to pitch.

That was until the ash cloud from a volcanic eruption in Iceland halted air travel across Western Europe and meant one writer wasn’t able to make it to Los Angeles. Pearce took their place and was hired to write Runaways.

While that film wasn’t made, a few months later he began to collaborate with Shane Black on Iron Man 3 instead, which immediately established him as a Hollywood screenwriter.

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In November 2019, Pearce was approached by director David Leitch, who he’d just worked with on Hobbs & Shaw, about The Fall Guy. Pearce said: “They didn’t know that The Fall Guy was my favourite show as a kid. It was what I watched on Saturday evenings.

"I even dreamed of becoming a stuntman and built obstacle courses in my back garden.

"I just knew the tone and the vibe of what I wanted to do with it, even though we had to throw most of what the TV show is about out and build an entirely new story and new set of characters.”

Gosling became involved in the production early on, which was a huge help to Pearce’s scriptwriting process, while Blunt signed up after a few drafts.

“That changed the script massively again, because we knew we wanted to make it a two-hander then," Pearce said. "The script became more romantic, just because there’s so much chemistry between them and we wanted to have them in a room together as much as possible.”

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While the film has been praised for its action and for being a love letter to stuntmen – while also including a new Guinness World Record for the most cannon rolls performed in a car – Pearce is most fond of the fact that they’ve made a film he genuinely believes is for everyone.

“I know everyone says that but this is a very real, small, and funny love story, as well as a huge action spectacle. I really feel like this is for everyone. The action is satisfying, so is the romance and the comedy.

My 10-year-old has seen it. My girlfriend’s 80-year-old parents have, too.”

Looking ahead, Pearce hasn’t set himself any particular goals. Instead, he just wants to continue making movies that people of all ages can enjoy. “I feel like after years of people saying movies are over and streaming is the only way forward, everyone is into movies again,” he said.

“I’m lucky that I’ve had so many big movies made with big movie stars. I feel like movies and movie stars are back! That’s what I want to see on the weekend. Honestly, I’m just excited to try to keep making more of those movies.”