FRANK PAUR – pt. 1, MIXING IT UP WITH THE HULK
These have been busy times for Frank Paur.
Since joining Marvel Animation back with , Paur quickly started directing a number of their Direct-to-DVD titles. Last year he did . Starting today, his latest effort, hits the market.
As the title implies, the 2-disc set features the Green Goliath in two tremendous battles. In the first, Paur does his own variation on the first legendary battle between Hulk and Wolverine. In the second, the Hulk is whisked to Asgard and set loose in full rage. You know who then has to come and defend his home. .
“We actually went through different variations. I think we always wanted . When we settled on , we had already started production on the other.
“The idea really started when we were thinking of doing Ultimate X-Men versus Ultimate Avengers. We realized that wasn’t going to work out,” says Paur, whose past work includes and . “So we started throwing ideas left and right. Then we went to Marvel and said ‘Why don’t we just do Hulk against Wolverine?’ Then we got to talk more and realized that no one has done Thor the way we could do on this, just pure comic book. With that in mind, we started playing around with ideas. That’s basically how we came up with and .”
Obviously, Paur couldn’t produce two full features on his own, so he then split the production into two teams. Each team was headed by two animation directors. had long time vets and colleagues Kevin Altieri () and Butch Lukic (, among many more). would be spearheaded by Paur and Sam Liu.
“Sam worked on me with ,” says Paur. “He’s been working with me for quite a while. I felt that he worked his chops up enough to work as a director. He’s enormously talented, especially when it comes to action. He’s also extremely fastidious about his work. As director/producer, I always look for that in my directors. It makes my job so much easier. Because all of those guys are just that good, as well as good team players. I can really bounce ideas around them. In my position, I always look for guys who I can bounce ideas around. At the end of the day you get a much better project.”
The voice cast for would sounds like comfort food for animation fans. Paur recalled in Fred Tatasciore to be Hulk. He also got Steve Blum for Wolverine. As stated in a previous interview with Executive Producer Craig Kyle, Blum and Tatasciore have these two roles “for life.” One can see why when these two old friends got in the sound booth. Well sort of.
“Whenever you put those two in the same room it gets kind of crazy,” Paur laughs. “For the most part, we try to keep them separate. I don’t know how Fred does it, honestly. Just how does he manage to keep that voice? Usually, all we have him do is just screaming, growling and grunting. Then we have him do it in so many different ways. It’s a very grueling process for him. You can see why we give him special treatment.
Steve is the same way. In this version of Wolverine, it’s all growls and groans, especially a lot of groans after what we put him through. I think Steve had a few more lines than Fred. So when you put them together, it does get kind of crazy. Still, when you close your eyes or not look at them, you’ll understand.”
The real revelation here is the addition of another longtime vet and colleague to Tatasciore and Blum, Nolan North. He plays Deadpool, and his sardonic wit and rapid fire delivery of ad-libbed lines will leave one on the floor. Paur knows so because North did the same to him.
“Actually, Craig Kyle picked him,” said Paur. “He worked with Nolan on . You know, we had already recorded Deadpool (with another actor-ED), but what we got wasn’t quite what we were looking for. So we used the tracks we had for animation purposes, but it didn’t quite have the snap that we wanted.
Now I hadn’t worked with Nolan before. So when Craig mentioned him, I asked if he was any good. That’s when Craig said just watch and learn. That’s when Nolan came in and he was just spectacular. The stuff that he would come up with on the spot would just leave us rolling, and half of it we had to leave off. It was way over the top, but it also was just so . We had to go with the lesser ones to meet with standards. He stole the show. Deadpool steals every scene and that’s because of Nolan.”
Backed with such a veteran team on both sides of the booth gave Paur an unusual chance to experiment. He took full advantage of that in the animation process.
“One of the things that we did was do a little differently than what we did for ” said Paur. “A lot of the storyboards were actually done overseas through the Madhouse people. That’s another reason why I brought in Kevin and Butch.
“We didn’t do full storyboards. We gave Madhouse a template of where we wanted things to go. We basically did an illustrated script. So we planned out a lot of ideas and things. Then you bring Kevin in and he’ll storyboard anyway. For instance, the sequence with Wolverine and the guards? That’s nearly pure Kevin there.”
There are two solid reasons why Paur went this way. First of all, he has had a long, long relationship with Japan’s Madhouse, going back to his days at Disney and , where they did a lot of his production work. Secondly, when it comes to action-oriented animation, Madhouse has a reputation that is nigh impossible to beat.
“So we let these guys do what they do best,” said Paur. “Then we put it all together and handed it over in illustrated format. Then Madhouse’s animation directors and storyboard guys take it a step or two further. That’s the process we used. I was very to have Madhouse. It did need that extra blend of action that they do so well. When it comes to action, they can be very creative.
“What was interesting was when I was talking to them, they were so used to doing American cartoons they thought they could only go to certain limits. I was always telling them to go beyond that. They would be going, ‘do you really want Wolverine to slice Deadpool’s arm off?’ I would then constantly be going ‘Yeah! I want you to do it like you would in the anime.’ Once they got into it, you couldn’t stop them.”
What you end up will be like a shot of adrenaline for action junkies. Like the original issue of Hulk, Wolverine is introduced when the big guy starts tearing up the Canadian countryside. The bloodshed and battles go virtually non-stop as Logan soon must not only contend with Deadpool, but Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike and Omega Red. Then the fun really kicks in when all of them must contend with the Hulk, who isn’t happy with any of them.
Quite honestly, for straight-up visceral and carnal violence, is going to be tough to beat.
KENNY TO HOST ANNIES
ASIFA-Hollywood is proud to announce that Tom Kenny, the familiar voice behind film and TV’s SpongeBob SquarePants, will handle hosting duties again this year for the 36th Annual Annie Awards. They will be held on Friday, January 30, 2009, at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles, CA.
The black-tie evening begins with a pre-reception at 6 p.m. followed by the Annie Awards ceremony at 8:00 p.m. and post award party at 10:00 p.m. All events will be held at Royce Hall. The Annie Awards ceremony will also be webcasted on www.annieawards.org beginning Tuesday, February 3, 2009. For tickets and up-to-the minute information on the 36th Annual Annie Awards, please visit www.annieawards.org .
In honor of the year’s best in animation, Kenny will be joined on stage by a lively mix of animation luminaries, celebrity presenters and comedic talent. The guests include animation legend June Foray, actors Brad Garrett (), Seth Green (), Michael Clarke Duncan (), James Hong (), Ben Burtt (), Henry Selick () and other special guests. Presenting the Winsor McCay award to Pixar’s John Lasseter will be Director Emeritus and Consultant, The Walt Disney Company and Chairman of the Board, Shamrock Holdings, Inc., Roy Disney.
BANG ZOOM! TEAMS UP WITH STARZ
Bang Zoom! Entertainment, a leading full-service audio post production company and producer of original entertainment content, was tapped to develop and produce a fun, new web-based show, “Manga Minutes” for Manga.com.
Manga.Com is the official site of Manga Entertainment, a leading publisher of anime titles such as
, and many more. Bang Zoom! will produce 24 episodes of the show in total, which recently was ranked as high as #5 on the iTunes “Arts & Entertainment” chart.
Fifteen episodes are now available on Manga.com at www.manga.com/channels/manga-minutes
“Manga Minutes” features a duo of lively, animated hosts named Yoko and Rogue and showcases reviews of anime, manga, and video games from a variety of publishers. It complements Manga Entertainment’s destination site, Manga.com, which features a unique blend of video, product-related information and other editorial content and offers fans a customized way to experience a wide range of manga and anime.
“We did a lot of research as far as deciding what titles to feature,” says Bang Zoom! Associate Producer, Kevin Chu. “Considering the style of the Manga.com website and its users, we focused on finding unique properties that appealed to a core demographic of ardent fans. To date we’ve focused on several cool action titles like and . We make a point to stay in-tune with what titles people are talking about and fan feedback plays a big role in giving us ideas for future episodes.”
“We were very excited to have the opportunity to work with Starz Media and Manga Entertainment on ‘Manga Minutes,’” says Eric P. Sherman, president of Bang Zoom! Entertainment. “Each episode is a snapshot of what’s cool in the latest anime, manga and game titles and we look forward to continuing to develop the show.”
“We developed Manga.com as a place where fans could watch free anime clips, discuss anime culture, and find out about new video games and manga,” says David Katz, executive director, digital media of Starz Media’s Manga Entertainment, which produces the site. “‘Manga Minutes’ gives our fans their dose of what's cool in anime, games and manga – all in two minutes. This unique and novel short-form programming fills a need in the marketplace and is one that we can easily distribute and syndicate to our distribution partners and reach an even wider audience.”
VIZ DOES DEAL WITH WARNER BROS.
Starting this April, all Viz DVDs will now be distributed through Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The initial titles to be distributed will include and the latest chapter of .
“This new distribution deal will give us much wider exposure in the market,” said a Viz insider. “It’s much like the deal we struck with Simon and Schuster for our manga. We control the content and they take care of getting our releases in many places we never could before.”