Ask the Boss, Part 1
Alrighty, you asked for it, you got it. Straight from the Big Boss’ mouth:
Hey Everyone – knowing how patient everyone has been over the past year, I’ll try to make these answers as informative as possible, as opposed to 3-word responses. We’ll see how this goes – knowing that it’s quite possible that the 3 word versions may be more humane on you all. For now tho… enjoy and thanks for your patience.
From: Claudio Martino
The trailer is ready? When we see him?
Hey Claudio – there have been a few trailers over the past few months. Now the word “trailer” means a lot of different things in different venues. But the rumors are true that a few have been produced. We did a sneak peek one for Comicon last year in San Diego. It was a mix of trailer-ish shots with behind-the-scenes footage of us making the movie, plus a snippet of a scene where Dylan and Marcus encounter one of the nastier creatures in the movie.
Then, as a lot of these films do, we have to do a couple more trailers for International Film Markets – namely Berlin Film Festival/Cannes, American Film Market, etc. These are places where, behind very closed doors, international buyers can see the film and decide if they want to pay to show the movie in their territory (i.e. Italy, France, England, wherever) This is how a lot of the financing of the movie is made. So THAT trailer is a much slicker production than the Comicon version, but it’s one of those trailers that gives away WAY too much – you see most of the creatures, the plot, a lot of gags, etc. But the reason for that is that these buyers need that info in order to make a decision to buy or not buy the movie.
But the big one that is still up in the air is the THEATRICAL TRAILER – i.e. the one we’ll see before another movie in a theatre. That one is still under construction, and we’ll have to work with whatever studio gets the movie domestically here in the United States as well. And that decision will be coming very soon. We’re also working on one-sheets (Hollywood has a habit of creating their own lingo to feel special – you see, it’s too lame to call it a poster, so some movie exec decides to call it a “one sheet”. But yeah… it’s pretty much just a poster.) We had a lot of great on-set still photography when we were making the movie by this guy called David James – who does a TON of big movies. He left us with thousands of amazing photos to play with for the one sheet.
So the answer? Trailers – yes. Theatrical domestic trailer – almost. When – hopefully within a couple of months.
From: Ivica Serdarot
What is your favorite episode in the Dylan Dog comic book series? (Also asked by hunter)
My favorite book of the series is unfortunately picked from a limited selection as i have only “read” the 6 that were translated into English. I’ve looked at dozens more in Italian, but I’ve only read the 6 reprinted from Dark Horse. Of those, there was a tale with a lead female named Morgana that was my favorite – set in the world of zombies, but it was also very supernatural. It was a lot of fun and I thought really captured the tone of Dylan Dog. (again, from the 6 i could read) I really wanted to read more with Xabaras, but unfortunately was just relegated to reading issue synopses online or getting told the stories from Platinum’s Gioj DeMarco – unquestionably the biggest fan I know of the series.
Will we see any sign of Xabaras in the film?
We won’t see any sign of Xabaras in this film. But I wouldn’t rule it out at all for future installments. This movie is a much more personal introduction to Dylan and his recently haunted past as it happens in our New Orleans setting. But I would love to see the more Xabaras-themed storyline be introduced in coming sequels. We haven’t shied away from saying that Dylan has had an eclectic and international past (there’s even a Scotland Yard coffee mug on his desk if you look closely), so it would be great (at least in my opinion) to see that past catch up to him. Or to see Dylan return to his European stomping grounds in a sequel. Xabaras is a great character. But I think, in order to properly introduce Dylan to a mass audience who doesn’t know him yet, we had to focus on him as a character and the world he lives in. Dylan and Xabaras have such a past that I think it should be the focus of a whole new feature story… again, at least in my opinion.
What is your favorite horror film?
My favorite horror film is hard to pin down. American Werewolf in London, because it’s such a great combo of horror and dark comedy. The Exorcist, because I still get freaked out by it to this day. Dawn of the Dead (Romero original) because I love the juxtaposition of setting and story. Alien, because it’s still horror before it’s sci-fi to me. And the original Halloween because it’s even creepy during the day scenes.
What are the differences in the marketing of Dylan Dog for the U.S. and European markets? Please be as detailed as possible…
There hasn’t been much movement on American marketing of the movie, simply because there isn’t a studio attached yet. But I think that there are a lot of core similarities between the two campaigns whenever they get up and running. Dylan is a very marketable character and I imagine you couldn’t do anything without keying off of that first and foremost. I’m sure the monster/thriller/detective aspects will be prevalent in both. I hope that they play up the comic pedigree roots of the movie a lot in Europe. We worked hard to maintain that tone in everything from the visuals, humor, monsters and even music. I think American audiences will be introduced to it as a fun movie with a really charismatic cast and a great detective monster story. It’s always funny to see what different territories do with movies. I’ve had things that have been total action be marketed as pure comedies because that’s what “that” market needs. It can be a funny business.
Would you do Neil Gaiman’s Sandman if given a chance? Why?
I would do Sandman as a movie in a heartbeat. Tho, i’d be really curious to see how the script would turn out. That is such a huge universe. But I love Neil’s writing and how immersive his worlds can be without losing character. The Doll’s House storyline is great fun. On a sidenote, I’d probably want to do a movie of Death as well. She’s a fun character.
What is the balance between horror, humor, etc. in the film?
Great question. Balancing those elements are always rough. It’s like drawing eyes – the subtlest change in angle or line width can change the whole character of a face. Similarly, it’s the same thing with tone and genre. The hardest part is that I’m really drawn to mixing tones. Be it Lethal Weapon as a balance of action/comedy, Shaun of the Dead as a horror/comedy/action, whatever. It would be so much easier to just make a horror film. Or a straight comedy. Or action film. But I think Dylan Dog is great mix of them all. Mainly a suspenseful action movie that features horror film characters. (I seem to remember that being one of my main points when I was meeting about directing the movie) But like the Dylan Dog property, we treat the “monsters” as regular characters – some are good, some are bad, and most aren’t the “real” monster as we’ll see in the movie. And likewise with the comedy – there is a LOT of it in there, but no character seems aware they’re BEING funny. And that’s when, I think, it works best. So when we were balancing these tones, my goal was to always keep it real and believable – keep the threats real, comedy unaware of itself and action (although big and comic book in style in some spots) adhere to its own believable logic.
I’m not incredibly well-versed in the comics, but pop culture (well, mostly movies) references have a definite presence. Is there any of that in the film?
Yeah, there are a few references to other films/franchises/ideas in the film, as in the comics. The comics are a little different tho, as many of them are obvious homages to actual horror movies or icons. They can get away with it in the comics much easier, but it would come off like a bad Scary Movie installment in movie form. But that said, there are a few things that fans will get a kick out. As an example, there is a certain street name that should make fans smile. :)
From: Luca Zanzi
How did you get involved in the project? An ad “seeking film director to tackle Italian comic adaptation with vampires, zombies, and werewolves”?
I got involved with the project very early in 2008. I had just left another project that I sunk a lot of work and passion into, but ultimately wasn’t going to be done the way it deserved. And then one morning I got a call from Patrick Aiello at Hyde Park saying they were producing this movie with Platinum Studios based off of this Italian comic book and asked if I wanted to read the script. I knew Dylan Dog and had read the 6 english translations years earlier and liked them a lot. I read the script and freaked out. It was everything I wanted to do in a live action film, and it was one of those moments when you read something and say “I know how to make this. I need to make this. ”
So the next and big step was to meet with Scott Rosenberg and everyone at Platinum Studios and basically jump around the room convincing them that I was the nutjob to do the movie. Luckily Scott and I got along really well from the start, and by the time I left the meeting I think we were all on the same page.
The entire process of pitching to get a movie as a director is pretty crazy. Here’s a link to the story of how I did it with Dylan Dog along with a special treat for everyone.
The IMDB page lists a good dozen or so producers, exec prods, co-prods. Did you get pressure from everyone to make “their” idea of the film, or were you given free rein? Similarly, did you ever get a list of do’s and don’ts from the people at Bonelli?
Yeah, we are very producer friendly on Dylan Dog. :) The truth is, is that people get producer credits for a variety of reasons. Some are given them for literal reasons – “i am on set, producing this movie”. Others financial – “I am instrumental in bring XXX millions of dollars to the budget”. Others are varied – “I orchestrated bringing all the parties together” “they won’t pay me more money so I all I got was this credit” to “i own the property” or “I just work in the film commission where you shot the movie”. So to that end, yeah, it’s a pretty easy group to get along with, without compromising pretty much anything. To that end, I can have a healthy ego, but I have no problem putting it aside when it comes to making the movie better. And anytime we’ve adjusted stuff in script, on set or in post, it’s made this movie better at each stage.
And no, no do’s or don’ts from the people at Bonelli. They visited the set on the first day and were nice people. They were so excited about the movie being made as well. Plus, it was neat as the first day was a scene where we shot Dylan speaking italian with a VERY old friend.
How many Kevins can Kurt Angle bench press?
Kurt could probably preacher curl about 6 of me if he wanted. Kurt’s a really nice guy. It’s funny as we’ve probably called on him a number of times to come back for ADR, or whatever and he’s made his crazy schedule work each time without hesitation. So I call him “sir” mainly for that reason… and because he could totally kick my ass.
On a scale of 1-10 (low-hi), how tempting is it to use your powers as a director and use Brian Steele or another “suit guy” for late-night pranks?
I would give Brian a blank check to answer the door at Halloween at my house. So, yeah, a 10 on that scale. I’ll always remember how gentle and fun Brian was. And here is this imposing tall guy, dressed in a great monster suit by Drac Studios, standing probably 8 and a half feet from toe to tip of his horns while we were filming the big end battle. He’s roaring, tossing Brandon and/or his double all over this immense abandoned theatre, and then I yell “cut”, and he would look over and this small sweet voice would come out of this horrific creature – “how was that Kev?”. I could never get used to that. It’s like Freddie Kruger sounding like Mr. Rogers or something.
More answers to come!