To call Kevin Grevioux a fanboy or a comic-book geek would almost be an understatement. But to look at him, and especially hear him speak (his incredibly deep voice makes Barry White sound like he was kicked in the balls), you'd probably think more along the lines of linebacker than fanboy. Grevioux, whose personal comic book collection is said to be in excess of 10,000 issues, is most definitely a fanboy though, and he's been taking it to the next level on both the silver screen and on the comic book shelves.
Grevioux had toiled in smaller roles in films and television while writing his own screenplays. While working as an extra on Stargate, he met a young prop assistant named Len Wiseman. This lead to the two collaborating on a script called Underworld, which Wiseman directed and Grevioux appeared in as the powerful Lycan, Raze. From there, the franchise was spawned and Grevioux began creating comic books of his own. One of those creations is already set for the silver screen, ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction, and, today, it was announced that his latest comic book series, I, Frankenstein, will be adapted into a feature film, with Grevioux set to write the screenplay and Underworld 3: The Rise of The Lycans director Patrick Tatopoulos set to direct.
I, Frankenstein will hit the comic book shelves sometime later this year, and this new series will bring some of the classic monsters of filmdom lore together. The story is set in the metropolis of Darkhaven, where classic creatures like Frankenstein, Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, The Invisible Man, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and many more all dwell in the shadows, unbeknownst to the city dwellers. I was granted an exclusive interview with Grevioux (special thanks to online colleagues and producers of the film, Robert Sanchez and Ryan Turek, for the opportunity!) to talk about this new comic book and film endeavor. Here's what Grevioux had to say.
First of all, congratulations are in order.
Kevin Grevioux: Oh, thank you, thank you.
Can you just talk a little bit about how you first came up with this concept of the comic book series and were you always planning on turning it into a feature film?
Oh yeah. I was always planning on bringing it to a movie, a movie franchise. After Underworld, I had started thinking more about how much I like horror and things of that nature, sci-fi. I thought there is a way to, like with Underworld, turn different horror staples on their ear and throw a different spin to them and create franchises. In looking at Underworld, I was surprised it hadn't been done on film before, where you pit vampires and werewolves against one another, making them more scientifically based instead of really relying on the old motifs of mysticism. So I thought that would work well and, given the fact that I like these other horror monsters like Frankenstein, werewolves, things like that, I said, 'You know what? Here's what I can do.' I came up with trying to bring Frankenstein to the screen by using that same template. I've always been influenced by, you know, The House of Frankenstein. That has always been one of my favorite movies because it had all of them together, Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolf Man, in one film. There are different things like that and then there's your fantasy, like, 'What if Frankenstein met The Mummy? Who would win?' (Laughs) I've always wanted to see that, but my thing is, there is a way to do that stuff. So I decided to put some of those monsters of lore together, like vampires and werewolves, Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, in one universe, have them interact with each other, in a modern-day setting... but have that setting really cool, like the world of Underworld. I think it's a no-brainer, for me.
Awesome. So Frankenstein is kind of the epicenter of this, correct? Can you talk about how these different characters relate to each other, like are they together or fighting against each other?
Kevin Grevioux: Yeah, but I can't talk about too much. Suffice it to say, they exist in one universe, in a cool way that hasn't been done before. I hope that doesn't limit what you can put in the article, but we're trying to keep it pretty hush-hush until the comic book comes out.
So what other characters can we expect to see in this? Is this pretty much just wide open for who we can possibly see in this?
Can you talk a little bit about just the world itself, Darkhaven? It was described as Gotham-like, but what other characteristics of this setting can we expect to see?
Kevin Grevioux: Think of it like very film-noir, you know, like The Crow. You see characters. The public, by and large, are unaware that these monsters are real or that they exist. It's kind of like that.
It was also said that this isn't really a remake of these characters, just bringing them into a modern setting.
Kevin Grevioux: Exactly.
So, tonally, how can we expect these characters to be different, in the comic and the movie?
Kevin Grevioux:Kevin Grevioux: We use probably some of the same origins, but then, remember, we're casting it in modern day. We're making them all recognizable, based on how they began, but the way we utilize them, is totally different and they perform certain functions within this world that is really cool. Like I said, I can't say too much, but I'm trying to give you what I can (Laughs).
You cut a pretty imposing figure on the screen, so have you written a role for yourself in this?
So are you a villain in this then?
Kevin Grevioux: Umm..... that remains to be seen (Laughs).
So when you were writing this, I know this hasn't been cast yet, but did you write with maybe anyone in mind or do you have a dream cast that you would like to see here?
I, FrankensteinKevin Grevioux: I don't really have a dream cast, but, basically, since these are monsters, it doesn't matter who is in it because the makeup of the monster is the real star. So whoever it is, is going to wear makeup anyway.
So you've worked with (director) Patrick Tatopoulos before in the Underworld series. First of all, what was it like working under his direction in Underworld 3: The Rise of The Lycans and what made you want him to take this on?}
Kevin Grevioux: Well, number one, it's the type of mind he has for this stuff. I mean, he designed the original creatures for Underworld and they were fantastic. Looking at what he did with Independence Day, Godzilla, he is so talented that when he directed Underworld 3: The Rise of The Lycans, it was a natural fit. His energy on the set, his professionalism, knowing what he wants, having a vision and realizing, it's like, 'Man. This cat knows what he's doing.' He really does and he was just a natural fit for this.
Will he also be doing the creature effects for this as well, wearing the two hats again?
Kevin Grevioux: Yeah, yes.
So can you talk about what brought you to Death Ray Films for this project and how you kind of hooked up with those guys?
Kevin Grevioux: Yeah. I met (producer) Robert (Sanchez) at one of these things called Comic Book Sunday, which is basically like a little mixer that they have in the L.A. area, periodically. So, I was introduced to him and he seemed like a really cool guy. He knew I was the guy that created Underworld, so he said, 'Look, what kind of stuff are you working on?' So I pitched him a couple of ideas and he was really impressed and then I told him about I, Frankenstein, and his eyes just got big. Actually, that's not true. That's not true. What happened is that he liked my ideas so he wanted me to meet his friend (producer) Chris (Patton). So we sat down and had coffee and, you know, I've had my pitches. Basically what I have is all my creations, this book, that's all the artwork I have for them along with treatments, ideas, and the like. I presented those to them and I said, 'This is what I'm really passionate about, and it's called I, Frankenstein.' They're eyes got as big as saucers and they were like, 'This is it. This is the one.' So they were really floored by that, and that's how it came to be.
So, can you say at all if there is a release date planned for the comic book series at all? It just said later this year.
Kevin Grevioux: Yeah, it's going to be later this year. I don't know exactly when, but I have a couple of great artists working on the series. We're coming out with two arcs and one is being drawn by Robert Castro. I worked with him on Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel and he had also drawn another upcoming series for me called Uzan, The Mighty. That's a cool book, and there's this other artist named Andrew Huerta, and I've worked with him before because he drew the first installment of the Rise of The Lycans mini-series by IDW.
So how long of a run are you planning for this?
Kevin Grevioux: First, I only want to do two arcs for now. I want it to be a 12-issue series and we'll see what happens after that. But, with a franchise like this, or an idea like this, I could keep doing books forever.
Yeah, that's what it really seems like just from reading the little I've read, that it could go forever.
Kevin Grevioux: (Laughs) Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Are there any updates on ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction you can give us?
Kevin Grevioux: Yeah. (Screenwriters Dick) Blackman and (Howard) McCai are pitching it right now, so we'll see what happens. I can't really talk about it too much, but I think it's really moving along.
Since Underworld 3: The Rise of The Lycans was a prequel, have there been talks of continuing that prequel series?
Kevin Grevioux: There is talk of other films, or a fourth one at least, but we'll see what happens.
So, finally, it's been awhile since there's been a really prominent monster movie, so did you really see this as a chance to resurrect the monster movie genre for good?
Kevin Grevioux: Well, I'm trying to figure out exactly what that means, because there are a lot of people that may say we're trying to bring it back, but I don't think it's really left. I mean, you have Underworld, you have Resident Evil with monsters. There have been some monster movies going around, but it all depends on how you put them together that makes it really, 'Wow!' So I think we're just continuing in a trend that's already been there.
Awesome. Well, that's about all I have for you, Kevin. Thanks so much for your time, and I'm looking forward to seeing this new film.
Kevin Grevioux: OK. Thank you very much, sir. Take care.
We'll be sure to bring you any and all news surrounding this new film and comic book project because, frankly, this sounds pretty damn awesome to me, folks.