SDCC '08 - Devil's Due...and Kevin Spacey

SDCC 08 - The DDP Panel Report

On Thursday at San Diego Comic-Con, Devil’s Due Publishing gathered together a humongous panel of creators and more for a look at Hack/Slash—with both the new annual featuring the Suicide Girls and new information on the upcoming theatrical adaptation; talking to Original Productions President Phil Segal about Chopper Zombies; a look at the new title Serpo with writer Jason Burns; and an ultra-secret surprise visit to Comic-Con by award winning actor Kevin Spacey to talk about Devil’s Due partnering with TriggerStreet.com to find potential projects for production in Hollywood.

Rounding out the panelists at the standing room only panel:

Tim Seeley: writer/artist of the creator owned title Hack/Slash

Todd Lincoln: director of the Hack/Slash motion picture

Justin Marks: screenwriter of the Hack/ Slash motion picture

Josh Blaylock: President of Devil’s Due Publishing

Brian Warmoth: Marketing Manager of DDP and panel moderator

Phil Segal: President of Original Productions

Missy Suicide: Founder of SuicideGirls.com

Jason Burns: writer of Serpo

Dana Brunetti: co-founder of TriggerStreet.com

Kevin Spacey: actor and co-founder of TriggerStreet.com

The packed panel opened with thunderous applause for the introduction of Hack/Slash creator, Tim Seeley who briefly described Hack/Slash for people who weren’t familiar with the title as, “sometimes scary, sometimes funny, and sometimes…a little naughty,” gathering a chuckle from the crowd. Quickly, Tim introduced Todd Lincoln, director of the Hack/Slash motion picture, Todd was very positive about his involvement with the project and spoke about his immediate interest in Hack/Slash as a potential movie when the title originally hit shelves. Tim and Todd spoke about meeting through San Diego Comic-Con in previous years and their mutual love for obscure slasher flicks. At this point, Justin Marks was introduced; Marks’ work is taking Hollywood by storm at the moment—with screenplays to both Voltron and Masters of the Universe being lauded on the internet. Marks spoke candidly about how he fell in love with Cassie Hack—and how he was so elated to “have the chance to do something I didn’t think was going to happen.” He loved the challenge of being involved with a project that approached the post-modern horror genre.

Discussing particulars about the Hack/Slash movie, Tim joked, “We’re making a film with lots of product placement and at least one miscast actor,” to the amusement of the audience. He spoke highly of both Lincoln and Marks—saying, “I agree with their vision of Hack/Slash. Todd then described Hack/Slash as “a blood-soaked buddy movie” and that it had all the trappings of slasher flicks from the ‘80s and ‘90s—“blood, gore, and breasts which are the character, heart, and humor of good horror films”; adding further, “in the America we live in—there can be a Haddonfield, Camp Crystal Lake, or Elm Street”. Seeley, Marks, and Lincoln were firm with the idea that Hack/Slash would be a “hard ‘R’ with a lot of heart” to the delight of the audience.

Seeley changed subjects and began talking about the Hack/Slash Annual which featured the comic book debut of Missy Suicide and some of her friends at SuicideGirls.com—who are prominently featured as the victims of a mysterious slasher capable of killing his victims via the internet. Tim expressed a fondness for “pretty Goth girls that kick ass.” Tim was asked how he went about casting the various Suicide Girls for the issue, the audience erupted with laughter when he stated, “Well, I know a few as friends and well, I’m also a member of the website.” Missy was quick to add, “Tim has been a member for quite some time,” gathering more laughs from the crowd as Tim sheepishly shrugged and smiled. They both plugged the annual and gave out information as to the various ways the issue could be obtained—even mentioning a special variant available through the Suicide Girls website.

Justin Marks was then asked about his work on the upcoming Bionic Commando project from DDP; he explained, “Capcom is working on a new version of the game—but that’s really all I know…” as he hinted that he’d played the game and spoke highly of the experience. He spoke about the comic indicating that it would take place between the original game from the 80s and the new game. Marks added, “…bionics could be the next step in our evolution.” The Bionic Commando comic will be about ‘Simon’ the protagonist from the original game and how he leads a group of bionic characters.

Phil Segal, President of Original Productions, spoke about the number of projects he works on, including Ice Road Truckers, Deadliest Catch, and Monster Garage. He held up a copy of Chopper Zombies and expressed his pleasure in the release of the comic from DDP—adding that Chopper Zombies was a great fit for all of the projects he was currently involved with.

Jason Burns was then introduced—he spoke of his work on Serpo, a new title loosely based on the true story/ speculative legend of ‘Project Serpo’ a theory that the U.S. government participated in a top-secret military exchange program of twelve soldiers with the planet Zeta Reticuli in the late ‘60s/ early ‘70s. He spoke of his prior involvement with Serpo artist, Joe Eisma and that the story would make readers question “who the real aliens are.”

At this point, someone opened a door and motioned to Brian Warmoth—he turned and announced that the next two panel members were a last-minute surprise addition as Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti entered the room to an eruption of applause. They were quickly seated and began talking about TriggerStreet.com, a website committed to helping aspiring filmmakers and writers gaining exposure. They expressed both expressed the importance of finding fresh new talent and material—and that comics were one of the few avenues they had not explored…until now. Spacey smiled and mocked a booming voice, “Comics are taking over Hollywood!” which elicited a cheer from the jovial audience.

The panel was then turned over to the audience for open questions. The first question was in relation to the Hack/Slash film—with a special interest in the use of practical or “real” special effects versus the use of CGI which is becoming more common in films. Lincoln agreed with the sentiments of the audience member and explained that Hack/Slash would be similar to the films that it was inspired by and that practical effects would be used.

A question was asked about Seeley’s regards of controlling creator-owned properties to which he responded, “I get to do what I want—nobody tells me what to do.” He went on say that sometimes even he doesn’t want to work for himself anymore—which elicited a laugh—as a he described his working process and how changing his work mid-production warranted new difficulties during the process.

Justin Marks was asked about future projects. He spoke briefly about a sci-fi project—describing it to be in the vein of a “Children of Men type of thriller.”

An audience member asked Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey about their new-found interest in comics. They both remarked about films like Hack/Slash being attainable for smaller production companies—Brunetti remarked, “Companies like Marvel and DC have Spider-Man and Batman—but DDP can bring concepts on the scale of a Hellboy or a Wanted to the table. It allows us to give moviegoers a project that they normally might not see as a film.”

A question about the casting of Hack/Slash was bandied about by several of the panelists—all of which admitted how surprised at just whose names were being attached to the role of Cassie Hack at the moment—but they couldn’t speak much more on the topic.

Kevin Spacey was asked if he preferred playing heroic roles to villainous ones. He stated, “I have a great time playing Machiavellian characters […] you have to just play it and see how people react to your work.” He expressed an interest in playing a wide array of roles—and that he wasn’t picky when it came to the nature of his roles.

Another question was asked about TriggerStreet.com and their recent projects—Brunetti quickly mentioned 21, the film loosely based on the MIT blackjack team, and also mentioned a screening of the film Fanboys that was being held that night at a movie theater down the street from the convention center.

The final question was in regards to TriggerStreet.com and how the website worked. Brunettei and Spacey described the site and its peer review process.

As the panel was wrapped up, Tim Seeley and Todd Lincoln both expressed their gratitude to the applauding audience—indicating that Justin Marks’ script for the movie was “awesome”; Lincoln then closed by saying “We’re casting and getting ready, guys—thanks for being patient. We’re getting so close.”

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