Robin's Revenge
August 25, 2004 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Grayson, the movie that doesn't exist. John Fiorella and Gabe Sabloff have managed to create the most exciting film trailer I've seen in years. The only catch? It's for a movie that might never be made.

Apparently, the two worked weekends for 18 months, creating storyboards, acting, directing, shooting, and editing a gorgeous short film designed to pique interest in a movie about what happens after Batman dies and Wonder Woman and Superman go to work for the enemy. It's a professional-looking and well-edited piece of work (that anamorphic lens pays incredible dividends for them) that somehow manages to come in at a budget of just under $18,000. Imagine what they could do with 100 times that.

[Go to 'MOVIES' and then 'Grayson'. The full trailer is long but worth every second of download time, as is the 'Grayson- Pieces of the Puzzle' short. Also, the film files are mirrored here]
posted by yellowcandy (60 comments total)
Fun and very campy trailer! The cheapness of everything can't be avoided, but using that huge film score behind all the cheap (budgeted) stuff made me think the unavoidable: Man this would be a shitty movie but a great porn!

But they DID manage to translate some of the better and very fun comics elements of DC comics here; the cornball joker's mania especially (is that a scene from Killing Joke I might see with Barbara Gordon's apartment?) It really felt like what a DC comic movie should be, for those of us who read DC in the 80s/90s. And I mean that in the best way. Not too serious, and a lot of unbelievable heavy melodrama. Shit I'd watch it.
posted by Peter H at 12:39 PM on August 25, 2004

I want to see this movie and I want to see it now.
posted by damnitkage at 12:39 PM on August 25, 2004

Paul Hasenyager, who played Superman in the trailer, bears a striking resemblance to Bruce Campbell. In fact, when watching the trailer, I thought it really was Bruce Campbell playing Superman.
posted by deanc at 12:41 PM on August 25, 2004

Whooo~! 218 MB, no kidding.

This time spent downloading better be worth it, yc, as I spend it, umm...perusing the rest of metafilter.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:42 PM on August 25, 2004

Wow, that trailer covers a lot of territory. Seems like it would be tough to include all those villians (Joker, Penguin, Riddler + secret conspiracy of some kind) and heroes (Robin, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Catwoman) and still maintain some semblance of a plot that doesn't feel like a treasure hunt. I wonder how much money they would need to finish this film. With all the comic nerds out there (myself included), a little word of mouth and a grassroots effort could go far it would seem.
posted by fatbobsmith at 12:50 PM on August 25, 2004

Holy fucking-amazing, Batman.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:50 PM on August 25, 2004

You know, it's impressive, not unlike the Batman vs. Joker/Alien/Predator clip that was so popular six months ago, but: Come on. The big guys are extremely unlikely to let you come play in their pool on the strength of fanfic alone, no matter how well done. $18,000 is a workable amount of money in the indie film world; if you're that good, then parlay that money into something that you control the rights to and get it out there. I mean, what do you want: To have your vision realized, or to get your foot in a door somewhere and wait another 15 years for your swing at the ball? Because WB is not going to let them make Grayson no matter how impressed they might be -- the market forces surrounding the material cannot be trumped simply by good storytelling. It might get them a meeting, which might get them an assignment, but I don't think that those meetings are any easier to come by this way than by creating an original work.

And I say this as someone whose working on an adaptation of material to which he doesn't own the rights, but, I mean, it's not Batman.
posted by blueshammer at 12:57 PM on August 25, 2004

Wow. I'd actually like to see that. I don't even really like comic book movies.
posted by Captain_Tenille at 12:58 PM on August 25, 2004

It does make me wonder why there hasn't been a Batman vs. Superman vs. everyone movie yet. (Speaking as a newbie who has only read The Dark Knight Returns)
posted by inksyndicate at 12:59 PM on August 25, 2004

I agree that there's a shell of an interesting story there, but it's hard to see how they could shoehorn it into a single movie without it being cramped or fractured. The Superman guy creeped me out, though. Good Joker.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:00 PM on August 25, 2004

inky, Wolfgang Petersen was trying to get one made quite recently until Chris Nolan's Batman revamp was deemed more attractive. Like WB's Superman project, Petersen's film was stalling because they couldn't come up with anyone to cast.
posted by blueshammer at 1:03 PM on August 25, 2004

Wowzers! Great stuff! And yes, it looks like that would require more than one film to cover everything in the trailer adequately.
posted by chrid at 1:17 PM on August 25, 2004

Good trailer, and the behind the scenes was interesting too. I like the concept of Robin being more than a sidekick.
posted by riffola at 1:27 PM on August 25, 2004

Sorry, Dick Grayson has been Nightwing for 20+ years now, and to completely gloss over that in favor of making him a grown-up-Robin-out-for-revenge is an insult to true comic geeks everywhere.

Plus, they used music from Matrix Revolutions. Bleah.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:32 PM on August 25, 2004

What EB said. There's no way you could have all those heroes and villains in one movie without it sucking hard. And I don't think you could do the Joker unless you can cast an actor of the caliber of Jack Nicholson.

But, hell yeah, that looks like fun.

Let's see...what have I accomplished on my weekends for the last 18 months? Ummmm...I beat Tony Hawk Underground a couple of times....
posted by jpoulos at 1:36 PM on August 25, 2004

Wow, I was at my local comic store today and happened across a homebrew DVD of this, and was all "wtf?" Thanks for the link!
posted by mkultra at 1:41 PM on August 25, 2004

I got a fever, and the only cure... is more Wonder Woman!

Which one is WW throughout the clips? The sexy/sultry looking one that they were clearly pleased to have cast? They only showed WW for a few seconds at the end, and she's had the least amount of modern video realization... not since Linda Carter? (rowwwr.)

I agree about too many characters.. once the Riddler and Batgirl showed up, it was over the line. I didn't even see Green Lantern.

If you're going to do it, I'd say make a movie based on the Justice League / Legion of Doom. Make it a competing franchise to X-men.
posted by robbie01 at 1:52 PM on August 25, 2004

There's an excellent interview at Superhero Hype with Fiorella which dscusses his reason for making the trailer, the Robin vs. Nightwing issue, how he did his own stunts and more.
posted by junkbox at 1:55 PM on August 25, 2004

Well, like I said, I found the dark Superman and the implied conflict pretty compelling. WW was cool for the same reason. I think what's piqued my interest is (and maybe I'm revealing comic ignorance here) the unfolding conspiracy and trying to figure out what the hell happened. Why is Superman protecting the villains who don't want the truth of Batman's murder to come out? I'm not so interested in seeing a direct Robin/Superman conflict, as I am an undercurrent of conflict shrouded in mystery. Although that scene where Robin hits Superman and it only annoys Superman was chilling.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:59 PM on August 25, 2004

Thanks yellowcandy! I'm not a big comic book movie fan, but I really enjoyed the pieces of the puzzle/making of vid. Very cool stuff! (very resourceful)
posted by shoepal at 2:00 PM on August 25, 2004

As a movie lover, a comic lover and a Batman lover, I thought that the trailer was pretty lame.

The plot is intruiging, in an Elseworlds kind of way, but the acting was way too over the top (Catwoman was especially hard to watch), the storyline(s) as presented is(are) way too compilcated and melodramatic, and I just didn't agree with many many of the couces made. (Would Dick Grayson ever be stupid enough to punch Superman in the face?)

Kudos for a great piece of fanfic, but it's not a movie I'd want to see produced.
posted by o2b at 2:01 PM on August 25, 2004

... that should be "choices made", sorry.
posted by o2b at 2:02 PM on August 25, 2004

blueshammer: interesting.

I do think it would be great and chilling to see a movie where Superman is the flag-waving dupe from "Dark Knight Returns," but we'll never see it in a million years...
posted by inksyndicate at 2:03 PM on August 25, 2004

My favorite moment was when he was standing over the chalk outline of Batman's corpse, complete with pointy little ears.

But seriously: Robin vs. Superman?
posted by coelecanth at 2:06 PM on August 25, 2004

I certainly enjoyed it as an exemplary fan-film trailer, but there's one key thing that's required to make it a feature film: writing. I'm not really interested in the story (whatever it may be) after seeing the trailer, it was just cool to say "ooh! hey! the Green Lantern! ohh! hey! Wonder Woman!"

As fatbobsmith says, it's hard to imagine what feature-length film could possibly encompass all the material.
posted by scarabic at 2:09 PM on August 25, 2004

To backtrack a little on what I said one says the film would include everything you see in the trailer. Having a ton of characters may increase the appeal, and the chance it might get made, but a full-length version might not have them at all. I know some people who would be jazzed to see Wonder Woman in there, but not Green Lantern. Throw them all in there and you increase the chances that you end up pitching it to a fanboy.
posted by jpoulos at 2:13 PM on August 25, 2004

Heck I loved seeing Green Lantern. And I'm gonna fill in the blanks and say he's the one that stops superman (see robin laying out in the background then).
posted by Yossarian at 2:36 PM on August 25, 2004

And I thought I'd never see an actress playing Catwoman worse than Halle Berry! Well done!
posted by Robot Johnny at 2:49 PM on August 25, 2004

I'm only going if there's shark repellant spray.
posted by condour75 at 3:04 PM on August 25, 2004

AND the shark explodes.

also, that was pretty cool. I'd watch it.
posted by bob sarabia at 3:06 PM on August 25, 2004

did anyone else notice that the entire thing was slightly skewed? Like a bad transfer or something. Reminded me of the VHS Return of the Jedi where everyone's heads were fat.
posted by condour75 at 3:06 PM on August 25, 2004

But seriously: Robin vs. Superman?

Hm. Good point. Now that I think about it, such a one-sided fight reminds me of the hypothetical USS Enterprise vs. Imperial Death Star Grudge Match.
posted by deanc at 3:29 PM on August 25, 2004

I enjoyed it for what it was, but I don't think this was a trailer for a movie that anyone is seriously trying to get made, so much as a valentine to the Batman mythos with Frank Milleresque overtones, combined with Fiorello's big ego. I'm guessing it's meant to be a kind of demo reel, kind of a "if I can do this with 18 grand, think what I could do with a real budget" experiment.
posted by RylandDotNet at 3:38 PM on August 25, 2004

deanc: I was always sad that the Grudge Match site never did The Juggernaut vs. The Blob.

That's one I've been scratching my head over for years.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:16 PM on August 25, 2004

Dude, that trailer was frikkin' bad ASS!

I'd go see it in a heartbeat, and I'm usually way too let down by comic book movies to bother...
posted by kaibutsu at 5:11 PM on August 25, 2004

Saw it over a month ago.
Thought everyone had.

That fanflic / trailer makes me want the whole movie.

I can't remember the last trailer to do that....
posted by Trik at 5:29 PM on August 25, 2004

"the most exciting film trailer ... for a movie that might never be made. "

Hmm. Sounds kind of like Shaolin Soccer.

Well, except it's already been made -- it's just that Miramax has been sitting on the damn thing for creeping up on 3 years.
posted by majick at 5:51 PM on August 25, 2004

I'm having trouble loading it - the links give a 403 error. Has anyone else had this problem?
posted by jb at 5:52 PM on August 25, 2004

I though Shaolin Soccer was out already - a friend of mine has the DVD. Though this friend does have the habit of buying them in Malaysia, which might explain it. Everyone who has seen it says it is very good.
posted by jb at 5:54 PM on August 25, 2004

If you kids dug that, check out World's Finest, a fanflick with Supes versus Bats. Pretty good effects for a fanflick.
posted by keswick at 6:11 PM on August 25, 2004

I liked it. Very professional-looking and quite exciting. But where is Aquaman???
posted by alumshubby at 6:36 PM on August 25, 2004

Talking to some fish somewhere.
posted by keswick at 6:50 PM on August 25, 2004

Good lord, you people got Alien vs. Predator made, beyond all sense, reason or purpose, can't you just rest on your laurels (such as they are) and let the rest of the cinema going public return to a world in which it's recognized that eleven comic book geeks in San Fernando, California do not a hit-making audience make?! As has been proven quite a few times recently (AVP, Hellboy, Daredevil), the rest of us are just not interested in the minutae of comicdom, unless like the Spider-Man (-Mens?), we all know what the fuck you're talking about, or the X-Men, the films are actually well-executed action flicks... As with the late, unlamented "videogame-as-feature-movie" genre, let's hope this just runs its course, swiftly and without further embarrassment for otherwise respectable film people (yes, Kevin Smith, you big fat dork, I'm talking to you...)
posted by JollyWanker at 6:57 PM on August 25, 2004

Shaolin Soccer is out on DVD, Fry's had it on special in today's MErcury News ad.
posted by billsaysthis at 7:10 PM on August 25, 2004

There's always flash cartoons as a cheap method of making a movie. Though the flash style has been used mostly for comedy, something like Batman Beyond could potentially be made by dedicated artists.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:00 PM on August 25, 2004

Well, JW ... I guess you're right. With a domestic take of only $59.4mil ($75.4 mill worldwide), I guess nobody wanted to see that silly Hellboy movie at all. And then there was Daredevil with a very disappointing $102.5mil domestic so far. Most embarrassing has to be the mere $65.3mil that AVP has pulled in less than two weeks. Poor bastards. With results like that, why do they even bother getting up in the morning?
posted by grabbingsand at 8:04 PM on August 25, 2004

I am so tired of Batman-vs-Superman-in-a-dystopic-future stories that I think I'd rather watch Superman IV than a full-length version of Grayson.
posted by straight at 10:17 PM on August 25, 2004

CBG voices ... coming ... from all... directions... must ...perservere admiration ...of... ...dedicated fans ...and their... fine little film ...*
posted by elphTeq at 10:34 PM on August 25, 2004

I haven't read a comic book or, um, "graphic novel" since I was 5 in 1969 and I had no idea that "Batman-vs-Superman-in-a-dystopic-future" a genre of all things.

But I thought this trailer was neat. And "Hellboy" was a fun movie, better than the first "X-Men" movie, I think.

Okay, yeah, Hollywood's going overboard with comic book movies. But it's frickin' Hollywood for cryin' out loud.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:16 PM on August 25, 2004

I liked this. I also was wondering how so many of the heroes could be shoehorned into the plot, but then I realized if you bring them in as the Justice League, a logical unit, it's a little easier. I am totally ready to see this movie. *sigh*

(I was, though, kind of thinking "damn, if they wanted to spend $18,000 on a trailer, I wish they could have made one for Watchmen...)
posted by litlnemo at 12:03 AM on August 26, 2004

I get error message too, no flick for me and I am a huge Batman fan and not in the conventional movie sense. If they could have made Batman: Year One the way I read it I could die a happy man. The movie coming up looks bogus... who needs a Batmobile?

And litlnemo... crikey, a Watchmen film I can only dream of. Of course I would have to make it so they wouldn't screw it up. And I would need a little more than $18,000. That wouldn't even cover the cost of a flying owl.
posted by bdave at 1:13 AM on August 26, 2004

Bdave, maybe you didn't know about this. But I don't believe it until I actually see the damn thing happening. (I haven't been keeping up with comic geek news lately so for all I know it might have fallen through -- again.)

So you might get to see that flying owl after all.
posted by litlnemo at 4:13 AM on August 26, 2004

Well, grabbingsand, I stand corrected. I guess you morons will buy anything in spandex, won't you?

(FWIW, those numbers are gross, and they're supplied by the distributors, who have the most to gain by publicizing them while keeping the cost and associated net completely secret; you appear to be unaware of how "Hollywood accounting" works, but then, you also appear to like comic book movies, so let's just let it go at that...)
posted by JollyWanker at 5:39 AM on August 26, 2004

JollyWanker, if grabbingsand's numbers aren't valid when he claims that people actually do watch comic book movies in large numbers, what standard are you using to claim that no one actually watches them?

The audience is clearly there, seeing as how the grosses are higher than a lot of other films that came out this year, and the failure rate isn't any higher than that of, say, the romantic comedy genre (Catwoman and Van Helsing, I'm looking at you).

I will admit, however, that science fiction movies, as a genre, has a way of failing in a spectacular manner unsurpassed by others.
posted by deanc at 6:20 AM on August 26, 2004

ummm, there is a Watchmen movie in the works.
They're keeping a tight lid on cast and any other info.
Ain't it Cool News and Superhero Hype score a tidbit here and there though.
posted by Trik at 8:05 AM on August 26, 2004

What we really need is the Kingdom Come movie. (Which, for the record, has Grayson as (Red) Robin once again. But its canonicity as the DC future is uncertain..)
posted by darukaru at 10:34 AM on August 26, 2004

Yeah, Trik, I posted that link three posts above yours... ;)

darukaru, I would totally go for a Kingdom Come movie. Talk about a cast of thousands...!
posted by litlnemo at 2:11 PM on August 26, 2004

Wanker: I guess you morons will buy anything in spandex, won't you?

Ghost World,
Road to Perdition,
American Splendor,

Not all comic book adaptations involve pervert suits.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:01 PM on August 26, 2004

So... uh... where's the script? I don't really see how it's possible to have as much plot as there is alluded to in the trailer and actually have it work in a real movie that's under four hours long.

Killer trailer for sure, and I hope it gets its makers some great work, but I don't think it'll be as makers of the full-length version.
posted by endquote at 6:26 PM on August 26, 2004

No, I'm sure they won't be able to make the full version of Grayson, although it could be a good television show.

I wish I'd used my weekends as productively.
posted by yellowcandy at 11:09 PM on August 31, 2004

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