JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE GATHERING -- ARE YOU AFRAID OF NO GHOSTS?

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Justice League Dark: The Gathering - DeadmanWhat do you get if you team-up, a dead man, a stranger, a clairvoyant, and some English wanker who likes to take the piss? No. You don't get the next batch of new governmental ministers, silly. That would be too obvious. What you get instead, folks, are the tried and tested spooks from the DC Universe, primed for a new movie spearheaded by my pal, Trevor. Here. Check out this conversation we both had only the other day, whilst setting fire to a bucket of water.





Justice League America #196 1) What are your own origins, Trevor? Plus what path did you take in life prior to getting to were you are today?   I'm a real-live comic book nerd. I've been reading and collecting since I was 6 years old. My first comic was Justice League #196: The awesome one with Ultra Humanite standing triumphantly overt the JLA and Justice Society. My grandmother gave me part of my uncle's collection from their attic, which included a full run of the Fleisher-Aparo Spectre stories in Adventure Comics. Ever since then, I have been hooked on DC horror heroes.

Around the same time I got into horror movies and books. It was a pretty good time for a creepy little kid, especially with all of the iconic movies in the 80's and Stephen King having his big boom. I kept my comic collection even though I lost a bit of interest in the 90's. I was getting older and a lot of the comics were starting to kind of stink. All of the heroes started to look the same to me, so I dipped out a bit.

I really started getting back into comics about 10 years ago when I started an online toy store with my best friend. We've been doing stuckakid.com for a while, but are slowly winding down. We are less interested in retail now. We are leaning towards manufacturing, but I am branching off and writing comics and screenplays for Happy Reaper.

Justice League Dark: The Gathering - Constantine
2) How did the ‘Justice League Dark: The Gathering’ come about?   Victor and I have been friends for a few years now. We didn't really know that the other was into comics until a while after knowing each other. We mostly talked about sports and movies. When we found out that we had comics in common, the flood gates opened.

He was really a Marvel cosmic guy. His big characters were Warlock and Silver Surfer. So we would kind of trade off recommendations. He'd tell me about some of the Jim Starlin's stuff that I'd missed out on and I'd tell him about these classic Spectre and Deadman stories. These discussions transformed into talk about superhero movies and what the studios were doing with them. The whole relationship that DC and Marvel have, especially now that it's more Warner Brothers versus Disney. We would talk about casting, marketing decisions, everything involved with what was going on with comic book movies. Inevitably, we started thinking about what we would do as filmmakers.

Victor had written a full length screenplay that he wanted to bounce ideas off me for. After I looked through it, I thought it was good, but too big of a project to take on right away. We talked about starting a few smaller projects first. We got together in a writer's room style setting and started knocking ideas around. Since we were both recently talking about DC horror heroes, they came up right away.

Justice League Dark: The Gathering - Phantom Stranger
It started out with a story about Deadman. We quickly added Rama Kushna, and then Phantom Stranger. When we added Madame Xanadu it kind of clicked. Justice League Dark was one of the flagship titles of the DC's New 52 rebranding -- and -- our project started to fit more and more into that idea. So we named the project Justice League Dark. Victor came up with the Gathering after the 2nd rewrite. It stuck right away, so we kept it in.

3) In your own words how would you describe this film?   'Justice League Dark: The Gathering' is a true fan film. We kind of shyed away from that label at first because a lot of "fan films" are so low budget. But now we are embracing it. We are true fans of these characters and bring that to the table with us.

Now I'm not saying that we're going to be able to spit out the publication date of every Neal Adams Deadman book ever published, but we both have excitement and love for these characters; as screenwriters and producers we have to pick our versions of these characters. And be decisive about the final product so it is not confusing to the audience. 

Again, I am a horror fan as well. Not just a comic super hero fan. So we are trying to use the same mood and tension that a horror film would to convey the mood and feel of our film.


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Justice League Dark
4) Have you had any feedback from anyone at DC about this project?   Mikel Janin, the co-creator and artist of Justice League Dark, has been a great supporter of ours. He has said that he liked our costume designs and is very excited to see the characters that he loves come to life. Mikel is so gracious and kind. He donated 2 commissions for our Indiegogo campaign. Just knowing that he is excited about this is such a reward already. It's really put the wind at our backs for this. We are so, so grateful.

Also, we were at the Baltimore Comic Con last month and walked the room in costume. Some of the most excited people we met were the guys and gals on the other side of the tables at Artists' Alley. We stopped by Ray Fawkes' table and chatted with him for a while. He definitely liked what he saw, which, again, to have the current writer for Constantine, Justice League Dark, and the upcoming Blithe maxi-series, supporting you in any way? That's just great.

5) If your movie omitted a smell, what odor would it be and why?   Wow! Okay. 'Justice League Dark: The Gathering' would smell like the bedroom of 8 year old me. It would be a mix of old comic books, vinyl records (Lost Boys soundtrack playing on the stereo), model glue (Aurora Monster models) and ... well, probably some candy.

Man, I miss that place. A lot of great memories there. And definitely where a lot of the inspiration for this comes from.

Steven King Cartoon
6) If you could get a known celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your production, who would you chose, and why would you want this particular person?   These are some deep questions! And like the "what's your favorite movie" questions, it is so hard to pick just one. Do I go with the writer or creators of the characters I love so much? Or do I pick an icon from the horror movie world? Or do I go with Elvis? Because everybody loves Elvis. 

Okay, if I had to pick just one person, it would have to be Stephen King. One, because he is a horror icon and to get his stamp of approval would be a dream come true. But also two, because he is a great story teller. He writes books and short stories that are so great on the printed page and prepped for the transition to the big screen.

I guess I'm choosing someone that I admire to endorse. Because I feel like if we're pleasing someone that we look up to, there is a certain satisfaction there. I should note that Victor may not have chosen Stephen King as our celebrity endorser. He's just going to have to live with this multi-million-copy-selling author. I'll let him pick the next one. Ha!

Justice League Dark: The Gathering - Cast
7) Although some of the characters in 'Justice League Dark' go way back the the fifties -- the Phantom Stranger being the earliest, 1952 -- the team in itself is relatively recent. So out of curiosity, why chose them as opposed to one the other groups in the DC Universe? And are there any advantages / disadvantages to your reasoning?   While this is still Justice League Dark, this was kind of our own version of them. We are using some of the same characters, but not all. There is no Shade or Black Orchid. Although those are great characters, we didn't feel that they fit into our world. Just yet. We went for the characters that we had a very good feel for. And instead of focusing on cramming more characters in to the script, we wanted to focus on the existing characters and what they meant to each other. How their interpersonal relationships affected the team. Working with a short film, we couldn't get into every aspect, we could only tease some of the behind the scenes workings. But this particular team has a very interesting dynamic.

Justice League Dark: The Gathering - Deadman
Why didn't we choose any other group in the DC Universe? We didn't really sit down to write a film about a team. It kind of presented itself after we brought characters in. We did try to write a film about the supernatural characters in the DC Universe. It just turned into a team movie.

8) What were the main obstacles you had to contend with?   An obstacle that we took head on was "which version of the character is this?". We had to do that with each of them. For the most part, we use the New 52 version as the face. Mainly because that is what the current audience is going to know. But we are definitely touching back on the classic characters. We feel that our Phantom Stranger is much closer to the old version than the new. There is just too much known about him nowadays. Not enough mystery behind one of the most mysterious characters in all of comicdom. I feel like we have a very good handle on who these characters are, and that was a challenge to be decisive about it.

9) If 'The Gathering’ had a motto, what do you think it would be?   "The stories of the past help forge the stories of tomorrow". Um. Or something.

Ohhhhhh! Very ominous words indeed, buddy Trevor. Don't you agree, dear readers? Yes. Of course you do. So when you have the time please check out the Justice League Dark: The Gathering Facebook Page. Trust me. If you're a fan of the JLD, I'm sure you be glad you did.