Nuke International Magazine

                       interview 2001

Nuke: When did you guys start this project?

Juan: Earlier this year (2001). I was going to do a trailer for Speed Racer, but when I met Joshua, we decided we would start something together from scratch. He mentioned AKIRA and we started from there.

Nuke: Why did you choose Akira?

Joshua:  I’ve wanted to play a character like Tetsuo for a long time and knew that Juan wanted to make a live-action adaptation to an anime, so an AKIRA trailer was the natural choice. Plus, the special edition and DVD release this summer has brought some attention back to the film so timing was perfect.

Nuke: Are you Anime lovers or just die hard AKIRA fans?

Juan: I love Anime. My brother hooked me on it years ago. Akira has been a favorite and possibly one of of the first I’d seen. That and “Ghost in the Shell”.

Joshua: Same here. I’m probably not as big a fan as Juan, but I do enjoy a lot of Anime and Manga. Otomo is definitely a master artist.

Nuke: How many people are involved in this production?

Juan: It was a two man crew production. Josh and I.

Joshua: Plus a little help now and then from cast member or friend. My mother even helped us a day while she was visiting on vacation.  

Nuke: How much time did you spend on pre-production?

Juan: I’d say about a month. Two weeks outlining the trailer and scouting locations. Two weeks for storyboarding each scene and for casting.

Nuke: How long will be the final cut? When will it be available?

Joshua: (laughing) Ask us again tomorrow. No seriously… once we realized that there was no way the trailer would be done as the same time as the DVD release, we decided to just take our time with the post-production and do it right. That said, it should be done any day now.

Nuke: Did you guys work on a low budget basis?

Joshua: Totally, we were inspired by Robert Rodriguez and his book “Rebel Without a Crew” about the making and the success of “El Mariachi”. We went in with the plan of not spending money on ANYTHING unless we absolutely had to and ended up borrowing or making most of our props and costumes. The rest came out of pocket change…  Juan totaled it up.

Juan: Yeah.. It came out a little over $200.00.

Nuke: Looking at the pictures on your site it seems to be a whole action scene with the Clown gang, is that true?

Joshua: Yes. Our make-up artist James Holley played Joker, the gang leader, but the rest of the Clown gang was made up of real Bikers.

Nuke: Did you put a lot of crazy bikers on the stage? That’s great!

Juan: We had a total of five bikers with painted faces. My dad is actually one of the bikers and he got his friends to do this for us. They weren’t too crazy, although at one point I did realize that the bikers couldn’t get the take off the clown make-up. He tried and scrubbed but nothing was coming off. I leaned over to Josh and said “We better get out of here quick.”

Nuke: Where did you make the main footage? Will you show another scenario as the Bartenders Groove or the Colonel’s military complex?

Joshua: We shot all around Los Angeles and a little in downtown San Diego… Basically any location we thought looked like New-Tokyo. We actually shot at a friend’s burned-out bar, but couldn’t find any military locations that we could get into without being arrested.

Nuke: Will you be setting the footage to any particular score? What music will go along with it if any?

Juan: We’ll have to wait to see what Todd Andrew comes up with. He’s scoring it. But we do want there to be a taste of what they had in the anime film. He’ll gives a “live version”. I’m a fan of it sounding somewhat dark in tone.

Nuke: How did you manage to make the characters costumes and Kaneda’s laser rifle?

Juan: The jacket we found at a thrift store for ten bucks. Then we gave it James (Make-up artist) who airbrushed on the pill. The laser rifle and battery pack is something we can’t talk about yet. There’s a lot of science and math that the people of NASA would kill us for. If the information gets into the wrong hands, well I don’t want to be responsible for people using laser rifles in an improper manor.

Nuke: What equipment did you use? Are you using particular software for post editing and special effects?

Joshua: We shot with Juan’s Hi-8 Digital camera and edited with Final Cut Pro.  Sheldon Whittaker is now our CG artists. We’ll have to ask him later about what software he’s using?

Juan: He told me he would be using paper, scissors and ..

Joshua: A large bucket of clay.

Nuke: Do you plan to show it in some anime expo or conventions?

Juan: Comic book conventions, internet, the inside of a Taco Bell. Any place people want to see it.

Joshua: Exactly. This is for everyone who wants to see it. It’s, like us, for fans of the comic books and anime. We hope people will enjoy it as much as we had fun making it.