Was wißt ihr über den geplanten elfquest-Film? Wenig? Wir haben Richard und Wendy dazu und zu vielen anderen Themen gefragt in einem Interview, bei dem kein Auge trocken blieb. Die beiden sind wunderbare Menschen und verdammt lustig drauf. Man merkt auch, dass hier zwei Menschen zusammen arbeiten, die eine Linie fahren. Teilweise fühlte sich das Interview so an, als ob wir es mit einer Person zu tun hätten, die aus zwei Mündern sprach. Richards Mundwerk ist übrigens das frechere von den Beiden. :-))
Noch was: Eigentlich wollten wir das Interview auch noch übersetzen, aber dazu hat bei uns derzeit niemand Zeit. Wir sind schon froh, dass wir es endlich abgetippt haben. Wenn also einer von euch das mit der Übersetzung übernehmen will.:-)
ComicRadioShow.com: We're surprised that you're doing a movie, could you...
Wendy: You are surprised we're doing a movie?!?
Richard: What, you're surprised at is it's actually happening!
CRS: Well, yeah!
Richard: Well, THAT is a surprise! [lacht]
CRS: Can you tell us something about it?
Richard: You know we've had so many starts and it's been optioned so many times. The last time it was optioned it didn't go anywhere because the producer did not know how to handle animation. He's a very fine life action producer but he didn't know how to handle animation. When that option ran out we had some people that we've known for a long time waiting to say "Can we help you?"
Wendy: Wolfmill entertainment formed a partnership with Sceneries International. And this is how the movie is going to come to fruition as an animated film.
CRS: Are you doing the animation?
Wendy: [ironisch] Oh, sure, every frame! Piece o' cake
CRS: Why don't you make a real action movie?
Wendy: [ironisch] You mean: Hire Elves to play the parts?
Richard: Well, the characters are four feet tall [ungefähr 1,21 Meter - CRS] and, in fact, the first company to option the film, back in early 1980s, was thinking of doing exactly that.
Wendy: And we said: "How are you going to do this?" and they said: "Well, we'll hire children and make them up" and we said: "How are you going to make them ride wolfes?" and they said: "Oh, easy, we'll
get trained wolfes".
Richard: "Trained wolfes" is an oxymoron.
Wendy: [Zeigt eine Hand] This is a wolf [nimmt die andere Hand] This is a child riding a wolf [Die eine Hand "frisst" die andere auf] ARGHHHHHHHH [lacht]
CRS: [ironisch] Yeah, it would be very expensive.
Richard: That's right, because we'd keep having to replace the children and the insurance costs would be mighty high [lacht]
Wendy: There's a good saying: "You can train a wolf to do anything he wants"
CRS: So that's the reason you're doing animation.
Richard: You can do so much in animation, right on the paper, that in a life action film would require very expensive special effects, so there's an economy to be realised there
Wendy: More than that. In animation there is a passion, an emotion in the drawing that you cannot achieve any other way. When you're commited to making an animated film it's a huge commitment of body, heart, soul, it takes everything
CRS: Who's going to lend your characters their voices?
Wendy: Right now we're making dreams, we're dreaming very big like, why not Leonardo diCaprio for Cutter, he even looks like him, why not Michael J. Fox for Skywise, why not Susan Sarandon or Sharon Stone for Winnowile. Nowadays with actors like Mel Gibson or Sharon Stone doing voices it's "chic" to do voices for anymation. It didn't use to be, but it is now.
CRS: Do you have the budget for that?
Richard: The thing about voice acting is that there is a set rate. It doesn't matter if you are Leonardo DiCaprio or Joe Schmall off the street. It's not very expensive.
Wendy: Big actors like Mel Gibson will do this sort of job because it's fun. Because they love to do the job.
Richard: The money's not really there.
Wendy: We can ask anybody, they can either say no or yes. But we hope.
CRS: What is the reaction of the Fans?
Wendy: The reaction is like "WHEN?", "Is it done yet?"
Richard: That's one reaction, the other reaction of course is "Ok, you said it was gonna be 1981, 1985, 1988, 1990. We'll believe it when we see it" [lacht]
Wendy: It's always been our fault. The film has been optioned many times. Each time they say: "Here's a lot of money, now go away". In America, the studios want to own the whole property. But we could never go away. So the deal would only go so far. A lot of people think we've been very stupid, but we wanted to be able to live with what ended up on the screen, so we waited until we could find partners that would build a cooperation in love.
Even though I co-wrote the screenplay, the hardcore fans are going to complain every scene "That didn't happen that way! She wasn't there then!"
Richard: The fans want every single page, every single event, from page one to page five-thousand, the way it was in the book. And of course, in a movie that's perhaps eighty minutes you have to take a lot of material and condense it.
Wendy: It's actually surprising how much we did work in.
CRS: Eighty minutes? You're thinking BIG for an animated feature.
Wendy:76 to 80 is average now
Richard: Typical Disney is 70, 75
CRS: What do you think about the kind of fans you see here?
Wendy: Elfquest has re-invented itself over 23 years. It never goes away and there is alqways a new generation of fans. And despite of what we say we truly love them, because they are so smart and so observant of what our intentions are.
CRS: Are there diffenrences between american and european fans?
Wendy: [lacht und lacht und lacht]
Richard: American fans will tell you their opinion. Like: "Well, you know, I thought this, and this is how I felt about that" and so on and so forth. European fans will tell you their opinion six times and each time it's a little more agressive. "What do you think that you where doing! It's not supposed to be like that!"
Wendy: "Are you CRAZY?!"
Richard: Very vocal.
CRS: Interesting, do they want to hit you?
Richard: Well, you open up the email and...
Wendy: They hit you
Richard: They hit you with words. Some of them do.
CRS: What do you do against that? Do you let the fans influence you?
Wendy: You see, Richard, poor fellow, mostly deals with that. I stay away from the fan input because if you engage in too much back and forth it destroys your creativity. You can't think.
Richard: People ask us all the time: "When the fans write and express an opinion or they express an idea, do you take anything of that and put it into elfquest?". And the answer is always no. For two reasons. One: it's our story, and two: we don't want to get involved in any possible legal baloney like "You took my idea and you didn't give me credit or you didn't give me money". It terms of the response it comes in, we read it, we note it. If it's really rude we then ignore it, but if it is thoughtful or if it asks a question we try to respond.
Wendy: Actually, mostly the type of interaction we have with the fans is they say "Thank you, I have read your stuff for many years, my daughter reads it now". It's a family, generational kind of thing. We get overwhelmed with gratitude when people tell us how it has affected their lifes. It's a very good relationship.
Richard: An amazing thing happened, I think it drove the point home for us: We were doing an autographing session. This was a few years ago. We were sitting at a table and in walked a young couple, perhaps 23, 24 years old, and they had with them a small baby, maybe 1 or 2 years old. They said: We began to read elfquest when we were teenagers, and now that we have grown up some and we have a child we are going to read elfquest to her when she grows up. So it's generational, but at that moment I think we felt very old.
CRS: They didn't call the baby "Cutter" or something like that?
Richard: No. Actually people have named their children after some of the characters
Wendy: We have many "Leetas", one "Amber" and there's a man named "Cutter", who's native american. He always comes visit us at the comic convention. He's, erm, very handsome.
Richard: We're just waiting to see when the child grows up and learns that his or her name came from a comic book, what he's gonna do to his parents. Is he gonna thank them or is he going to go after them?
Wendy: What about the tatoos?
Richard: Oh my god, the tatoos. We don't tatoo our fans, but we get many fotos from people who...
Wendy: Last time in Baltimore a boy comes to us: spike hair, pierced everywhere... He pulls down his pants! [lacht] He's got "Cutter" on his butt! And then he wants me to autograph his butt! And I did!
Timo Würz, langjähriger Freund von uns UND den Pinis, kommt ins Zimmer
Wendy: Good time for you to come in. You should see what Richard has been asked to autograph!
Richard: We've signed every article of clothing that is possible to put a signature on to, foreheads, arms, legs, butts.
Wendy: One time I autographed a tatoo and the girl went back and got the autograph taooed.
Richard: Because the ink would wash up, now it's a tattoed signature.
Wendy: That's fans!
Richard: We get photographs... They take our logo, they take the characters, they paint the characters onto their cars, onto their motorcycles. Now this is something we have to find out because on monday we got to Munich... Someone sent a photograph of an amusement park in Munich where there's "Cutter". I don't know if it's still there because this was many, many years ago.
On the one side of course we are flattered, on the other side we don't want people to think that it's free, so we have to be careful.
CRS: How about the Internet?
Richard: I spend perhaps one third of all of my time surfing the web, chasing down sites that are using the artwork without the copyright note. We don't go after them saying "You owe us money!" but we like people to observe the copyright. We did a search, and there are something like 2.000 elfquest websites.
CRS: So it's ok for you if the fans do something like that.
Wendy: The erotic elfquest art is the most interesting. They steal the head from the panels and then put them on very exaggerated erotic poses, doing things the elves would never do. [lacht]
Richard: It's very tricky to try to do the exactly right thing with respect of that
CRS: What would be the right thing in your opinion?
Wendy: That's a good question, isn't it?
Richard: In cases like that I have to say this is not the spirit of elfquest. She draws sexy art. Eroticism and sexyness is fine, but when you're just copying it, and turning it from erotic to pornografic, then I have to go there and say "No, you can't do this" becuase not only is it illegal because of copyright...
Wendy: It's also ugly!
Richard: Well yeah, in a, you know, astetic way...
Wendy: Some time ago there were some women making elfquest t-shirts, and Richard says "No, you can't do that, you don't have the rights!" and they argued with him!
Richard: People do not understand the copyright law, and that's why they do those things.
CRS: Have you changed the message of elfquest through the years?
Wendy: No, not at all. Because the way we present our characters, we do that for a reason because the kind of story we want to tell is something that will take the people on a journey. So they are not the same. They start the story one way and at the end of the journey they're changed inside their hearts. So we keep the elves in the same spirit always. We always want to take our readers on a journey that will make them grow. Some people like to draw art that makes you feel dark and angry, very nihilistic... Hi, Timo! [lacht] ...and that has its place. The dark side has it's place and it can be very attractive sometimes as a balance, but my purpose is the light, my purpose is to raise people.
CRS: Could you describe how you changed over the years. Do you change or learn with the story?
Wendy: No question: Yes.
Richard: The elfquest that you read from 1978 and 1980 is not the same that you read today, because we have grown over those 20 years. We have changed during this 20 years. How we feel has changed. What we do has changed. But it's still the truth disguised in fantasy.
Wendy: The most recent story we've done is called wolfrider, and it is the story of "Cutter" our heroes father, and how he almost destroyed the tribe. What it is a metapher about is gangwar, a feud, between humans and elves, and both sides are to blame. What we wanted to show is the futility and the stupidity of feuding without really understanding the other side, and how much ist costs both sides. That is a very dark kind of story for us to tell. So in a way we've gone a little bit darker in the more recent years. You have to decent into the dark and then come back again.
CRS: Thank you very much for the interview.
Das Interview führte Markus Gruber (mit Einwürfen von Aleks) während des Comic Salons Erlangen 2000. Fotos und Transkript von Aleks.