EXCLUSIVE: BUMBLEBEE Writer Christina Hodson Talks Developing Hailee Steinfeld's Charlie Watson

I recently got to sit down with screenwriter Christina Hodson to talk all things Bumblebee and in the first part of our lengthy chat, she tells me about the deeply personal place Charlie originated from.

Interviews Opinion

With Travis Knight's Bumblebee finally set to open in theaters this coming weekend, I recently got an exclusive opportunity to sit down with screenwriter Christina Hodson and chat about her first big-budget blockbuster, which has been receiving rave reviews all across the board ever since its worldwide premiere two weeks ago.

In the first part of our extensive conversation (full interview with spoilers will be out after Christmas), she detailed developing the film's lead character, Charlie Watson, who is played by Academy Award-nominee Hailee Steinfeld, and the deeply personal place the soon-to-be fan-favorite character originated from. 


ROHAN PATEL (CBM): Before I saw Bumblebee, I read about how you’re a very big Terminator 2 fan, which is one of my favorite films as well, and while you’ve said before that your film is essentially a love letter to the Amblin films of the ‘80s, E.T., etc., I also felt like there were maybe some subtle parallels to T2 too with Charlie and Bee sharing a similar dynamic to John Connor & the T-800. Was that intentional?

CHRISTINA HODSON: I love to hear that! That was not intentional, but I bloody love it cause Terminator 2 is always on my mind.

ROHAN: It also felt like there was maybe a little bit of Sarah Connor in Charlie Watson as well since both are young female characters that are forced to deal with tragedy and grow up quicker than they anticipated…

CHRISTINA: I would like to think all female characters have a little bit of Sarah Connor in them. It never hurts. I would like to have a little bit of Sarah Connor in me.

ROHAN: When developing the character of Charlie, did you draw inspiration from Sarah Connor or did your inspiration come from elsewhere? 

CHRISTINA: Actually, Charlie was inspired by my two nieces. My niece Jeanie, who is in London, who was very young at the time - probably only three or four - and I was watching her grow up and I was watching this very interesting thing where she didn’t fit in a box. She wasn’t a girly-girl, she wasn’t a tomboy. She was kind of nerdy, but also kind of art-y. She was all of these different things. She was very nuanced.

I think for a long time, in movies, particularly in teen movies, the girls have always been either one thing or another. They haven’t had the opportunity to be outside of their boxes and so, watching Jeanie grow up and watching her even pick out the toys she used to play with was kind of all of the inspiration for Charlie - wanting to create a character that wasn’t just one thing. Who was kind of this nuanced, interesting mixture of different things.

Then, my other niece Sylvie, who is in America, lost her mom, unfortunately to brain cancer and her bond with her dad was the inspiration for Charlie’s relationship with her father. They both bond over racing cars and she very much embraces his interests and I love that really strong bond between Charlie and her father, which I think informs a lot of the movie and where she is when she meets Bumblebee. So, yeah, weirdly personal thing that turned into a very big movie.


Check back in throughout the week for even more from Christina Hodson as she tells me all about Bumblebee - including spoilers - and even spills a tiny little bit about two of her upcoming projects: Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) and Batgirl

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.

Bumblebee features:
Director: Travis Knight
Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie Watson
John Cena as Agent Jack Burns
Jorge Lendeborg Jr. as Memo
John Ortiz as Dr. Powell
Jason Drucker as Otis Watson
Pamela Adlon as Sally Watson
Rory Markham as Jake Adams
Rachel Crow as Celia
Abby Quinn as Alice
Gracie Dzienny as Tina
Ricardo Hoyos as Trip
Kenneth Choi as Ken
Stephen Schneider as Ron
Len Cariou as Hank
Dylan O'Brien as Bumblebee
Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime
Grey Griffin as Arcee
Steve Blum as Wheeljack
Andrew Morgado as Cliffjumper
Kirk Baily as Brawn
Dennis Singletary as Ratchet
Angela Bassett as Shatter
Justin Theroux as Dropkick
David Sobolov as Blitzwing
Jon Bailey as Shockwave

Bumblebee hits theaters December 21

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