With Enormous now online (watch it here), I recently landed an exclusive interview with producer Adrian Askarieh. He talked about how he discovered the graphic novel by Tim Daniel and artist Mehdi Cheggour, how Machinima got involved, shooting in Los Angeles, avoiding “web series” casting, his goal for the series, the status of the Deus Ex movie adaptation, and more.
For those unfamiliar with Enormous, the series takes place in a world overrun with gigantic monsters. Ceren Lee stars as a woman who works for the United Nation’s Search and Rescue division looking for abandoned children. The short also stars Erica Gimpel, Steve Brand, Garret Coffey, Billy Miller, Dallas Liu, Joe Swamberg, Nathan Moore, Todd Farmer, Simon Barret, and Charles Melton. Hit the jump for the interview.
ADRIAN ASKARIEH: I found the graphic novel at Comic-Con two years ago. Tim Daniel ‘s ideas and concept, along with Mehdi Gheggour’s incredible art immediately drew me to it. It was clear to me from the outset that the book had a long form series application; whether as a TV series or a digital series was something which was not fully clear to me at the time, but I believe that I promised Tim on the spot that I would get it made within two years.
How did Machinima enter the picture?
ASKARIEH: I had read this article about how movies were losing young males ages 16-34 to video games and the online world. Machinima was front and center in that article as a hub for this “lost boys” audience, as they were called in the article. I researched Machinima further and was blown away by the extent of their audience reach online. I approached them about doing Enormous, which I knew was a bit out of their wheel-house given their proclivity to do video game-based content. But they embraced the idea and got behind us 100 percent.
Did you shoot it here in LA?
ASKARIEH: Yes, we shot for three days in LA. That was one of the absolute pleasures about the shoot. Our set was on the edge of downtown LA. As many of my colleagues in the business can tell you , that is a luxury we don’t often have anymore. I wish we could shoot more stuff in LA. Hopefully that will change in the future.
How did you go about casting the short?
ASKARIEH: One of the promises I made to myself as well as our director, BenDavid [Grabinski], and my producing partner, Josh Wexler, was that we were never going to to do “web series casting” on this. Most web series I see tend to cast down. We wanted to cast up and use good actors who would fit right in, be a feature film or a television show. I think we got a great cast. Ceren Lee, our lead, is going to be a star. But everyone from Billy Miller to Erica Gimple, and Stephen Brand, who has done tons of features, really elevates the piece. This was our intent with the way in which we approached the casting process for Enormous.
ASKARIEH: We want to continue telling our story. We want our core group of characters to continue on their journey. We have big plans for where our story leads and where these characters go and how they evolve. We see the world of Enormous as an expanding one and one which we want to explore in a variety of mediums.
You are currently in Berlin on the shoot for Agent 47. You are also involved with some other very high-profile video game-to-film adaptations such as Deus Ex. Can you update us on their status?
ASKARIEH: Well, as you indicated, we are currently shooting Agent 47 here in Berlin. It’s too early for me to really talk about it but things are going very well. We have a great team here, a top notch cast, and a terrific director. As for Deus Ex, we are close to taking a big step forward with that one and will likely shoot it later this year. It’s amazing how many people express their excitement to me about the Deus Ex movie. This is true both in terms of video game fans and casual movie-goers alike.