Superhero Shorts: Superseven
Welcome to another edition of Superhero Shorts where I take a look at a superhero themed short film and have a brief talk with one of the creators. Today I’m talking with Scott Rhodes and his superhero spy webseries called Superseven. This isn’t your typical James Bond type spy, and it also borrows heavily from some classic B movie spy comedies. As always, you can watch it below, or you can visit their YouTube Channel or their official website.
I’m a big fan of these types of police/spy comedies along the lines of Austin Powers, Naked Gun, and Condorman. While this does play the comedy much more low key than some of those other examples I mentioned, though it’s often just as funny. The acting is over the top which matches the B-movie feel for it and I think adds to the enjoyment value. Each episode runs between 10 and 15 minutes so they are nice and quick with a good mix of well done action sequences. Superseven himself is a nice character with an air of confidence and matter of fact-ness that reminds me of the old Batman TV show, though without quite so much campiness. One character I didn’t quite get a handle on during the handful of episodes I watched was Sparky. She reminds me a bit of the kid Spritle from Speed Racer albeit without the monkey sidekick. She has the same level of enthusiasm, although I never actually saw her get into the action. I also still am not quite sure whether T.H.E.Y. or T.H.E.M. is the villain group, though I almost got the sense that that was the joke. Aside from those couple minor issues, it’s a fun webseries and worth a look, especially if you’re a fan of classic spy action. But enough from me, let’s hear what the producer Scott Rhodes has to say.
Bubbawheat: Superseven is obviously influenced by many of the old spy series and movies, but very few, if any of those shows feature their super spy as a costumed superhero, how was the decision made to give Superseven a costume and mask instead of, say a tuxedo?
SR: In the 60’s, there was a sub-genre of spy movies featuring masked/costumed spies. Mexican wrestlers like el Santo and Blue Demon, Euro heroes like Superargo, Fantomas, Diabolik, Argoman, Kilink and the 3 Fantastic Supermen. I was always a fan of these movies. They were a big influence and fit the absurd silliness and fun we were going for. S7 is a mix of many of these characters, a cross between Superargo, William Shatner and Adam West! Jerry Kokich is perfect as “Superseven”, because he knows the genre and is a fan geek at heart. Olivia Dunkley plays our beautiful and lethal loose cannon (Think Emma Peel if she were a mercenary and killed her enemies at the drop of a hat!). Anne Leighton is a gifted dramatic actress, who shines in her first comedic role as “Sparky” and Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez brings all of her martial arts and stunt experience to the table as the villainess, “Thunderpussy”
BW: I agree that Kokich is fantastic in every scene he’s in. You also incorporate a lot of footage from old B-movies, what is it about these movies that fit in with Superseven?
SR: Superseven is a homage to the 1960’s spy film and TV genre and the stock footage I “borrow” from these public domain films are from that era, so they are a perfect fit. I learned a lot about cutting with stock footage by watching so many Irwin Allen series, who used it in all of his shows, especially “Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea” and “Time Tunnel”. It gives our no budget series some scope and production value! Sometimes the challenge is finding good quality, wide screen prints of these old spy flicks. I have a collection of over 500 spy films and shows from around the world.
BW: Wow, that’s a pretty impressive collection. You’re also currently in the process of editing the first season into a feature length movie, can you talk about that process?
SR: We took 10 episodes from season 1 and cut them together into a 90 minute feature called “They Call Me Superseven”. Much like when “The Man From UNCLE” edited their 2 parters together and released them as features. I cut it with chapters, like the old Republic serials. We plan on shopping it around to distributors for a dvd release and if it goes well, we have enough material for 2 more.
Our 5 seasons have taken us 2 years to shoot. It started out as ONE short and then we did another and it became a web series! Here we are, 33 episodes later! We have fun, a minimal work schedule and offer people a chance to do good work, often playing against their usual types. We have had a few Oscar and Emmy winners work on the show and our original music comes from Switzerland and Australia! Often times, fans of the show want to pitch in and contribute! We are a truly an international production!
BW: You’re currently in your fifth season of Superseven, what has kept it going for this long, and where else do you see Superseven in the future?
SR: Our future plans for Superseven. I would love to see it as a half hour comedy on TV, I would like for our features to get picked up and released on DVD and would love to get S7 off the ground as an original feature with a budget. We have done well at film festivals, winning some awards and getting some recognition. I’d love to do a series so I could bring in Spy actors like Robert Vaughan and George Lazenby to do guest spots! We currently have a 5 DVD set for sale on our website http://www.super7evenspy.com
BW: What has been the most challenging aspect of working on Superseven?
SR: The most challenging aspects of shooting S7 are finding and securing suitable locations and scheduling episodes and work days to accommodate our cast of working actors and stunt people and our tech people. They are all industry pros. Everyone has contributed so much and have done so much good work on this series! On a personal note, the biggest challenge for me is writing, producing, editing, directing and stunt coordinating all these episodes from my wheelchair, walker and electric scooter (I suffered an injury related stroke in 2007)
BW: What’s your favorite superhero movie?
SR: My favorite superhero movie of all time is “Superman, The Movie”.
That is a classic and will forever be hard to top for many people. Thank you again for your time and I wish you luck with all things Superseven in the future. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.