Earlier this year, I was introduced to Jason and Brandon Trost’s joint directorial venture, The FP — a post-apocalyptic, adrenaline-fuelled homage to both 80s cinema and Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution, packed top-to-tail with an infectiously immature wit played with admirable sincerity. Shortly after watching, I had the opportunity to interview Jason about the film and his upcoming ventures. Tomorrow sees the US VOD release of his latest film, All Superheroes Must Die — a comparatively dramatic outing which sees a group of four superheroes stripped of their power and forced to complete in a series of challenges in order to save a town of civilians held captive by the villain, Rickshaw (James Remar).
Check out the trailer below and read on to hear about Jason’s journey to release, opinions on VOD distribution, his surprise film of the year and a tease or two about his upcoming projects.
Telstar Media: Am I right in saying that ‘All Superheroes Must Die’ premiered at Toronto in 2011 as ‘Vs’? What’s the journey been like to get the film out to the point of release?
Jason Trost: Yeah. Toronto After Dark in 2011 as Vs (the script says “Versus”) and then we got a distributor, so now the movie is called All Superheroes Must Die. It’s been a hell of journey so far. We shot the movie back in July of 2010 (back when I thought The FP would never sell), the movie premiered in October of 2011 at Toronto After Dark, we sold the movie shortly after, and now it’s taken over a year for the movie to come out. It’s been just sitting there, done for a year. You have no idea how long it takes to negotiate contracts once you sell a movie. Same thing happened to The FP. But now I’m so glad it’s finally coming out. All the hard work has been worth it.
TM: Was the ‘sellability’ of the film something you considered when designing ASMD? Or did it come from a different place entirely?
JT: Yeah. The ‘sellability’ was definitely something I considered. I knew I needed do something with a broader audience to hopefully get something out there. Everyone watches superhero movies, right? It was looking dark for The FP for quite a while. Then both The FP and ASMD sold, so that was a plus.
TM: Did you grow up with superheroes — either through comics, or TV/Film? Are there any that influenced how you approached All Superheroes Must Die?
JT: I definitely grew up with superheroes. I was into comics enough but the wave of animated TV shows in the 90’s such as Batman, Superman, X-Men and Spiderman were definitely my lifeline into the world of superheroes. Batman: The Animated Series was definitely a large influence on me; I wanted this movie to feel like it was just some arbitrary episode in the middle of the series. I always think it’s more interesting to hit the ground running and find out who are characters are as we go as opposed to the hour long origin that usually comes with these movies. Probably the thing that excited me most was the concept of “what are superheroes without their superpowers”? How do they cope? And how can that be taken advantage of. And of course — what I think is/should be the core of all superhero movies — love. How far would we go for love?
TM: Am I right in thinking that ASMD is the first theatrical release which you directed yourself? If so, how did you find the process compared to Co-Directing The FP with Brandon? Were there any difficulties that came with flying solo?
JT: You’re right. This is my first solo directed theatrical release. The process is definitely different but I enjoy it. I think if anything directing solo is easier/quicker… whether it’s better is up for everyone else to decide!
TM: One of the things that striked me upon watching the trailer was how much darker this film feels compared to The FP and the released Wet and Reckless teaser. James Remar seems to be almost channelling Jigsaw/The Joker there! Is that in keeping with the tone we can expect of the film?
JT: It’s definitely way darker and way more serious than The FP which was just a big sarcastic joke. It’s a little different from DC/Marvel, for sure. The heroes are definitely not cartoon characters, they’re more grounded in human reality with human problems. Remar is awesome though. He channels things from classic villains I love. To me he feels like a character from a Paul Verhoeven movie in this.
TM: What do you think of VOD/Digital Distribution as a model for releasing content?
JT: I think VOD/Digital distribution is awesome. It gives people with no money a chance for their movie to be seen by an enormous amount of people, and that’s really the dream when you make these small movies — just for people to see them. I think in the future we’ll all have a small black box with zillions of gigabites that can hold every movie ever made. That’s awesome, but as a collector I’m definitely going to miss holding something tangible in my hands. The artwork, the special features, the dvd case etc… Studios are watching all of this very closely. Sure, their movies make a billions dollars but they cost $999 million to make, advertise and distribute. They’re really not seeing the profit people think. That’s why they love producing the low budget movies — things under $5 million can potentially see way more profit than the half-billion dollar releases.
TM: Do you see yourself revisiting superheroes in some capacity in the future? Or have you said all you feel you have to say about them for now? Any plans for JTRO to develop superpowers down the line, besides his sweet DDR skills?
JT: I see myself revisiting superheroes in the future. I’ve got a lot more to say. Some of which requires money. But, maybe sooner rather than later. I just finished the first draft of ASMD2 and we’ve got interest. It could be my next movie, but you really never know. As for JTRO, he develops all kinds of shit in the next movies, whether or not we get to see any of that depends on when Brandon and I need a tax write-off.
TM: Given the traction and something of a cult following The FP has been getting lately, would you consider going down the crowd-sourced funding option for those films? Or are your ideas for the sequels looking to be on a larger scale than that?
JT: I think we have to consider crowd-sourced funding for The FP. It’s either that or Brandon and I somehow get rich and fund it ourselves. One thing is clear, no investor in their right mind will ever fund the sequels so it’s up to us! And boy, do the sequels get insane. Part 2 will definitely be the T2:Judgement Day of the series, making part 1 in fact look like a “Pussy Bitch”.
TM: Last time we spoke you were knee-deep in editing Wet & Reckless, is there any update as to how that is coming along?
JT: I just finished the score for Wet & Reckless which is now going to be called #WetAndReckless. The final cut is done, just waiting on a couple of original songs from a buddy of mine and to finish the graphics. It’ll be ready to rock in January and then we’ll figure out what’s next.
TM: On the site, we’ve just run our Top 10 Films of 2012 — what were the highlights for yourself this year? Anything surprise you?
JT: This year had some good movies. One of the biggest surprises for me was definitely Dredd. That movie was just so exactly what I want out of movies… and it bombed. So that bummed me out. Hopefully it does well with it’s home release. Otherwise I have to rethink what type of movies I want to make. Maybe I just need to do Chipmunk movies, who knows!
All Superheroes Must Die is released in the US on VOD January 1st, in theatres from January 4th and for home release on DVD & BluRay from January 29th.