Your new movie Real
Heroes - in a few words, what is it about?
washed up reality show producer is desperate to get back in the game.
So he hits on the idea of doing The Real World, but with superheroes. Unfortunately,
all have better things to do. So he gets a cast of unknown B-string
superheroes - who all have issues...
Heroes posing as a reality show starring superheroes: Are you at
all a comicbook fan? And your thoughts about reality TV?
yeah. I’m a comic book geek. As for reality TV, it’s
such a huge genre that it’s hard not to find things to both love and
the one thing I do hate is the obvious manipulation. The moments
when you can feel the producers stepping in to stir up trouble.
sources of inspiration for Real
Men. I loved the opening of that movie, where the heroes are
competing for corporate endorsements and talking about hiring a publicist.
There’s something that appeals to me about underdog superheroes
desperate to have someone notice what they’re doing.
How would you describe your directorial
approach to your subject at hand?
shot this in the style of a reality show, so the crew is very much a
character in the movie. And when the fighting starts, they’re
frequently the first victims ...
Of all your colourful
characters, who can you identify with the most?
She’s the single mom superhero, and the most responsible one of the
bunch. And she’s constantly trying to get a bunch of crazy
superheroes to pay attention and work together. As a director, I can
relate to that.
would you describe Real
Heroes' brand of humour?
You of course also have
to talk about the wonderful comicbook panels, interspersed throughout the
film for a bit, and how much of a say did you have in the creation of those?
I’m glad you liked them. They do
add a lot of visual fun to the movie.
As with most everything on a movie,
those comic book sequences are actually a collaboration between multiple
people. I provided the initial idea, but then the animator, the
artist and the colorist all ran with it.
can you tell us about Real
Heroes' cast, and why exactly these people?
The cast are all unknowns - for now.
I’m betting you’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the next few
I cast for chemistry. So we cast Sable and Dr. Nightmare not only
because they are good actors, but because they are even better when
they’re playing off each other. And the same thing goes for most
of the principal relationships in the cast.
And it helps that so many of the
actors were comic book geeks. I remember when I invited Grant
Landry out to lunch to offer him the role of Blue Arrow. I started
to explain how small the budget was, how long the hours would be, etc.
And he stopped me and asked,
“Do I get to wear a superhero
costume for a couple of weeks?”
Keith among the Real Heroes
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
The shoot was very quick, only 14
days. In fact, it was only possible because we were shooting the whole
thing reality show style, with multiple hand held cameras.
Normally a shoot that short would be
very tense. But luckily, the cast and crew had a sense of humor,
and everyone had a good time.
few words about audience and critical reception of Real
Heroes so far?
Critical response has been great.
Luckily, all the reviewers so far have loved the film. One guy
said it was the funniest thing he’s seen all year.
I’ve only gotten to see it with an
audience twice. But both times people were laughing out loud pretty much
all the way through. And the last line always brings the house
Since superheroes are usually
sequel-prone - will there ever be a Real Heroes 2, and/or other
future projects you'd like to share?
I’m actually working on a spin off
now. It’s called Confessions of a Former Teen Superhero,
and it centers two of the sidekicks in the movie. It will be a
sort of gay superhero coming-of-age rom com.
What got you into
filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal education on the
I took a roundabout route to
filmmaking. After college, I worked as a journalist and then wrote
a couple of science fiction novels. But novel writing is very
lonely. Filmmaking is much more collaborative, and I love that.
You’re working with other creative people, and the flow of ideas is
My formal education was actually in
Economics and Theater. Which turned out to be weirdly useful.
After I realized that I wanted to make movies, I started reading
everything I could on composition, editing, and screenwriting.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
to Real Heroes?
I cut my teeth shooting a bunch of
short films. But I really started to hit my stride after Prop 8
passed in California, banning gay marriage. Like a lot of other
gay men, I was angry and looking for some way to express it. So I poured
my energy into a bunch of short funny ads arguing for marriage equality.
I finally got the chance to shoot my
first feature a couple years after that. It’s called You
Should Meet My Son! and it’s a comedy about a conservative Southern mom who is horrified to discover that her only son is gay.
But determined that he won’t go through life alone and miserable, she
sets out to find him the perfect husband.
would you describe yourself as a director?
The truth is that 90% of directing is
hiring smart people, and then letting them do their job. So a lot
of what I do is providing a structure that lets other people do their
best work. That, and trying to get a bunch of creative types to
play nice and not kill each other.
who inspire you?
Whedon. That guy has done some amazing work. And Ii just love the way
he can blend snappy dialog with nail-biting action sequences and engaging
Your favourite movies?
of a weird mix: Casablanca,
Mary Poppins, Soap Dish, Elvira Mistress
of the Dark, Adams Family Values. For recent films, Kick Ass and
Kick Ass 2.
and of course, films you really deplore?
folks are going to hate me for saying this but... everything by Stanley
Kubrick except for Dr. Strangelove and Clockwork Orange.
The guy did beautiful composition, but his films are boring and soulless.
He should have been a still photographer.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
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movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
All my stuff:
Probably the best way to stay in
touch is to friend me personally on Facebook:
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Just that I hope folks enjoy the movie. And if there’s something
they hate, they’re welcome to rant at me on Facebook about it. :)
for the interview!