The last time we reported on Ed Brubaker’s Angel of Death live action, episodic story hitting Sony’s Crackle.com, it was during the hurly-burly of the San Diego Comic Con. Long story short, Brubaker, the current writer of Marvel’s Daredevil, Captain America and more, as well as his own Criminal (and the upcoming Incognito) as well as acclaimed runs on Batman and Catwoman and many more, is writing a story starring Zoe Bell as Eve, a hitwoman who suffers a traumatic head injury. Said injury leads to hallucinations and mental problems, leading Eve to conclude that the only way to end her suffering is to kill those who sent her forth to kill.
At the panel at San Diego, Brubaker was beside himself with excitement about the project, which was slated to begin production this fall. And – it’s actually happening. We spoke with Brubaker for more on where things stand with Angel of Death.
Newsarama: Ed, just to set the stage for the readers, we're finally catching up after you being in LA for a while - as if the picture above isn't enough, care to share what you were doing down there?
Ed Brubaker: I was on-set at the Angel of Death shoot for most of a week. I'd have stayed longer, but deadlines were calling. It was a lot of fun. The production is really coming together in a way I hadn't thought possible for our budget. It's really going to look fantastic, and Zoe Bell is going to be a huge star soon.
NRAMA: Ballparking things, where in production are things on Angel of Death? Are all the episodes being filmed and produced as a whole, or is a batch being done, then another, and then another?
EB: No, it's all being filmed just like a feature, which is what it will ultimately be when it's out of DVD. It's an episodic release, but it's one long story that all fits together (hopefully) seamlessly. So they
have to film it just like any other movie, around the sets and locations and such. When I was there, they were in week two of a five week shoot, and I'll be going back down again next week for another few days at the end of filming. It was all going shockingly smoothly, but I shouldn't be too shocked, because it's been smooth sailing all along on this project.
NRAMA: As the process has moved forward, has your job remained pretty much the same, that is, writing the story?
EB: Yeah, I did three drafts of the script, and then by the time I turned in the final pass, they were only a few weeks away from rolling cameras. From there, it's all been John Norris and Paul Etheridge's show. They're the producer and director, and between them and Sony, they put together a fantastic crew to make this thing happen. So my job was pretty much done, other than to do publicity. But I was nervous going down there, to see what it would look like, or if it would be good, and I was blown away. By the time I left, I felt like I should have been there the whole time. I even got to call action on a shot.
NRAMA: Compare things for us - how is it looking in reality versus how it looked in your head when you were coming up with it?
EB: That's what's kind of scary, even looking at the rough edits, it's so close to how I was picturing it that I can't really believe it. The production design on this is like a Scorsese movie from the ‘70s or something. Except for cars and cell-phones, you really could not tell when this picture takes place. I really love that. They really went with a subtle but really stylized look, and the cinematography is really amazing. Carl, the DP, is some boy-genius or something and they've come up with some really clever but classic-looking stuff.
NRAMA: Flesh out the story for us a little - Zoe is Eve, a hitwoman, who, after being dealt a traumatic brain injury, goes after those who sent her on her missions? And this is all..."real" and realistic, that is, no superpowers, magic or other far from reality stuff?
EB: That's pretty much it. She gets a head-injury and begins to suddenly have a conscience and everything goes straight to hell. And yeah, it's all real. It's a very gritty crime story, and I want to say this like ten times -- we really did all this stuff. It's not a greenscreen show. It's a real production and Zoe is really kicking the crap out of these guys, and they're really slamming into walls and flying over furniture and really smashing through windows and doing real high falls. It's a really cool thing to have Zoe, who I really think is going to turn out to be the US (by way of New Zealand) answer to Michelle Yeoh. She's actually doing her own stunts and fighting, so they can do these really amazingly choreographed shots and these long takes, it almost becomes like a brutal ballet. I can't wait to see what they do when they edit it.
NRAMA: What's working with Zoe been like? At the panel at SDCC, she seemed to be bristling with ideas for Eve - is she contributing to the story and character, or are things pretty much set?
EB: Zoe is fantastic. She's so much fun, and such a fucking pro. Hanging out with her and Doug Jones on set was one of the highlights of my year so far. And yeah, Zoe has brought a ton to Eve's character. She actually wrote a short bio for her, so she could understand her more, and it was really gripping. She had stuff I hadn't even thought about in there. I think people are going to be a bit stunned when they see her in this. The camera loves her as much as the crew does.
NRAMA: How are things looking in the larger timeline? When is the estimated release of the first episode on Crackle.com?
EB: You know, I'm not exactly sure. I know it's in the first quarter of 09.
NRAMA: And it's still going to be collected into a DVD, correct?
EB: Yeah, as I said before, that's been the design all along. To come up with something that could use all these different platforms at once - online, cell-phone downloads, iTunes, etc. and the DVD market. I'm really excited about that, because when the DVD comes out, it's just going to be a movie. It's not going to have all the chapter titles and stuff. And I think having the chapter structure like that allowed us to pack in more story, somehow. .
NRAMA: Finally Ed, do you see this as just a one-off kind of thing, or is the door left open at the end of this story for more stories with Eve?
EB: Oh, I don't want to ruin it, but I will say there's definitely room for more Angel of Death in the future.