Did you know Dragon*Con has a film festival every year? Well if you followed our coverage from last year and saw this interview and exclusive clip from Director Matt Campagna’s short film D.N.E.: Do Not Erase you did.
Campagna’s new short film Man of Steel Song made it in again this year. You don’t have to wait for it’s premiere during the superheroes-supervillians block of the festival Saturday at 11:30am. We’re posting it right here:
I got a chance to talk to Campagna and his co-producer/Wonder Woman Melissa D’Agostino about the video, the reaction, and Man of Steel itself.
BILL: What motivated the two of you to make the video?
MATT: We actually came up with the idea for Man of Steel Song one night around Christmas 2012 when we were chatting about how disappointing DC movies tend to be — Green Lantern specifically — and how unfortunate it is that DC hasn’t been able to enjoy franchise longevity & continuity the way Marvel has with what’ll be 10 Avenger-verse films by the time Age of Ultron happens. Not even Nolan’s Batman got past three movies. We’re both fans of the Crash Test Dummies and “Superman’s Song”, and Melissa happened to ad-lib the lyric “Man of Steel better make lots of money” in tune with the song, and we both busted up laughing.
BILL: How did you end up liking Man of Steel?
MELISSA: I’m a Smallville girl. Sure, the show is pretty spotty, and went on way too long, but the essential Superman elements are all there: Clark’s humanity comes from his human parents and he represents the hope of what we could be as a human race. So I really enjoyed the first act of Man of Steel, and then it all got a little too destructive for me. And long. Also: I get it, lens flares are cool. Can we move on?
MATT: In my opinion, there’s no hero more boring than Superman; he’s got every power, you can’t hurt him, you can’t out run him, you can’t hide from him… there’s nothing physical that can really touch him. The only thing that can make Superman interesting is his villain. Now Lex Luthor? THAT is an interesting character: a human who would be one of the greatest men alive were it not for his focus on his great alien nemesis. But in Man of Steel, they picked an a villain even more boring than Superman is. And then two scary, boring aliens just demolished Metropolis together. And some part of India, I suppose. Now, I like watching a Super-punch as much as the next guy, but an hour of it straight is just not my idea of a good movie at all. But hey, at least it made lots of money! And it sounds like in the sequel Superman will face off with his most interesting nemesis ever: Batman.
BILL: Who did the costumes? They rival anything you see on the floor at Dragon Con. Loved them, especially the Eartha Kitt Catwoman.
MATT: Together the two of us made/assembled/bought the costumes for nearly all the characters. We made the Wonder Woman costume from roofing metal and lingerie because, as sexy as Diana is, she also needs to be wearing armour, not a swimsuit: part Straczynski, part New 52. The Flash was a custom job for a golden age look so we could go easy on the spandex… but Aquaman and Hawkgirl weren’t so lucky: that was American Apparel tights all the way. Lantern and Bats were customized store-bought kits, but Cyborg and Robin were made from scratch. And once Nicole Stamp decided to do an Eartha Kitt homage during her vocal recording of Catwoman, she was on a mission to nail the look perfectly; that one was all her!
BILL: One of the main arguments you’ve made in the video is that DC movies haven’t been as successful because they aren’t as funny as the Marvel movies. Why do you think humor is a necessary element to a good superhero film?
MATT: That’s a really tricky balance. Too far into the campy, goofy kids-only world and you’re burying the Batman franchise Joel Schumacher style. But too far into a ‘real’ world and you’ve made a joyless Dark Knight Rises. Iron Man has really become the primer for funny but not goofy, with stakes that aren’t just 2-hours of emo/cranky/depression.
BILL: You mention several DC movies that had a lot of humor (Superman III, Batman & Robin) and slam them as mistakes. How much humor is too much humor? What is the right kind of humor for a superhero movie?
MATT:We really love when a Superhero movie fires on all cylinders: tension, character, plot and respect for the source material. But above all, a Comic book film is most satisfying when you walk out of the theatre after feeling like you had a great time. Now, not all films are aiming for ‘satisfying’, but for a blockbuster, that’s nearly always the goal. It’s all in the balance, and that is struck as much at the script stage as it is on set with the actors, as much as it is in the editing suite. Avengers managed to balance tension, character, plot and respect for the source material in an absolutely admirable way. But that’s a very Whedonesque thing; Joss wrote it and directed it, and there’s a guy whose work is very well steeped in comic books.
I completely agree with you on Dark Knight Rises, and Iron Man 3 ended up being pretty disappointing to me too. Why do you think studios have such a hard time making a good third film for these flicks?
BILL: I think they try and do too much sometimes for sure. How has the response been to the music video?
MATT: Viewers have loved the way we call bullshit on great directors like Bryan Singer, Joel Schumacher and Chris Nolan for their missteps, but still give them their due credit when they’ve done awesome work. Of course, there are die-hard Nolanites that think he can do no wrong, but we’ve had just enough negative feedback on our opinions to keep the comments alive and well!
BILL: You were in the festival last year as well. How did you like it and are you gearing up for a new short to enter next year?
MATT: We actually JUST came up with a very Dragon Conesque short film idea based on a new character Melissa has written and performed in a live solo show. Her name is HeroGirl, and she’s not very satisfied with the way female superheroes have been swept under the rug by Hollywood. It’s embarrassing that Flash and GL are higher priorities to WB than Wonder Woman. Keep an eye out for HeroGirl; she’s the champion of the under-served 51% of the population that would love to see THEIR gender as the main character.
You can find more videos from Matt & Melissa at Your Geek News. You can follow Melissa at her blog www.MelissaDAgostino.net and Matt at his personal site www.MattCampagna.com. Man of Steel Song plays at 11:30AM Saturday as part of the Dragon Con International Film Festival.