by Brian Brooks and Basil Tsiokos, published on April 8, 2010|
After some months hiatus, indieWIRE is pleased to relaunch a regular column spotlighting films in the works. The previous version of this column was a monthly report focused on films in production. In the Works is a weekly column with an expansive view of upcoming films - in addition to projects in production, it will spotlight films in development, completed films that are taking creative paths towards distribution, and even occasionally venture away from films to look at other types of projects, such as interesting new film distribution, funding, or exhibition mechanisms.
In the Works will generally include a featured project - in this case Super by James Gunn - as well as shorter profiles on promising projects iW is tracking through colleague suggestions, or, as with the projects below, via sites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo that are becoming invaluable to filmmakers seeking new funding sources. Sites such as these allow individuals to contribute funds in exchange for benefits that the filmmakers have developed (ranging from on-screen thanks to unique personalized gifts to producer credit), or, in the case of some projects, tax-deductions. Where possible, iW has included links for each project for readers to find out more information.
This is a dangerous comedy, producer Ted Hope (Adventureland) told indieWIRE Wednesday about his latest project, Super, now in post-production. There are 361 people registered on MySpace as superheroes, which I found interesting. Then I remembered someone had mentioned to me that [writer/director] James Gunn had written a script years ago about this subject.
So, the idea went from page to shooting late last year. In the film, Rainn Wilson (an executive producer on the film) dons the outward trappings of a superhero after his wife falls under the influence of a drug dealer. It was important for the team to portray the character as believable in his determination, even though his skills may be lacking.
We united to make this really funny and dangerous so that it rings true, Hope explained. [The film] has an intensity and a reality, which will make it jaw-dropping at times. You just have to believe that this guy is going to go out in a costume with no super abilities and believe hes going to beat the shit out of people.
Though the non-talented superhero theme is present in Matthew Vaughns upcoming Kick-Ass (which premiered at the recent SXSW Film Festival), Hope sees Super as a stand out. He said that he read the script for Kick-Ass and watched other films with a similar premise to distinguish his project.
The producer gave a big shout out to the productions shoot in Shreveport, Louisiana, offering kudos to the towns people for their help in making their two stints there a success. [Producer] Miranda Bailey had shot in Shreveport before for Wonderful World (2009) with Matthew Broderick and suggested it, so we went down and we thought the place would be great for Super.
Continuing, Hope added, It was super hospitable filming there. The town treated us very well. It has a mix of looks and we shot at a great time. Hope, a veteran producer having worked on dozens of films, including Human Nature, American Splendor, 21 Grams, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, and many others, said that Super was one of his most enjoyable shoots. The production shot after Thanksgiving and through the December holidays and then returned again after a break. It was a very ambitious shoot and people were wondering if it would be possible, but it turned out great. We had a perfect ensemble. Not just the [higher profile] people in the film, but the entire crew.
Hope, who is well-regarded by filmmakers and industry for his forward thinking, uniquely allowed outsiders a peek behind the scenes of the Shreveport shoots, frequently tweeting from the set. This allowed his followers on Twitter to actively engage with the production and built-up anticipation for its eventual release.
Hope said that because of the cast and team (and probably in part due to his social media usage), Super has been tracked really hard by distributors already and theyre still deciding how to position the film once its finally completed. In this day and age, its an exciting challenge, said Hope alluding to the ever-changing distribution and festival landscape, adding, Rainn [Wilson] also has two million Twitter followers, which puts him in the top 50. And in this day and age, thats certainly worth something.
Super quick stats:
Logline: An average guy takes on a superhero persona The Crimson Bolt after his wife falls prey to the influences of a drug dealer. He has the best of intentions, but he lacks any actual heroic talents.
The team: James Gunn, Writer/Director; Ted Hope and Miranda Bailey, producers; Cast includes Rainn Wilson (The Crimson Bolt), Ellen Page (Boltie), as well as Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Gregg Henry, Michael Rooker, Andre Royo, and Sean Gunn; Steve Gainer (Cinematography); Cara Silverman (Editor); William A. Elliott (Production Design); Mary Matthews (Costume Design); Tyler Bates (Original Music)
Current status: In post-production
CORRECTION: This article was updated to note that Super producer Ted Hope has not seen Kick-Ass.