Myriad Pictures recently announced that they are going to take THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST, an upcoming vampire comic, to the big screen. We caught up with Bob Heske, who is also the creator of a self-published horror anthology, COLD BLOODED CHILLERS, to talk about THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST in both comic and film.
The Big Bad Wolf:
Can you give our readers a synopsis of The Night Projectionist? Who are the main characters?
Bob Heske: The short pitch: "30 Days of Night" meets "Scream". The protagonist, Dragos, is the night projectionist at a condemned single-screen theater who holds his audience captive on Halloween eve during an all-night Draculathon. Unbeknownst to the elderly theater owners and unsuspecting audience, the projectionist is a bonafide vampire whose coven is descending upon this sleepy New England town with a bloody vengeance.
The Big Bad Wolf:
Can you tell us a little about the main vampire, Dragos?
Bob Heske: He's more like a Marvel anti-hero -- with super human powers and human weaknesses. You're afraid of him and feel for him at the same time. Dragos became a vampire in the 1700s when he tried to warn a family member accused of being a revenant that the Priest and townspeople are coming to burn her to the stake. He leaves with his not-so-trusty sidekick Pyro under the cloak of night to warn the poor girl who has just lost her father to a mysterious plague. Bad luck! The superstitious priest and townsfolk were right -- the girl really is a revenant and the dead step dad (whom we learn later are related to Dragos) has come back from the grave. And he's ready to welcome Dragos to the coven!
The Big Bad Wolf: Are the vampires in this tale bloodthirsty and savage like in 30 Days of Night and Impaler, or are they the more romanticized types?
Bob Heske: Nope, no romanticized, human-loving vampires a la "Twilight" in this vampire story. These vamps are a new breed of vampire (Theodore Burak, the "creator" of the vampire coven was an alchemist as a human who was searching for the secret of Eternal life - boy, did he ever find it!). They are more blood-thirsty, malevolent, and harder to kill. Not only do they suck the blood from their victims, they also implant a hideous parasite that eats away the victims' internal organs and literally creates a cocoon from their own viscera. Dragos becomes the Authoritat - "the enforcer" - for the coven who is the ultimate badass who maims and murders humans until he comes across a victim whose blood triggers painful memories from his human past. This event causes Dragos to leave the coven and hideaway until the inevitable time when Burak and his coven find Dragos' scent and come to reclaim him -- making him pay a horrible penance for betraying the coven.
The Big Bad Wolf: In the making of The Night Projectionist feature, artist Diego Yapura really showed off what he can do. What were your initial thoughts when you saw your script come to life with Diegoís artwork?
His inks were so good the story literally could have been done in black and white. Many reviewers have compared his style to Tom Mandrake. He really does a great job following the descriptions I provide, and his style is a mix of reality and surreal. The Night Projectionist - with its two storylines; one in the 1700s and the other in the present - could be butchered in the wrong hands. But Diego captured both worlds extremely well. He truly is an emerging talent who, I hope, will get his due recognition with the completion of this series.
The Big Bad Wolf: The Night Projectionist is scheduled to be a 4-issue limited series. Would you be up for doing a sequel?
Bob Heske: Hell yes!!
Big Bad Wolf: When is the release date? How much is the book?
Bob Heske: Issue one hits comic shops and book stores on February 25, 2009. The cost is $3.99 per book. Issues 2, 3 and 4 will be released bi-monthly after issue one comes out.
The Big Bad Wolf: Besides you and Diego Yapura, who is the rest of creative team on the book?
Bob Heske: There are several people behind the scenes. But I'd like to recognize three key contributors. First, Alex Leung - the principal owner of Studio 407, head honcho, and numero uno visionary - who first read the treatment I gave him and saw the potential in it. Second, Chad Jones who is Creative Director and Editor in Chief at Studio 407. I didn't have much background in comic writing (I was more of a screenwriter) when I approached Studio 407 with this idea. Chad has mentored me to make the leap from writing for the screen to writing for the comic page. He's been great and has provided great value to the story from Day One. Finally, a gent I don't know but who has done the colors for the series -- Jorge Blanco. Man, this guy has talent. He's taken Diego's art and added even a higher dimension of quality and depth to it.
Bob Heske: No real juice to share here. Alex Leung let me know that there were discussions with Myriad to option the series. I knew this about a week before the Variety announcement on 1/1/09. I leave the movie distribution up to Studio 407, so I have no idea about casting and production. Suffice it to say the story is in development and will likely hit production late 2009 or early 2010.
The Big Bad Wolf: Let's talk about The Night Projectionist movie a bit. Where were you and what was your reaction when you got the news that Myriad Pictures was going to bring The Night Projectionist to the big screen? Do you have any idea when casting and production is going to begin on the film?
The Big Bad Wolf: Where can our readers find out more about The Night Projectionist?
Bob Heske: A good place to start is the Studio 407 website at www.studio-407.com. I'll also be posting reviews and updates on my screenwriting website at www.bobheske.com and on my self-published horror comic site -- www.coldbloodedchillers.com.
The Big Bad Wolf: In closing, what would you like to say to our readers about The Night Projectionist?
Bob Heske: People seem to be pumped by the premise. They're tired of comedic and melo-dramatic vampire stories. They want a story with teeth, not heart. I think people will really react positively to the theater setting. And it's a bit ironic since the movies are where most of us were introduced to vampires. I think they'll also react well to the new twist on the standard vampire myth and, quite frankly, be surprised by some of the people who get killed off. As co-creator of NP, marketing this thing should be fun - I've connected with several comic stores and horror sites. I've already been approached by a web comic creator who wants to promote the release by weaving the story into his daily strip. There will be other unique marketing things happening too. So stay tuned. Oh, and since this is an indie comic, we do need your help. Please call your local comic shop or bookstore and ask them to pick up a few copies. The Diamond Previews oder # is DEC084241.
The Big Bad Wolf: Thank
you for your time, Bob. Best of luck with The Night Projectionist and Cold Blooded Chillers!
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