Hester & Kuhn on Firebreather at CN
Hester & Kuhn on Firebreather at CN
As promised, we present to you now our interview with Firebreather co-creators Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn about bringing their creator-owned property to Cartoon Network. Also, what’s in store for Duncan Rosenblatt in the comic book series published by Image? Read on… Newsarama: Phil and Andy, let’s start with the same question we asked the Mice Templar team. What's the feeling like to have this deal signed with Cartoon Network to animate Duncan and co.? Phil Hester: Very exciting. I feel like we earned it though. We actually thought we were in the home stretch on this deal last San Diego, but negotiations and contracts take a while. We closed the deal in the spring and since then have been waiting for the right time to announce. Once Cartoon Network took over they controlled the press, and they decided to announce around San Diego. So, we've known for a long time, but we're very good at keeping secrets.
Andy Kuhn: It was definitely a long road to get here, but the outpouring of love that we've received from fans and pros alike since the announcement has been nothing short of amazing. The team at Cartoon Network seems to be very in tune with what Phil and I have done with Firebreather. We have high hopes that together we can make something really cool!
NRAMA: By the way, wasn’t Firebreather optioned by Paramount a while back?
PH: Right. That option expired and now the Cartoon Network deal actually has a theatrical option included. So, if the thing is wildly successful there's a chance they could make not only a series, but a feature film someday. Fingers and toes crossed.
NRAMA: Who actually started talks on this in the first place? And why Cartoon Network?
PH: Long ago, when the original mini came out, we were approached by the late Adrian Loudermilk who wanted to take the property out and sell it for us. He wound up getting us an option at Paramount/Nickelodeon for a feature film, but when he tragically passed away the project lost its guiding hand and languished at Paramount. When the option there expired, Julia Pistor, a producer who had been keeping tabs on the project, contacted Andy and me and asked to take Firebreather out. She landed it at Cartoon Network and we hammered out all the details and seem to be on the verge of having an actual cartoon movie on our hands.
Cartoon Network has had success with Ben 10 and seem to be shifting their focus to more action-oriented shows aimed at a little older demographic. Firebreather fit right in there.
NRAMA: As it is, Firebreather is planned as two-hour animated movie, right? Can you tell us about the premise at this point in time?
PH: Well, things can always change. We've seen the treatment and know the talented Jim Krieg is busily crafting a screenplay that's based on the first mini-series. Of course, it's not strictly an adaptation, they've added and subtracted from what Andy and I did in order to craft the movie, but all the stuff Jim's added is stuff I wish I thought of in the first place.
AK: It's similar to our first four-issue mini-series, but different in some very cool ways. James Krieg is to be commended for his work. He definitely seems to have a feel for what Phil and I are trying to do in the comics.
NRAMA: Are you guys going to be heavily involved with the production?
PH: Jim's a talented screenwriter who we're lucky to have on the project. He's my age, so we share the same sensibilities about what makes a good, moving super hero yarn. I'm confident he "gets" Duncan and company and has the tools to bring the heart of the book to the screen.
AK: It seems that Cartoon Network wants us to be involved at least on a consulting basis. I'm more than happy to be involved as much, or as little, as they want. I'll do whatever it takes to make the best cartoon possible!
NRAMA: As for the comics, where are things headed?
PH: Lots of big cliffhangers and twists and turns. A major character's death is imminent, Duncan's budding romance with Jenna is headed for troubled waters, a long lost member of Duncan's extended family is going to make life tough for him, and Duncan will soon find himself thrust into a worldwide monster combat tournament that will either make him Prince of Monsters or very dead.
AK: What Phil said, plus lots of monsters… beautiful monsters!