DC Comics News shares this exclusive with our DC Fans on the upcoming fan film, Nightwing “Prodigal”. Star of the film, Brady Roberts who plays Nightwing takes us on a deep adventure into his character, background, whats to come in the film, and much more. In the lead up to the film’s release (April 2014) DC Comics News will be publicising an exclusive interview with each of the main cast members and their corresponding characters.
The trailer is up on YouTube and is almost at 180,000 hits. You can watch it here.
Enjoy our one on one with Brady Roberts.
1. Brady, Thanks for making time to talk to DC Comics News. Can you give us a bio on yourself?
Really appreciate you guys having me on for an interview, thank you. I’ve been acting since I was 5 years old, doing theatre, before crossing over into the world of professional wrestling in my later teen years, and then back into acting and have since worked in film, television, commercials, and modelling. I definitely feel like I was born to be a performer I’ve never wanted to do anything other than this. When I was a kid, I put on one man shows for the other kids on my street. In elementary school, I handed out scripts I wrote to my classmates and made them memorize them. I attended theatre classes outside of school and did drama and musical theatre through school, including a starring role in my high school production of Grease. Hopefully no video of this exists.
When I was 15, I started training to become a professional wrestler (WWE style), and in the last 10 years have been blessed to perform through Canada, USA, Mexico, Japan, and worked with WWE on several occasions. Every kid dreams of being a rock star and I’ve got to touch that, travelling for years doing shows in front of hundreds or thousands of screaming fans, signing autographs, so I really got to live out a lot of childhood dreams working in that industry.
In my early 20s, I started pursuing film and television more over wrestling, and have had opportunities to work on some amazing projects with some really talented people. I starred in the feature film After the Storm, the television series World of Hurt with Rowdy Roddy Piper, the comedy web series TheGYM, and countless other projects. I make my own projects as well, under my film banner Rebel Lion Pictures. What I really want to do is start to talk about important issues through film Fukushima, Monsanto, Edward Snowden, things that aren’t getting enough coverage in the mainstream media, and tell stories that relate to what’s happening in the world right now.
2. How did you get into film and in particular film relating to the DC World?
I’m a HUGE DC Comics nerd. I had worked with JD Buzz (director of original trailer, writer and VFX of series) on several occasions and think he is really great at everything he does. I wanted to shoot a short film or trailer that could showcase me, and do something that would be seen by a lot of people to help get me out there as an actor. We originally discussed doing a fan trailer for “Y: The Last Man”, which is one of my favourite books of all time, with me as Yorick, and doing a CGI monkey Ampersand. We were starting to seriously discuss how we were going to shoot this thing when an awesome Y fan trailer debuted online, so we switched gears.
This is when we decided to make Nightwing: Prodigal Son, which was our original trailer. We shot that in Calgary, Alberta in VERY cold weather (-35 degrees celsius, and I was outside in the costume at times I had frostbite on my toes, it was awful). JD directed that, with Chase Axton and Kris Wedgwood shooting it. He did the visual effects as well.
We launched the trailer in early 2013, and it gained a huge following online. We were accepted into multiple film festivals, including the Machinima International Film Festival. I believe the trailer has over 230,000 hits online now (between our version and the one on the Machinima page). I had no clue the trailer would blow up the way it did I just really love Nightwing and wanted to make a trailer based on him to show people he could carry a film or a series. Thank you to all the fans, and to everyone who helped spread the word.
From there, I didn’t originally plan on making a series, even after being bombarded for months with emails everyday from people asking when the series would come out. I wanted to focus on other stuff and leave the trailer as it was- UNTIL I was told a story about a couple of little boys at a comic book shop talking about the trailer, and how excited they were for the series. It was at that point I knew I needed to make the show. Wasn’t going to let the kids down. So I went into full on production mode and wrangled a brand new crew, as I had moved to Vancouver, BC.
Our director is Kyle James-Patrick, who had such an amazing vision for this show. He brought on our Director of Photography Bruce Borland, who has many years of experience and has worked on some major projects he is a genius behind the camera. JD Buzz is back as a co-writer with me, and doing our VFX among other things. Our lead makeup artist was Lindsay McMillan, who also designed some of the beautiful props for the show. Brian Milne was our lead costume designer and did an awesome job. The talent pool here is unmatched, everyone we had on this project has experience working in film and television.
I really think we are about to set the bar on what a “fan series” could and should be. I don’t mean that as a shot to any other fan series out there, I respect anyone that puts the time and effort into making fan series for no profit, but the vast majority of them that I have seen are not high quality. The high quality ones are generally short- we are doing over 40 minutes in total here.
3. A year ago you filmed, “Nightwing: Prodigal Son” which established over 170,000 views. Its an achievement worth being proud of. Take us through how you connected with the people who helped produce & star in the film, and what led to making this short film?
I guess I kind of answered this in the last question! Whoops!
4. What is the connection you established with the character of Nightwing, and what inspired you to make the film?
I felt very connected to Dick Grayson- I grew up in the wrestling business, which is essentially the circus, where Dick grew up. He often covers up how he’s really feeling with jokes, as many guys in their 20s do. He is passionate about helping people, making the world a better place, and fighting corruption- all traits that I connected with. Plus, I’m used to wearing spandex, so it’s all good.
As far as what inspired me to make the series, I always wanted to showcase Nightwing as a character without being a sidekick to Batman, because I know he is so much more than that. Batman is obviously one of the greatest characters ever written, but there is so much more to explore with his supporting cast, and it’s time for Nightwing to break out on his own as an A list star in the DC Universe.
5. How did you cast and select the main characters?
We put out a casting call in Vancouver and held auditions for professional actors only. We were overwhelmed with submissions (over 150), so we were really able to pick the best of the best. It’s funny, after the auditions, Kyle and I both texted each other with the same choices- the actors that got the roles really knocked it out of the park, there was no second choice. I’m unbelievably happy and grateful for the cast we have, again, setting the bar really high for what these shows can and should be.
6. Can you take us through what’s typically involved with a film like this? Pre and Post production?
Oh boy, a LOT. To give you an idea, I put over a year of my life into making this project a reality. For months leading up to the shoot, it was a 24/7 job prepping everything, organizing the team, writing with JD, meetings with Kyle, getting props, food, you name it. We were blessed to be funded on Kickstarter by fan support, but we definitely went over budget, to ensure the best quality show.
I’d estimate we had over 50 people work on this show in some capacity, we spent 7 days on set (16 hour days), did time in the studio doing voiceovers, photo shoots, etc, so it was a big production.
7. If you were to make another DC related film, what other character would you play and why?
I’d like to just focus on what we’ve built with this Nightwing series right now, BUT, if I had to choose, I’d definitely do a Green Lantern Kyle Rayner film (if budget was no issue). I have a half sleeve tattoo on my left arm of GL Kyle Rayner, Star Sapphire, and Blue Lantern Brother Warth. Green Lantern is incredible- DC’s equivalent of Star Wars, and there is such a huge universe just waiting to come to life on film there. I read all the GL books just as religiously as I read Batman.
8. Can you share with us sneak peak on what the fans can expect in the film?
Definitely- the basic storyline is that Nightwing is returning to Gotham City, as Batman is missing, to hunt the mysterious Court of Owls. The Owls have broken out the rogues from Arkham Asylum and are using them as their pawns.
I also created a new character for the show, Theresa Thompkins (played by Jess Racz), who is the daughter of Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Batman’s doctor in the comics). She grew up with Dick, and comes back into his life as a love interest. Of course, Oracle isn’t fond of this relationship. You will definitely see some, but not all, of the characters that appeared in the trailer, and others.
The show is laid out like a 4 issue comic book arc- when we start, that world is already established, this is not an origin story. Each episode plays out like an issue of a comic, and in the end we get a conclusion, but it could definitely continue, just as an ongoing comic book series. I think Batman fans will be very happy with all of the cameos, references, and easter eggs.
Honestly, what you can expect is a high quality series that stays true to the comics. I have a deep love and respect for the universe they have created in those books and plan on staying true to what makes it so amazing. I hope the fans can see the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that went into getting this thing made. Literal blood- I got punched so hard in the chest filming a fight scene that I was bleeding. Ouch.
9. How do you go about connecting and “switching on” to get in front of the camera and play Nightwing?
Like I said, I really connected well with Dick and felt like we were one and the same by the time it came to film. I grew up with this character, reading the books, watching the cartoons, and felt like it was a natural fit.
I’m so, so proud of what we’ve done with this show and I am just as excited to see it as all of you. Please like our Facebook page at “Nightwing: Prodigal The Series” to get the most updated info on the series. We are expecting an April 2014 release online.
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