Superhero Shorts: Spawn: The Recall
Welcome to another edition of Superhero Shorts where I take a look at a superhero themed short film and as a few questions of its creator. This time around I’m talking with Michael Paris about his short film set in the Spawn universe with an original character as well as an appearance by Spawn himself. It’s a film that was two years in the making due to all the visual effects that Paris did all on his own. As usual, you can watch it below or you can check it out at the official website, and you can also check out Michael Paris’s earlier work at his own website.
Obviously the biggest thing to take away from this film is the fact that it looks absolutely gorgeous. From the blood clouding through the fluorescent lights to Spawn’s flowing cape, it’s crazy to think that these were all done by a single person on his own computer. While the actress is a little hard to understand due to her thick French accent, she does still do a great job with her performance. The story itself is a little on the sparse side, instead the short relies on its intense visuals to help sell the mood. And in that respect, I think it works very well. I don’t know a lot about the Spawn universe, but there was enough here that I could follow what it was going for. It’s a great short and one that I was excited to talk about and share. But enough from me, let’s hear from the writer, director, and visual effects artist himself Michael Paris.
Bubbawheat: Can you tell me a little bit about your background with Spawn and why you decided to make this as a fan film?
Michael Paris: Well I started to read Spawn quite early. Spawn isn’t as famous in France as he is in the US so it wasnt always easy to find! Anyway, while we were catching up with some relatives, I asked them if we could make a movie in the supermarket they were working in at that time. The manager agreed and from there it all went pretty fast!
At first I knew I wanted to do something evil-ish inside the supermarket. The idea of the “circus”, one that lures a child in, came first. From there I quickly made the connection to Spawn and it became obvious to me that I wanted to put him in the story. I wondered for maybe 2 minutes if I could handle the challenge of creating Spawn onscreen but I just wanted to do it. This is Spawn. That was a pretty good challenge.
BW: What’s your opinion of the Hollywood Spawn film with Michael Jai White? I remember it for being the worst CGI satan ever made.
MP: The Hollywood movie was pretty fun at that time but that just wasn’t the vision I have of Spawn. For me he’s lurking in the shadows more, with his glowing green eyes, wrapped in his cape. I wasn’t really into Spawn using guns either. I see him more like a supernatural force of the nature. In The Recall, we don’t see Spawn walking or moving. He’s more of an iconic picture, a glorious ghost.
BW: How was the decision made to make the Recall as an English language short? Did you ever consider filming it in French?
MP: I wanted the movie to be seen by anyone and making it in English opens it to everybody. As a non-English person, I know that we are already used to reading subtitles. And, Al Simmons is an american soldier -He needed to be dubbed by an american actor. The Witch, as an unknown character (even if some people have an idea about who she is), doesn’t have any nationality so it didn’t bother me if she had an accent. The location of the supermarket itself isn’t supposed to be anyplace specific either.
BW: I am often astonished at some of the work that can be done by a single person when given the drive and the time to pull it off, whether it’s animation or special effects. What was the most difficult part of working on this short film for two years?
MP: Well I guess the most difficult part was to stay motivated, not knowing what this will bring to the audience. Also, working and rendering almost everything on the same computer was very slow and depressing. I think in the end, the color grading, the polishing, etc. was also pretty hard since you know there is almost nothing left to add, but it’s slow and you have to render again, and again… But then it is done and on YouTube. Its been a week now and I still cant believe that the movie is done.
BW: Can you tell us anything that you are working on next?
MP: For now, I’m working on several projects. Some original, some book adaptations, comics, even video games! Yes, I am not afraid.
BW: And finally, what is your favorite superhero movie?
MP: That’s a tough one. I have many of them. Blade was great. Hellboy 2 great. Batman returns, X-Men, Constantine, Dark Knight, Guardians..I can’t name one!
I know! It’s so tough nowadays as there are so many great superhero movies out there. Just 15 years ago it was just a choice between Superman and Batman, and now there’s a world of great superhero movies to choose from. Thanks again for taking the time to talk with me and I look forward to seeing what you end up working on in the future. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.