As many of you know, there have been a lot of rumors about what’s been going on behind the scenes of Fanboys. From my understanding, the film was made by Kyle Newman (sadly that was the best picture I could find of him), then the Weinstein Brothers took the film and tried to edit out all the cancer content, and then Newman took the film back and made it his own again.
I was lucky enough to sit down for a one on one interview with the Director and ask him about what really happened with the film, how he happened upon one of the greatest comedic casts, and what he has coming up next. If there is one thing I learned it’s that Newman is a passionate film maker who truly loves film. He has a lot of intergrity and stands by his films no matter what.
But, don’t listen to me, check out what he has to say about Fanboys…
Did you try and get George Lucas do make an appearance in the film?
Kyle Newman: We did try to get him into the movie, I think he wasn’t as comfortable as an actor. We ultimately got his voice, which we used from a robot chicken where they recorded the voice on the phone, so that’s actually his voice when Danny McBride is speaking to him. So someway he’s really in there.
Was he supportive of the whole project?
Kyle: Super supportive. I mean his, at least Lucasfilm was, they gave us all the approvals to use all their visual stuff in the movie and verbal reference and then we have Star Wars in every scene in the movie. They gave us the approval to shoot at the ranch, which no one was ever allowed to do before, to actually landmark the film up there and we also did our post-production, our sounds out there and we even have a special effect from ILM in the movie, so it was a little bit of everything. And they’ve been so inclusive of us through the whole process, you know, helping us promote it at conventions and all the different appearances they do. They have always welcomed us to do stuff with them. Like at ComicCon they were always playing our trailer in their booth and stuff like that. So they’ve been very, very open about us being part of their family in a peripheral way, so its cool.
Where you a big fan of star wars?
Kyle: Obsessed, obsessed with Star Wars, yeah.
And what about Star Trek? You make so much fun of it in the movie.
Kyle: I like Star Trek too… As a kid I was really into all that, I really liked anything space oriented, you know. Star Trek was just another look at science fiction. It was all very real, it was a potential future of earth and its all very science based. And Stars Wars is always…it’s more mythical, it’s more like a space fantasy, and it’s more spiritual. You know they’re very different, but there’s room for both. I like them both.
How did you go about casting the film? It seems like you kind of cast the entire next generation of comedy actors in a way.
Kyle: We were really ahead of the game. Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel hadn’t done Knocked Up and all these things that kind of opened them up. Kristen wasn’t doing movies, this is the first thing Dan filmed out of Broadway other than a couple smaller things, so our team had good foresight in putting these guys in the film. You know, we had a great casting directors and we all just had a really good sense of being specific as to what we wanted and just really finding just the perfect people to do it. So, I was happy with our cast, incredibly happy.
When did Kristen Bell join the all boy team?
Kyle: She was the original person on it. Kristen, Dan was the original person I wanted, Jay. Sam and Chris, I wasn’t sure which one was going to be Linus and which one was going to be Eric. They both came in and did auditions for both [and] I was so impressed by them. I knew I wanted both, I didn’t know which one. So, it was hard, I just wanted to get them both in the film somehow.
And you got Seth Rogen before he was kind of the super star Seth Rogen that he all know today to play three characters.
Kyle: Yeah, with him, he always said to me it was cool cause he got to play something other than himself, which everyone tries to cast him for doing that stuff. He came down, he had like a computer seller’s thing, and prosthetics and disguised himself as a few characters and really went for it. So I think that was liberating for him and fun. And it was cool for us cause he’s just such a great energy on set, you know, and he’s incredibly funny. So it steps up the game for everyone else. And our guys are already funny but once you bring in another funny person, it makes sense. It was really good, like the Star Trek argument with him, because kind of he likes Star Trek, he wanted to use the Star Trek rights. It was cool.
So you had someone to represent Star Trek?
Kyle: Yeah, I mean he likes Star Wars too, but it was definitely like… he wanted to support the due Trek right.
I’m actually have to admit not a Star Wars or Star Trek fan and I actually really enjoyed the film. It was really fun.
Kyle: Well, that’s good. See, I wanted it for people that weren’t fans. You don’T have to know the reference but you know the spirit behind the reference, the passion behind the guys. That’s what you get behind… they could be saying anything, they could be into something else and if it’s their passion and you like them, you’re going to go on this trip with them, you’re going to believe in the story so that’s good to hear. You know, I want to make it work for people that weren’t into it. And it won’t work for everyone if they’re not into it. But there’s a lot of people I think that will still get something out of it even if you’re not familiar with it or that big of a Star Wars fan. There’s a lot of pop culture stuff too. It’s very much coming from the 80′s and it’s also a time capsule for 1998, so that’s what made it fun.
There have been PLENTY of different rumors circulated as to why this film wasn’t released a while ago. I heard that there were many different cuts of the film and this cut, the cut that I saw, was actually your cut or the one that you wanted. Is that true?
Kyle: It’s close to true. There was the original cut of the film and then they did some other stuff to it and then they gave me a window of time to go tape their version and turn it back into my version. So it’s pretty damn close back to mine. Taking all the best of everything we had previously. It’s the best version of the film we’ve ever had for sure, there’s no question about that. If I had another two days, could it be even better? Absolutely. It was just like, “You have two days to recut the whole movie,” and why not five? You know, I’ll pay for the other days myself. It was really that kind of conversation. it was like, “No. Two days.”
That’s amazing that you even got to go back and fix it, did you have to fight for that?
Kyle: Yeah, they came back and said go back to the version you guys all believe in, the one the actors want, the one the producers want, the one the writers want, the one you set out to make. So it was like common sense prevailed and it came back to us.
That rarely happens, common sense!?
Kyle: It was the fans, I think. The online fan movement that really opened people’s eyes and put the pressure to do that which is unprecedented. I don’t know if the people would admit that but I think that’s definitely what happened, in my opinion.
What were some of the scenes that you had to fight for to keep in?
Kyle: Anything that was really cancer stuff. Any reference to it.
That was where the whole heart of the story lied!
Kyle: I mean yeah, we developed it, we worked at it, I wanted it to be real, I wanted it to be emotional. When the movie gets real and you have these moments, there’s not many in the movie, but there are some, I wanted it to have emotional weight and I wanted the movie to have a purpose. It’s about friendship and there’s something really on the line, and there’s a time line, they’re doing this for a friend before he passes. So if you didn’t feel anything, you know, that’d be a failure on my part. I want people to at least feel something, I didn’t want people to necessarily make people cry, but it was just made people sober for a second. It’s not all about the comedy, it’s about friendship and something real, it’s not about the movie its about this dynamic between two life long friends, who are kind of like brothers, you know, coming back together and finding reconciliation before one of them passes on. So I wanted it to be a very real and heartfelt scene.
So the whole sad part and the reality of it. They wanted to get rid of that part?
Kyle: Yes. It was a very screwball, ungrounded, pointless road trip. Without, I mean why? You’re just going to go break in to have fun and break in. How do you rally behind those characters? There’s no timeline, why do they have to do it then? What’s they motivation and what’s at stake? And in the end, so it was all about the movie and that wasn’t the message with us. It’s not about the movie, how do you convey that message when there’s nothing to default to? Instead of, “Oh, we got the movie,” and they watch that version and then, “Oh, this is no good,” and then they throw it out the window. And it’s like that’s an ending? That’s a terrible movie!
It’s so refreshing to hear a story of a filmmaker standing up for what he believed and by what it sounds like, winning the fight! Why do you think that people don’t necessarily fight for their films to the extent that you did? Is it just too hard? They’re afraid of losing money? Film politics? What?
Kyle: Its hard. It’s absolutely hard. It’s money. Uhhh, I got paid virtually nothing for this movie and I’m not going to make anything off this movie, but I just felt like my fans and LucasFilm trusted me to do it. In a way, my name, my reputation was on the line, cause I convinced everyone that we were making something with one spirit and one vibe to it and we were going to change it into something. My name is still on it. I just stayed very close to it, you know. I just didn’t want anybody to get too crazy with what they were doing and I knew maybe the opportunity would come if it fell back into my lap, in which case I wanted to be ready and have all the information. So I went to all the screenings. I went to see every version and how people responded and if there was good stuff being discovered while they were re-cutting things then I’ll use it, why not. I wanted to make the best movie, I’m not going to say, “Oh, I didn’t come up with that.” That doesn’t make the best movie. Someone had to be a very objective, ego-less process. Even though there was bad stuff going on that was very disheartening, there was still, maybe I could use all that if I collected the information and make a better final goal if they opportunity arrives. So, I felt like I had to do it. It was kind of like a passion project, so I needed to see it through and see it through properly.
Are there a lot of extra scenes or anything like that, that we can look forward to on the DVD?
Kyle: The DVD will have a lot of deleted scenes, I think it’s like seven or eight things. There’s definitely a few things I didn’t want deleted. There’s some alternate versions of scenes, some really funny stuff in there, and there’s just tremendous behind the scenes footage. We had like a guy on set everyday, all day, following people around. And not just doing boring stuff, he was like doing funny gags and stuff with them offscreen, stuff I didn’t even realize they shot…they just had so much fun. Even off camera people were doing really cool things. There’s great commentary on the DVD too. It’s myself, two writers, producers, it’s also Kristen Bell, Dan Fogler, Chris Marquette and Sam Huntington, so a lot of the actors are on it. It’s awesome, it’s going to be a fun DVD too. So, a lot of extras. There’s an extended Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes scene, which Kevin Smith wrote… It’s cool.
How did you arrange all the cameos and get everyone to sign up?
Kyle: Yeah, we had Ethan playing that. I think once we had Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Ray Park, those are the Star Wars people…William Shatner, we got him…
How’d you get William Shatner? That was so cool!
Kyle: I think he saw all the Star Wars people were coming to do it, and there was this great up and coming cast and it was just a fun thing. You know, everyone was making fun of Star Wars, everyone was making fun of Star Trek, it was poking fun at yourself a little bit. It was all in good fun, the spirit of it was right and I think he thought that the script was great so luckily it worked out. You know, we just kept getting more and more cameos that were asked for, it was great. It’s a lot of cameos but it’s fun, I think we balance it well.
Like you said you had the fans behind you, and I think you had a lot of celebrities and a lot of great people behind you, so what is next? What are you looking to do for your next project? What are your goals for that one?
Kyle: I have a couple of different projects I’m looking at, With Helping Myself, Wolfman Jack biopic, Bridget Bardo biopic, there’s a comic book called Emo Boy, it’s kind of a subculture of that music, it’s a cool book. That scripts almost done, I just got it in today actually, we’re going to start casting that. And a couple independent ones I’m looking at which are really enticing to me, you know, they’re like really grounded. They’re comedies but I can find my angle into it, you know stuff I love. But I don’t want to only do comedy you know? I like a little bit of everything. As long as it’s real, I can get passionate about it and the characters are passionate, or movies that go through emotions. If they’re to technical I can’t get into them, it’s gotta have like a spirit to it. Otherwise, why put in years and years of work? You know, this is almost six years from me so…there’s no point if it was something really surface, I couldn’t really see myself getting passionate about it. Maybe that’s why people, they’re making the wrong movies, I figure that’s why they don’t fight to the end, they give up to easy. If your going to do it, do it, you know, do the best you can and stick with it. That’s how this whole thing came back to us and we got to do this proper version.
Do you think that with the recession that smaller more passionate Directors looking to make a film like Fanboys, might have trouble with them?
Kyle: It’s definitely going to be harder to get the average thing paid for until there’s clarity on the actor’s strike and maybe we won’t have full clarity because of the economy, but I think it is to your advantage as a film maker, if you go in there with that passion and it doesn’t just feel like your cramming things together and punching numbers to make something happen. The only time your ever going to get something magic out of a movie is when you at least have that element behind it. Whether it the producers, the directors, the cast, that has that deep passion about doing it. Otherwise, you’re never going to get magic on screen. So I think people are trying to realize you need that a prerequisite for success. You know, that’s why The Dark Knight, not only is it a great character, but you have a great team of people that are extremely reverent towards the subject matter, embraced it and not only know just how it’s going to fit into this time and how to appeal to the fans but also make a movie that they would want to see themselves. It’s a movie that you can tell they’re proud of. It’s a good movie regardless of it being a superhero.
One last question would you have liked to see The Dark Knight nominated for an Oscar?
Kyle: I would, I really enjoyed that movie, I thought it was great. They tried to make a great movie, same thing with Iron Man, that happened to be a comic book movie. As opposed to, let’s make a comic book movie and hope it’s great. Which is the way you have to approach it, you have to really go for the great movie first and figure it out that way.
Thank you for your time Kyle!
The movie is in theaters February 6th. Check out the trailer below…