Friday, 10 July 2015

2000AD Comes Home...

A few weeks ago we were up in Edinburgh for our long awaited screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.  We were told back in January that we had been selected so we've all been very excited about this for a loong time!  The festival itself has a really laid back vibe, and all the event organisers were super friendly and helpful, which makes the whole experience so enjoyable (apart from tanking so badly in the bloody movie quiz!).

A few people noted that it was like a 2000AD homecoming, considering the wealth of Scottish creators that have contributed to the comic over the years, including John Wagner, Alan Grant, Cam Kennedy, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar and Colin MacNeil to name just a few...  Indeed Judge Dredd himself was first conjured from the minds of Wagner and Pat Mills in what is now known to fans as the 'Thrill Shed', an actual garden shed the pair used as a writing room at Mills' previous home in Dundee!

Before the show the Filmhouse was bursting at the seams!  It was a fantastic sight and a very proud moment to see that so many people share our passion for the comic.  Our good friend Kim Newman got up onstage to introduce the film. He had walked through walls to be there as he'd fallen quite ill the day before and could barely speak, but he soldiered on and was hilarious - I loved his comparison of Dredd and Desperate Dan, who share the fact that they are both very a British view of our American cousins but in such different ways!

So then our little film played and seemed to go down a storm!

After the screening we were super thrilled to have Pat Mills and Emma Beeby joining Kim, Sean and I onstage for a Q&A panel, and in the audience was none other than Colin MacNeil himself. It was good catching up with them all for a wee dram in the bar afterwards too. The thrill power didn't end there as we were just the warm up act to a screening of Dredd in all its 3D slo-mo glory!

It was a great experience, and it's a genuine honour to be able to share this film that has taken so much effort and passion to produce. To see it up there on the big screen with an audience that shares our love of 2000AD is just very, very cool.

Enormous thanks to Edinburgh for having us and to everyone who came, it was a very special night!

Friday, 31 October 2014

Blast Off!

On Tuesday evening we had our European premiere in screen 1 at the BFI Southbank, and what an unforgettable night it was.  Sincerely, I was overwhelmed.  In attendance were friends who came to show support, the production crew, some of whom were seeing it for the very first time and of course there were the hardcore fans of 2000AD, finally getting to see this thing that has kept me out of the sunlight for the last few months..!

The audience also included some of the contributors to the doc, without whom the film would be nothing. It was a bit nerve-wracking for sure, hoping that we have done justice to the comic, its fans and its history, and luckily it seemed to be received very well.  The laughs were certainly all in the right places at least, and we got a nice round of applause as the lights came up during the end credits. It was a very proud moment.

As soon as the film was over Sean, Helen and I were brought up to the stage for a Q&A with Pat Mills & Kevin O'Neill! I swear I had been playing this over and over in my head all week and now it was actually happening. What an experience, to be up there alongside the same creators that have given me so much enjoyment over the years. Truly bloody amazing.

©Tony Richards

I'm so grateful that we were given the opportunity to enjoy such a special night, the likes of which I'll be very lucky if I ever experience again.

Huge, huge thanks to everyone who came, I hope it was fun :)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

"He's Dredd Jim!"

Right to the wire...we've managed to fit in another fantastic interview for the doc - and what an interview to end with!  Dredd himself - Karl Urban.

Karl was over in the UK in the guise of that other sic-fi legend he portrays on screen - Dr Leonard "Bones" McCoy.  We visited him at Destination Star Trek being held at Excel in London - an extravaganza of all thing Trek!

Despite a hectic schedule, Karl very generously sat down with us to discuss Dredd, both the film itself and his love of the character growing up in New Zealand.

Amongst various topics, we chatted about the importance of keeping the helmet on, acting without being able to use your eyes and keeping "Old Stoney Face's" dialogue to an absolute minimum - why use 3 words when 1 would do...!  It was clear that Karl took the role very seriously and was absolutely focused on creating an on-screen version of Dredd that stayed true to John Wagner's iconic character.

It was a cool interview, we covered a lot of ground - now all we have to do is try and get him into the master edit in time for the UK Premiere at the BFI!  Tickets for which, in case you hadn't heard are on sale now!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Future Tunes!

Last weekend Sean and I sat in on an epic 2 day recording session for our soundtrack at Shaken Oak Studios in Oxford.  The score is is composed and performed by Justin Greaves, fresh of the bus from the final night of a massive European tour with his band Crippled Black Phoenix just the night before. Justin worked with Sean on The Devil's Business and Little Deaths, and so when I asked Sean if he though Justin would like to be involved in Future Shock he said "he'd be upset if you didn't ask him!".

So a few weeks back Justin cooked up some demos & ideas for us and fired them over, we were blown away! Properly moshing around in the edit suite :D  Amazing.

Arthur runs the studio and he and his colleague Jake (both massive 2000AD fans) recorded an extraordinary amount of material over the weekend, including a bonecrunching theme tune and a kick in the face credits track, as well as some beautiful, scary, dark & uplifting pieces for the beds - imagine if John Carpenter started a punk band!  We even had a surprise 59C from Mega City's finest...

Unfortunately Arthur is now serving 18 months in an iso-cube for crimes against music :)

Massive thanks to Arthur & Jake for putting in a heroic shift for us, it's really amazing how much great material we managed to lay down, an album's worth in 2 days!

Big 'hi' to Wakefield Carter who popped in to lark about with his Dredd props and to amaze us with a fantastic selection of original art, and also huge thanks to Mark Wickson for taking a bunch of great photos to remember the weekend.

I have to say it's a real honour to be at the centre of something where so much creativity is coming together to form the whole, and it's all because of our shared love of 2000AD.  I find it all very moving.

Good times guys :)

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Future News

Things happen every day, millions and millions of things.  Some of them get recorded; others are simply forgotten.  Can you remember the year that America's Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning for the seventh time? No? Well then, maybe you can remember when Red Rum won a record three Grand Nationals?  OK, that's a bit tricky. Would it help if I said that it was the same year that Kanye West was born, Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad in Utah, and the rings of Uranus were discovered?  Warmer?  It was also the year that Star Wars hit the cinemas and The Sex Pistols released the instantly banned Never Mind the Bollocks. Any closer? If the penny still hasn't dropped, this should do it: it was the year the first ever issue of 2000AD was published (with a free frisbee stuck on the front - the infamous - Space Spinner). Drum roll… that year was 1977.

When Pat Mills, the creator of 2000AD, launched the comic it was very much fuelled by what was happening in the world at the time: the politics, the punks, the pop culture. To get a really comprehensive view of what the world was like back then director Paul and I spent most of yesterday in the deepest, darkest vaults under the ITN building, sifting through their one million hours of archived news recordings which, incredibly, date back to 1890 (handily enough for the makers of The King's Speech; we, of course, didn't have to go quite that far back).  It's an incredible place. They've got those huge shelves that stretch across the room and move when you twiddle the wheel at the end (I was asked to stop fiddling with these). And if there's a fire you've got just 30 seconds to get out before the doors seal shut and the 'gas suppression system' is activated, which apparently removes all the oxygen from the room - meaning anybody trapped inside will die fairly quickly, but more importantly the archive will be saved...

We were told that these days, every 24 hours, a whopping 36 fresh new hours of news gets added to the collection.  And looking around the room at all the film cans and tapes I couldn't help think about all the stuff that just didn't make it to our screens - you know the real stuff, the horror, stuff you'd want to unsee.  Anyway, nice guy Mark at ITN is going to assist us in getting some lovely old archive footage to help us tell the 2000AD story, to put it in context.  It's weird to think that we once lived in a world where mankind was yet to discover the rings of Uranus.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

The (not in any way) Grievous Journey continues..

@IanEdgington @leahmoore @johnreppion.

Another day, another epic road trip!  Once again we embarked on a 3-stop tour of Britain to speak to some of 2000AD's most popular current creators.

First stop - Birmingham and to the home of Ian Edgington.  Ian has brought his own weird worlds and many original creations to 2000AD over the last few years in hugely popular new strips such as Leviathan, The Red Seas, Stickleback and most recently Brass Sun (loving it!).

We set up in Ian's office among an absolute treasure trove of comics, fantasy & sci-fi memorabilia. It's like a museum!  This is one serious collection, my favourite piece being the little James Brown figure from The Simpsons hiding in the back of our shot  :D

We had a great chat about all things 2000AD, focusing on more recent eras right up to the shape of the comic today.  Ian's a gent, he and his wife were very welcoming and gracious hosts, so many thanks to them for having us.  Hope the decorating is going well guys!

Onward to the Manchester and the home one of 2000AD's longest serving artists Steve Yeowell. I was first exposed to Steve's art in Grant Morrison's Zenith back in the 500's, which is surely one of the comic's all-time seminal strips. I remember how I found his combination of realism & horror absolutely chilling and really hadn't seen anything like his style in the comic before. Re-reading through some of the progs doing research for the doc it still creeps me out.

So Ian's 2000AD career stretches back from the 80's right up to the current issue with art duties on the brand new strip Black Shuck, written by Leah Moore and John Reppion - who in a handy not-too-clumsy-segue kind of way were the next stop on our journey!

Leah & John are a short hop from Steve over in Liverpool, and we had a great discussion about the history and impact of 2000AD, their contribution to current era and of course Leah's unique perspective growing up in the home of one of the comic's legendary writers.  Once again, Leah & John made time for us in their busy schedule and family home, and were extremely gracious and welcoming.

It's such a joy to meet people who's work you admire, then to find that they are kind, approachable and sincere, and one of the most enjoyable things about producing this doc has been the discovery that the comics industry that we all love and cherish so much is full of genuinely cool people!

I love comics.