Director Ian Fitzgibbon Discusses Andy Serkis, Death of a Superhero
Director Ian Fitzgibbon’s Death of a Superhero made a splash final year during its globe premiere at the Toronto Worldwide Film Festival, and its simple to see why: The coming-of-death story intertwines imaginative 2D cel animation with a touching narrative. Add in that it stars Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in best kind, and you begin to recognize why the film resonates.
Primarily based on Anthony McCarten’s novel of the very same name, the film follows Donald (played by Brodie-Sangster), a troubled 15-yr-old with terminal leukemia who faces the prospect of dying at a young age while concurrently trying to navigate adolescence. Donald escapes into the violent, visceral world of his drawings, but his actuality – college, overbearing parents and romantic relationships – looms. When he’s introduced to psychologist Dr. Adrian King (Serkis), he begins to reconcile the two, with visually and emotionally extreme benefits.
Serkis and Brodie-Sangster turn in phenomenal performances. It is tough to envision Brodie-Sangster as anyone but Liam Neeson’s adorable, really like-struck son in Love, Truly, but he proves himself an completed young adult. And Serkis, who we’re more accustomed to seeing in movement-capture kind in The Lord of the Rings and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, lends an understated passion to the role.
Spinoff On the web spoke with Fitzgibbon even though he was in New York City for Death of a Superhero’s U.S. premiere at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. He mentioned his preferred graphic novels, working with true-life nurses for cancer investigation, the genesis of the film’s graphics, the influences he took from his teenage kids, and the Tintin connection between his two lead actors.
SPINOFF On the internet: I noticed a Theo and Eliza Fitzgibbon in the credits, underneath “teenage crowd.”
Ian Fitzgibbon: God, you are sharp!
Are people your family members?
They’re my young children.
Ah, so your young children are teenagers!
Yeah, 19 and 17.
So did they advise you in crafting Donald’s personalized and public personas in the film — his private daily life, his college circumstance, and so forth?
Yeah, fully. I was writing scenes and I’d come house and talk to my daughter Liza and I’d say, “Oh, effectively we wrote the scene in which he goes on a date with the girl.” And she said, “What?” And I stated, “Yeah, he goes on a date with the lady.” And she stated, “No. No person says ‘date.’” And I mentioned, “Well, what do they say, then?” She said, “I dunno, but they don’t say ‘date!’ That is really old-fogey speak!”
It’s not surprising, simply because Donald’s relationships with classmates, buddies and his mother and father come across as actually organic.
Yeah, I drew on my expertise as a parent, there — for positive. [laughs]
The graphics in this film are really cool. What are the origins of their look?
What I imagined is this 15-year-old kid in the back of the classroom, bald, no eyebrows, most likely with a huge erection with some gorgeous girl at the front of the class, and doodling away — all that power going into this factor, and on prime of that he understands he’s going to fucking die! So how’s that going to be? How are individuals drawings going to turn out?
Who did you operate with to develop the drawings?
The man I ended up with [Lukas Frese] — he had a satchel … and I looked at his satchel and I looked at his sneakers and I thought, “God, he nearly appears like the kid in the film!” I thought that was truly interesting. And then I had a chat with him and I stated, “How did you start drawing?” And he mentioned he utilised to get in problems at school and he was always sitting at the back since they believed he was genuinely dumb, and he utilised to draw all these drawings. And I said, “Well what sort of stuff did you draw?” And he showed me things, and a single of them was someone becoming hung, giving the finger.
I enjoy that a single. I’m glad that created it into the film!
Yeah! And I believed, “OK, he’s my man.” He’s brilliant.
Are you a fan of graphic novels? Is that part of what endeared you to the material?
I adore Tintin — I grew up with that. And I love Sin City. And I love the gothic version of Batman — people comics that kind of got glossier and a bit more dangerous and much more sexual, that things I really enjoy. But I was a complete virgin to all this things. I had no notion. All I said was, “I don’t want the film to halt for animation. It has to be inseparable.”
What about the other element of it, the portion dealing with Donald’s terminal cancer. Did you do a great deal of investigation, interview individuals, check out cancer wards?
It’s weird because even now I discover it genuinely hard to speak about. Yeah, I did. I spoke to nurses, but they inform you … [appears out window, pauses, tears up] Sorry.
It’s Okay. I dealt with hospice nurses when my dad had terminal cancer. They’re wonderful folks. genuine heroes. But I know all also effectively that it’s a traumatizing knowledge.
And also, they have to offer with young children who often are not getting looked following simply because their mothers and fathers can’t manage it. So that’s tough.
So you worked with Andy Serkis the very same yr that he worked on Tintin and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Yeah, he was just coming off Planet of the Apes, due to the fact I bear in mind thinking, when I saw his vitality, I was like, “Woah!”
This is this kind of a various role than audiences are utilized to seeing him in, primarily because audiences are not utilized to seeing him at all. How did you each reconcile that, especially coming off all the intensity of Apes?
He has a huge engine. He’s a really passionate, committed actor. So what I was encouraging him to do was to believe about stillness. You know, to just listen. You don’t have to be friendly, you do not have to reach out. Just be present. And I spoke to psychologists who deal with teenagers, and … I mentioned, “What’s it like — fundamentally, what’s your work?” And she stated, “My task is to stand alongside. That is all I have to do.” It is patronizing to say, “I’m right here for you,” since they’re not the 1 dying. And I assume that was some thing that really struck me, and I just really like the concept that Andy’s character does not patronize Donald.
Thomas and Andy have wonderful chemistry in the film. Did you motivate them to hang out prior to or throughout filming?
I didn’t actually have to, because Thomas was the unique Tintin. Thomas did five weeks of shooting on Tintin.
That’s correct! So you lucked out, due to the fact they had that initial rapport!
Yeah! And also, I could sense Andy type of going, “This kid is good.”
You function actually nicely with young children in this film. Were any of the children in the hospital alongside Donald sick in real life, or had been they also hired actors?
No, they were actors. Although the tiny lady, we shaved that a lot [mimics a strip along the side of his head] of her hair.
Did you perform with Anthony McCarten at all? Simply because I know he initially needed to direct it.
That is true! No, I made a extremely clear rule: There’s only a single director, and I have to re-write it. Since I couldn’t do that — to him or to me. I had to make it my own.
Death of a Superhero is accessible on VOD.