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Jekyll Today's Date:

Big Dreams On A Low Budget:
An Interview With The Writer/Director of Jekyll, Part Two

Continuing our behind-the-scenes look...

Welcome back to our conversation with Scott Zakarin. You might not know his name right now, but he's been on the edge of your consciousness on the internet for quite some time. In addition to launching the online soap opera The Spot in the early days of the web when we still called it World Wide, Scott worked on Grapejam, AOL's Entertainment Asylum, and was rumored to have a lot to do with Playboy's online presence, but that could just be something he taunts me with every now and then and hopes I won't check it out.

For the last few years, Scott has served as the CEO of Creative Light Entertainment, a company dedictated to genre films and making fanboys go wild. Many fans may remember Mind Meld, the William Shatner/Leonard Nimoy interview project released a couple of years ago, produced by Scott and directed by Peter Jaysen. The company also has the video rights to the legendary Sid Caesar's work -- appealing to a different set of fans, perhaps, but no less rabid in their appreciation.

And of course, there's Comic Book: The Movie, directed by Mark Hamill. But more on that at a later time.

In the first part of this interview, Scott talked about his inspiration for his return to the director's chair. Today, he talks about licensing, multi-media possibilities, and how crucial his casting is going to be. As of yet, no decisions have been announced, but some high-profile names to fandom were being batted around the office last week.

And by the way, he did remove his finger from his nose.

DM: There's a choice you made in the script also that Hyde works out in a Victorian virtual reality. Why?

SZ: It could have been any world. The idea being that when you're playing a videogame it should be in a fantasy world. Even the world of Grand Theft Auto is still a fantasy world of a sin city type of universe. It could be outer space, it could be anything, and I could have put Hyde anywhere.

Hyde was really born in Victorian England, so it seemed to me that that was as good a place as any to put the videogame. That's really the whole reason. I don't have him interacting with characters; he's just in the game going crazy and killing scalawags…

Holding his breath, yet looking relaxed...
DM: So you'll be trying to do some kind of licensing for a Hyde videogame?

SZ: I don't really think I own that brand. I think Jekyll and Hyde kind of belongs to the world. If it were, somebody wanted to do a videogame, that's just not the motivation for me at all. It's really not. I'm not trying to say this is my franchise. I mean, it can happen.

It certainly happened with Stan Lee's Thor. He created Thor (the comic book character) and people would said, "we want to make Thor." And Stan just says, "why don't they make it?"

They can make Thor. Thor is a thunder god who has a cool hammer. If you want to make him Don whatever-his-name… (Donald Blake)

So I don't think I own Jekyll and Hyde. If for some reason, someone else saw it differently, well, I have no problem with commercialism. It's just that I have no good reason for it.

DM: So where are you in production now? Have you cast anybody yet?

SZ: No. We're very close, actually. For some of the roles. I'm holding my breath on some actors that would be dream scenarios. One thing I can tell you is that the quality of actor has been exceptional.

The script has gotten very good reactions from Hollywood agencies and management companies. The actors that have been coming in for a lower-budget horror film with a director people don't really know - we have really been able to get the actors. We will have a very good cast. Fine actors. Interesting calls and recognizable faces as well as name stars.

This is the period where we're officially…what day is it? The 16th? We are five weeks away from the shoot. We're shooting on the 19th (of January). So five weeks. With Christmas in between. So we have…we're looking to nail down the locations. We're looking to figure out what the effects are. We're looking to hire the stunt coordinator…actually, that I can tell you. His name is Banzai Vitale.

Superhuman production designer Mark Teague...
We've hired a production designer, Mark Teague. He's actually the guy who starred in and directed Superguy, which is something that's coming out for us soon. Also, he worked on a lot of the graphics and animation for Comic Book: The Movie. He's fantastic.

We're hiring keys. We've got our Director of Photography, Bill McCullen. He's shot several movies in hi-def. I've also worked with him on commercials. So those are the types of thing you do in pre-production, casting, wardrobe…

Once we get our actors, then we can start doing tests on things like how Hyde is going to look. Exactly what wardrobe is going to be. It's really putting together the pieces and really planning out our shoot. Scheduling it, storyboarding the scenes, so that when we get on the set we can have the best use of our time.

DM: And how long is the schedule for the shoot?

SZ: It's three weeks. It's extremely short, but we're also going to have a week of rehearsals. We will have two cameras for anything that resembles an action sequence, to pick up some time.

Having done a lot of television, I'm used to working quickly. But I also don't want to…well, obviously, a lot of this will be riding on the actor who plays Jekyll. He's in ninety percent of the scenes. That's probably an underestimation. So I've got to get the right person, somebody who's not just a fantastic actor but a solid citizen. That's really what it's going to take.

Okay, now give me a little time -- we'll have an interview with Mark Teague on the challenges of updating Hyde and on being an animator who's also bulletproof.

Further discussions with Scott Zakarin on the Making of Jekyll:





Derek McCaw

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