From Sketch to Screen: Moon Knight Blood and Silver
With the rise of the comic book movie, we all have a hero or title that we want to see turned into a full feature film. For every Batman or Avengers fan out there who gets what they want, there is a Blue Beetle, Runaways, Justice Society, or Squirrel Girl fan out there crossing their fingers and saying their prayers. For me, the hero was always going to be Moon Knight. For me, at least, my days of blind hope may be over. Moon Knight: Blood and Silver is a proof of concept film being made by Deviant Children Productions. I was lucky enough to snag some time with the writer/director of the film, Nicholas Ortiz. Mr. Ortiz is an enthusiastic artist and was excellent to talk to, here’s how it went.
CB.com: Go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself and what got you into movies and writing.
Nicholas: I am Nicholas Ortiz. I’m a writer/director working out of New York, New York. I grew up in the Bronx. I have always been enraptured by movies. I was born in 1983, so the days of VHS. I got to see some real gems like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and even had a babysitter who made me and my brothers watch the 1954 Godzilla…on Lazer Disc! I guess I decided to be a filmmaker when I was thirteen when I watched the original Evil Dead. I was watching it and even then I was like “Wow, this movie is insane and it’s funny and I’m screaming and I want to do this the rest of my life.”
CB.com: You are the first person I’ve talked to that has basically said,“Ash made me do it.”
Nicholas: Ash made me do it, yes. Ha ha.
CB.com: For the readers that don’t know, what is a proof of concept film?
Nicholas: It is essentially a test short film. Where you have this idea, and you want to execute it in a smaller more contained way, in the hope that someone will want to help you execute it in a much bigger fashion.
CB.com: So, kind of like a pilot for a feature film?
Nicholas: Essentially yeah.
CB.com: Alright. Well I poked around on Deviant Children’s web site and didn’t see anything in the superhero films. What made you want to break into that genre?
Nicholas: Well, Moon Knight, in a way, is the perfect balance of what Deviant Children filmography is. I’m a big horror movie fan, but I like martial arts and I love super hero movies. Moon Knight is a distillation of all of those genres brought together.
CB.com: You’ve read a lot of the source material, what can a fan such as myself look to see come through your Moon Knight?
Nicholas: I definitely tried my best to put in as much from the comic books as I could, characters, visuals, the “tone” of the character, as it were., so there are lot of obvious nods to the comics, but expect a few easter eggs, some overt, some not as much
CB.com: What have you changed for the silver screen?
Nicholas: Oh man, well I wanted to stay as faithful as I could, but as much as I want to give the fans what they want, I also wanted to not exclude any non fans who happen to be watching, if anything I really wanted to peek their interest. It was a very delicate balancing act. The changes I did make were more for the pace and timing of the film, to help streamline everything and make it accessible to everyone.
CB.com: I checked out the trailer, was that a werewolf he was fighting?
Nicholas: Yes…. Yes it was.
CB.com: Does that mean it is an origin story?
Nicholas: So remember those changes I was talking about? That would be one of them. We decided to flip the timeline around so that Moon Knight is now an established character in our world and Jack Russell is a new one coming in.
CB.com: Now, one of Moon Knight’s biggest issues is his Multiple Personality Disorder. I have to ask, is your Moon Knight crazy?
Nicholas: He is so crazy! Off the deep end! Again that was one of the appealing aspects, here is a superhero who even other superheroes are not comfortable around him. I remember the Civil War tie in issues, where Captain America, who has fought gods and whole alien races, approaches Moon Knight and flat out tells him to stay out of the fight! That’s how dangerously unstable Moon Knight is and we get to see that here.
CB.com: Is he religious? What about Khonshu?
Nicholas: Yes, Khonshu is definitely his god, I wish we could have had more time to really put him in the film, but his presence and influence are felt throughout.
CB.com: We have a lot of cosplay fans, were there any challenges with the make up or costumes?
Nicholas: Right away, the first challenge is that Moon Knight is wearing all white, and while in the comic books, the artist can add shading and shadows to make it look interesting, in HD video, white is a nightmare! It comes off very flat and very dull, with no detail on camera. Miodrag Guberinic is our brilliant Costume Designer and he was very much game on taking on a challenge like this. The cape is absolutely beautiful! It’s doubled lined, with an off white textured weave material on the outside and a black silk like material on the inside. This was done to help create some separation. It looks like an ancient robe. The suit is a light grey zentai suit that was custom fitted to lead actor/fight choreographer Orlando Cruz’s body. And while the suit is airbrushed, believe me, that is what Orlando looks like without the suit.
CB.com: Moon Knight has a full mask, did this give your actor any issues?
Nicholas: There were lots of challenges with the costume in general. The cape is great, but it was also extremely heavy, almost 10 pounds. So it had to be fitted in such a way so it would look cool and billow in the wind, but be able to get out of the way of the fight choreography. I can tell you right now, capes look awesome, but are completely impractical for any kind of fighting, Ha ha. But back to the mask, the mask was fine, but the HOOD was something else. I don’t know if you know this, but when you wear a hood of any kind and turn your head, the hood doesn’t move! So Orlando was to turn his head to face an opponent and be completely blinded by the hood. We figured out that the hood had to be pinned to the mask so it would turn with him. I have a new found respect for any actor who has been a superhero, it’s a lot harder than it looks!
CB.com: So we’ve been waiting to see this movie come out for awhile, has there been some kind of challenge keeping that from happening?
Nicholas: We had some casting issues up front, who knew getting a werewolf would be so difficult! We are based in New York and the weather this past year has not been very kind to us. We started in the spring and were rained out our first day of filming! Since it’s still a no budget show, we film on odd days and so for us, summer came very fast, it was too hot to ask Orlando to do action stuff in that costume. He’s a tough guy, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t want him to pass out on me. Then there was the Polar Vortex, and when it wasn’t -12 degrees, its was snowing. So we are waiting for the weather to be more consistent so that we can finally finish. We want to put the best project that we can and so it’s best that we wait it out than release something that would be subpar to the character.
CB.com: I asked you a lot about the challenges you faced, but I’m gonna change things up. What was your favorite part of working on Moon Knight: Blood and Silver.
Nicholas: I can tell you my favorite moment of filming! It was a 2nd day of filming and I hadn’t revealed the full costume to the cast that night. O the entire time, Orlando was in his street clothes and we shot as much as we could before we got to the full get up. I had the cast turn around and wait while Orlando changed and the look on their faces when they saw him for the first time, just beyond fulfilling.
So there you have it Moon Knight fans. Just be patient, because the gateway to getting our favorite white-clad super vigilante on the silver screen is in the excellent hands of Nicholas Ortiz and the excellent people at Deviant Children Productions.