Your new movie Sweet
Madness - in a few words, what is it about?
Madness is about Harley Quinn regaining her independence by
completing her descent (or ascent, if you were to ask her) into pure
far as I know, Sweet
Madness is your first "fan film" - so how did you end up
making one at all, and what made Batman's
so intriguing to you to dedicate a film to her? And to what extent can you
identify with her madness, personally?
Yes, this is my first fan film. I had no interest in doing one
before because I prefer one hundred percent original content and I, of
course, didn't create Harley Quinn
so I held off on making this for a
few years. I made an exception in this case because I just love
her character so much. She's whimsical, witty, likable... and
deadly. A potent mix. I felt it was time to show her some
proper love since the live action Batman
franchise had never done so.
She's so fabulously complex and entertaining. She deserved her own
story. Simple as that. When news of Suicide Squad broke, I finally decided it was now or never.
It's not so much that I identify with her madness so much as I think
she perfectly encapsulates the world of Batman
that I love most, amongst
all the various renditions of it through the years. A world where
the good guys have flaws and the bad guys can, at times, be empathized
with. Even rooted for, in a way. Things aren't so black and
white, cut and dry. A world of gray. I think that makes
these characters far more interesting, and I give due credit to Batman:
The Animated Series for incorporating a lot of this into the Batman
universe. This, of course, is the show that created Harley and the
fact that she became so incredibly popular I think speaks volumes about
what kind of characters people tend to respond to.
What were your
inspirations when writing Sweet
Madness, and did you follow any actual comicbook storylines when
cooking up your plot?
My inspiration was the original Harley Quinn
character from the 90's Batman:
The Animated Series. That will always be Harley to me more so
than where they've taken her characters in the years since. She's
been pushed around a lot and I wanted to give her the opportunity to
push BACK in my story, in her own way. I challenged myself to be bold with the characters and with the story,
but to by and large stay true her backstory from the show
I really wanted to bring Harley to LIFE
and I think we achieved that, thanks in large part to lead actress
Madeleine Wade's performance [Madeleine
Wade interview - click here].
Madness you made what some would call a bold decision and let the
appear without makeup - what drove you to do that?
going to break my own rules and do a fan film I might as well "go for
it". Do it right and yes, be bold. Not make just another
fan film that will blend in with a thousand others, nor create just
another guy painted up like a clown. It's just been done so many
times now. I wanted to explore the relationship between Harley and
the Joker in a new way, so I made the decision to strip Mr. J. of his
signature look. To show the twisted man behind the clown make-up.
I also wanted to keep the focus on Harley so people
understood that this was HER story. It felt like the right thing to
do story-wise, but I'm anticipating some resistance to it from some
viewers. That's to be expected. It would not actually be the
first time this has been done. They actually show a glimpse of the
Joker without make-up while at Arkham in Batman: Year One, an animated
feature based on Frank Miller's popular graphic novel of the same name.
can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at
Peter with Madeleine Wade
With me, character, story and atmosphere are of the
utmost importance so I really stress this when approaching my work.
If the audience isn't pulled into the world from the get go, then all your
effort has been for naught. Although budget and time constraints make
it difficult at times, I'm also always trying to take advantage of the
medium itself, as it IS a visual language, to help me tell my stories.
In other words, I prefer articulating as much as I can to the viewer
visually as opposed to "telling" them everything.
Typically, the less dialogue the better, although I'm not able to pull
this off as much as I'd like.
Madness was all shot in one location - so what can you tell us
about your location, and what were the advantages and challenges of
limiting oneself to just one place?
I had to keep this to one location for budgetary reasons, so I really
tried to pack as much punch into it as possible. It saves time and
money when you do this. It also puts more pressure on you to tell
a really engaging story, otherwise the viewer will get booooored.
Suffice it to say I pine for the day when I have a real budget to play
with, which would allow me to expand the parameters of what I can do
with my stories.
What can you tell us
about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Casting was absolutely crucial to this project. It can make or
break any film, of course, but the fact that we were taking on such
iconic characters made it all that more important in this case.
Madeleine Wade [Madeleine
Wade interview - click here] was the perfect fit for our Harley. She has a way of just coming to life when the camera starts
rolling, bringing an effervescence, wittiness, energy and unpredictability
to the moment that perfectly complimented the
character. It was a pleasure to watch.
Micah Fitzgerald, Madeleine Wade
Micah Fitzgerald has a strong overall presence in front of a
camera. Intimidating stature. Strong eyes. Strong
voice. These were all important to me but above all he brought
something DIFFERENT to the table. I didn't want someone to come in
and do their best Heath Ledger impersonation, and with the vast majority
of fan films out there, that's all the cast is doing.
Impersonating someone else's past performance. That's not the kind
of fan film I wanted to make.
talk about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere?
The on-set atmosphere was good. Typical. Busy.
Spurts of hectic movement surrounding long periods of waiting.
That's just how it goes when you're shooting a film, it's just that it
tends to get compressed when you're shooting on a super tight budget and
schedule. This being said, the cast and crew were great.
Hard workers. Experienced. Solid.
can you tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie so
We released the film to some media outlets this past Sunday and
opened it wide just yesterday, so it's very early but so far the
reception has been great. Very positive, from fans and critics
alike. Very energetic. That's great. I want people to
watch it and talk about it. To share it and spread the word.
It's high time Harley got the spotlight and I hope this film helps her
The $64-question of course, where can your film be
The film is currently available to view through my company's YouTube
channel. Here's the link: https://youtu.be/RAw2YYjibcQ
If people like what they see and they want to check out more
of my work through Dream Seekers Productions they can check us out
through our main website as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Any future projects you'd like to share - and with
your experience on Sweet
Madness in mind, will you ever do any more fan films?
Funny enough, I've already been approached by numerous people to take
on other fan films, based on how well Sweet
Madness turned out. I
don't currently have any plans to do so, but we'll see what happens.
I have to allocate my time and my efforts carefully, but if Sweet
Madness really takes off I might be inclined to take on another one.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
As for the immediate future, I have two features coming up. One
is a werewolf horror feature I wrote that's been optioned and is being
developed at Top Ranked Pictures. Another is a yeti horror feature
that I came in and helped rewrite for Veluvana Pictures. I'm
attached to direct both projects. Keeping my fingers crossed they
come to fruition:)
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Dream Seekers Productions
Dream Seekers Productions
Dream Seekers Productions
Madness Twitter page:
for the interview!