We write a lot of articles here at Grizzly Bomb about TV shows, movies, comics… pretty much anything and everything entertainment related. But it’s always coming from our perspective, our point of view. So it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you the newest feature at GB, where we will take it to another level, and see it from a different perspective. Where he head… Inside The Grizzly Studio.
For the past few weeks I’ve been showing you one of my new favorite things, Avengers Assemble: The Series. You can check out some of the episodes here, here and here. Season 2 recently premiered over at avengersassembletheseries.com, and it was hilarious. Some of the cast were gracious enough to talk with us about the series and Season 2, which is where we’ll start off today.
Here with us is Chris Burns; Actor, writer, producer, director, casting, location scout, cosplay enthusiast, zombie (he played one in Zombieland and The Walking Dead); you name it, he’s done it. He plays Clint Barton/Hawkeye on the web show Avengers Assemble: The Series, and it’s definitely a Hawkeye you’ve never seen before. This is just the latest in a long career in Film and TV, and you can check out some of his other projects here. But why listen to me talk about it? Let’s get to the interview…
SupaScoot: You play Clint Barton/ Hawkeye, who is one of my favorite Marvel characters, ever. Did you come into the series as a fan of Hawkeye?
Chris Burns: Actually Scott, I initially fought him. I really did. The series started out as a one off sketch by our writer Brian Godleski, whom I’ve known and worked with for years. I really liked the sketch and told him I wanted to produce it, but said “What if we do this as a Web Series?” and Brian was game. I told him that if I was going to produce it, I wanted to play Tony Stark and he said “Well I’m going to play Tony Stark”. I was like “WTF? Who the hell am I supposed to play?” and Brian said “Hawkeye!” I was like Hawkeye? You can’t be f–king serious. Brian knew exactly how to play to my ego, he said “Look at the script. Hawkeye gets all the best dialogue, and he gets the women” What can I say? I was sold after that.
When the series started, was there already a set idea on how you wanted to portray Hawkeye? It’s definitely a unique perspective on the Marvel hero.
Again I have to give half the credit to Brian’s great handling of the dialogue. He will usually send me a first or second draft of the script and we’ll discuss how Clint talks or thinks about things. When we solidify the script, Clint really comes about once the costume is on and we start running rehearsals before we start shooting. He suddenly comes out of nowhere and is there until we wrap.
You co-write the series with Brian Godleski, who plays Tony Stark/ Iron Man. When scripting an episode does the individual cast weigh in on their respective characters, or are you guys the driving force behind the series?
Usually Brian or I will come up with a social relevant topic that is happening currently like in “Oil Spill” or just an awkward situation like “Car Pool” and then Brian will create a first draft and then we’ll kick it back and forth. While we are doing this, we look at what actors we have available, and what costumes we have available. We have more than once pulled costumers from the cosplay circles and used them on the show, which has fortunately worked out great for the show. Mostly we try to utilize actors we know and figure out which costumes are feasible both financially and practically, without sacrificing the integrity of the humor of the sketch.
Where is Avengers Assemble filmed? When scouting locations, what do you look for in that perfect setting? Is it about what will look good for the story, what would look good on film, etc.?
We shoot the series in Atlanta. We write the scripts and then do scouts to find the best possible locations for each script. I’ve been in the Film and Television Industry for ten years and I have a number of Producers I work for like Jamie Vosseller and Rita Byers-Carter who have been great friends to the show and have helped us to secure many of our locations. For season 2, we’ve had some private individuals who are fans of the show that contributed some locations that will hopefully blow the audience away.
Was it hard to get the web series off the ground? And what were some of the hurdles, if any, that you had to overcome?
The biggest difficulty with the show is time and budget. All of us have jobs and careers that are not this show, and asking people to take nights, weekends, days off from their normal lives, families, friends is a huge thing to ask of an individual. Now you multiply that times the cast of anywhere of 4-8 people, a crew of 5-20 people, and that’s just shooting. That doesn’t even cover the number of hours spent editing or marketing…and to top it all off, No one is getting paid. All of the budget for this project is out-of-pocket for us, the Creators and Directors. So not only do you have the cost of people’s time, which is invaluable, you have meals, craft services, wardrobe, makeup, props, equipment. All of this has to be paid for, with zero percent of recouping losses. We don’t advertise anything, or sell anything. All of the content is free and done purely out of love and dedication to the material. I’ve truly been blessed to have an amazing group of cast and crew who have been ferociously dedicated to the show and I humbly thank them all for their efforts.
Has the series been well received by some of the hardcore Marvel-ite’s out there?
Fans of Marvel seem to love the show. We do our best to infuse the essence of each character that people have grown up reading about and have grown to love, but, give them true human flaws and personalities like people you would meet at work or in the bar. I mean seriously, If Captain America was born in the 1920’s and was frozen for fifty to sixty years in the 40s, he would most likely talk like your grandparents. Especially when it comes to race, female equality, etc. So in our universe, Cap isn’t always P.C. when referring to race relations or women. I think this more flawed but loveable view of our favorite characters is what makes the heroes on our show accessible.
The team seems to take on a lot of real world events, such as the BP oil spill or war in the Middle East. Not to mention Jan’s probable spousal abuse and the Scarlet Witch’s not quite PC relationship with Vision. Are these going to be continuing themes in the second season?
Here’s what you can look forward to in Season 2: The Avengers get hit hard by the economic crunch, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has a huge impact for one Avenger, the Avengers get the Mexican Soap Opera treatment, we visit the airport and the TSA, one Avenger considers leaving the group for good, and a mysterious messenger from the Future has warnings that will affect all of the Avengers and audience alike.
We get to see some great Avenger appearances in the first season. Wonder Man was one of my favorites, along with Namor and Black Panther. Who can we look forward to seeing in the new season?
Some of the great guest stars coming our way this season are Professor Xavier, Hercules, Nick Fury, Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Guardian and a very special mystery guest cameo.
When casting all the different characters, what are you looking for? Do you draw from acquaintances who want to be a part of the project or do you go through a casting call process?
Again Scott, I try to utilize actors that we know and have worked with in the past ten years. Matt Cornwell who plays Thor is also our editor and has been in the business as long as I have, as well as Brian so we know just about every working actor in the southeast. We try to fill the roles with actors, but every so often, we run into someone from the cosplay community like Dough Hubler who plays Hercules for us. He does such an amazing job as cosplayer, that we specifically wrote in a bit for him on the show and he did amazingly well for not being an actor or someone who’s profession is in or around the Film Industry.
I think I would be a pretty convincing D-Man… shameful self plug…
D-Man? Hah! Don’t you mean Wolverine and Classic Daredevil’s love child? Maybe we could do a lesser known Avengers episode, eh? Throw Dr. Druid and Starfox up in there? You never know, you better get that costume ready son!
Boom. You heard it here first. Make way for my eventual turn as D-Man, the homeless Avenger. A role I think I was born to play. I want to thank Chris Burns for sitting down with us today in the Grizzly Studio, and for bringing us such a great take at one of my all time favorite heroes.
I hope you liked this edition of Inside The Grizzly Studio, because there will definitely be more in the future!