Kevin Mellon interview about Gearhead movie

Carlo Comicus

Feb 1, 2007
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Did you and your colleague, Dennis Hopeless, speak with the director Kinney?

I've spoken with him in emails, and Dennis has had several phone conversations and had a lengthy dinner meeting with him at this year's San Diego Comic Convention. We stay in touch with him and the producer, Nick. They've been great about keeping us "in the loop" with how things are going.

Did he explain his project?

Yeah, he's done a good job of detailing how he wants to handle the comic to film adaptation. He seems to understand the spirit of what the book is about, and wants to translate that to film as well as he can within the limits of being a film.

If yes, what are your sensations about it?

I'm good with it. It's odd to have someone else work on something of yours and see things differently than you do. Not in a bad way, but in a way that will hopefully make the film a better movie than just a straight adaptation from the comic book. I think that their intentions are good, and that they will make the best film they can. Which is good.

Can you describe to us what was the process that turned Gearhead into a film like?

Ha. Slow and Long. We were approached by our publisher, Arcana Comics, that there was interest from a studio in making the film, and then it was a lot of "sit and wait" while they sorted things out with the contracts. Since there's still a bit of time before they make the film, I haven't really seen much go on other than the script being written and them looking for a decent enough budget to get the film made properly. They have expressed interest in me and Dennis being a small part of the actual process once things get closer to being filmed. For right now, we're just waiting for them to start.

How are you involved in the cinematographic adaptation? Have you got a supervising role?

I'm really not involved. I know they have expressed interest in me possibly doing character designs and some storyboards, but other than expressing interest, Dennis and I aren't really that involved. I do know that we will get some sort of "created by" credit, and possibly a "producing" credit. It's been awhile since I looked at the contract, so I can't remember exactly.

Is there a complete script yet, or are they still working on it?

There is a complete script.

If yes, have you read it? Can you tell us anything?

I haven't read the actual script, I read what is called a "beat sheet" which is used as a rough outline of what will happen in the script/movie. I really can't talk about it much since it was early in the screen-writing process and my understanding is that some things changed based on our notes and the producer's notes. Last I knew they were on a 2nd draft of the script. I'm not sure if the american WGA strike is affecting that work, since the screenwriter/director is Canadian.

What is the potential that a comic like Gearhed has on the big screen, as for themes it faces?

Wow. Good question. Well, the themes of the book are very much ones of not caring about the world around you and then finding yourself being forced to care and to make changes for better or for worse. The book is really Shelby's journey into becoming an adult who makes big choices in spite of herself and (she hopes) for the better of the world around her. From what I know of their intentions with the movie adaptation, is that they will play on those themes but expand them a bit to include government and to a lesser degree some environmental issues. For me, personally, the book is one person's journey into adulthood and to a certain degree, womanhood. Taking responsibility is a big part of the book for all of the characters, good and bad. That's one thing I hope gets across on the big screen, if nothing else. That and women kick ass.

What do you feel knowing that your drawings will became alive on the big screen?

Still adjusting to that one. I don't think it will hit me until I actually see it on screen. It's still not really "real" to me, since the movie hasn't been made yet. But I fully expect to piss my pants in excitement.

Some weeks ago, director and writer Cory Kinney said that, for the role of Shelby, he was thinking about actresses like Evan Rachel Wood, Amber Tamblyn and Jessica Alba. What do you think about it and what actress would you choose?

I think that Evan Rachel Wood is perfect for the role. Especially at the age and place she is now with her career. But only time and money will tell on that one. I loosely based Shelby on a mix between Susan Sarandon's daughter Eva Amurri and Keira Knightley. (I think that Keira would do a fantastic job as Shelby, by the way). I know that as a movie studio you have to pick the person that's going to do the job well and sell as many tickets as possible. So while I understand thinking about someone like Jessica Alba, I think that there are actresses out there with a bit more depth to them that could really nail not only the action portions of Gearhead, but the character moments as well.

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