EXCLUSIVE: Former WWE Wrestlers Shad Gaspard And Marc Copani Talk ASSASSIN & SON
Marc Copani and Shad Gaspard (known as Muhammad Hassan and Cryme Tyme respectively during their time in the WWE) recently revealed their 255 page graphic novel called Assassin and Son: Path of Vengeance. Set in present day New York, the story follows Donovan Braddock; a one-man killing unit who works with a team of assassins known as "The Horsemen." When Braddock tries to leave his old life behind, his wife is murdered in front of him and his young son, sending them both on an epic journey of revenge and consequence that becomes their "Path of Vengeance." Needless to say, it sounds pretty damn cool and should make for a great film. For more information on Assassin and Son, go to AssassinAndSon.com and check out the trailer below and a sneak peek HERE. You can find Shad on Twitter at @Shadbeast and Mark at @MarkCopani.
You may remember Shad Gaspard and Marc Copani from their time in the WWE, but they have now teamed up to write Assassin & Son: Path of Vengeance and talk here about the graphic novel, the planned big screen adaptation, which superheroes they would like to play and much, much more.
Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourselves and how you actually met?
Shad Gaspard: Well, out of the guys at that bar that night Marc was the only one that caught my attention. (Laugh) Na, just kidding, there were other guys. We met while in WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) Developmental territory OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling). It’s where WWE sends guys to train before they debut on TV.
Marc Copani: I think we spent about 3 years down there together. We even used to live in the same apartment complex.
Have you both always been comic books fans?
SG: Hell Yeah! Comics, anime, games, that’s how I live my life. I just happen to have muscles.
MC: I used to collect X-Men, Spider-Man, Superman, all of the major comics when I was a kid. Wolverine was my favorite though. As I got older I got more into graphic novels. I love Vertigo's Preacher and 100 Bullets.
How and when did the idea of Assassin & Son: Path of Vengeance occur to you guys?
SG: I came up with the premise of the idea which I wrote, and brought to Marc. After telling me it sucked so many times, I finally wrote something that caught his attention and he was on board.
MC: Haha... I might have been that harsh... The second time I looked at it, I loved the story. I think I spent over a year straight working off of Shad's original script.
When it came to writing together, what exactly did that process involve?
SG: It involved a lot of "Dude that’s f’ing stupid", "You’re stupid", "That makes no sense", "You make no sense." Not talking for a few days, then eventually we would talk, compromise, then get a good idea out of the fighting.
MC: Clearly, we work well together. I think we fought a little because we were both passionate about the final product. It worked out pretty well, and after a while we began trusting each other's opinions. Like anything else, it took practice, but now when we work on something we're a bit more open to the other's ideas and I know I trust his opinion a lot more now too.
What made Eder Messias the right guy to handle the artwork?
SG: We looked at a lot of artists because we wanted someone who could do anime, but still have his own style. We had three well known artists, who lots of guys on our team where pushing for, but there was something about Eder’s work that drew us to him, so we took a gamble, and I’m glad we did.
MC: Yeah, the artwork is so unique that its hard to define... in a good way. I was blown away when I began seeing the drawings.
For anyone who may not have read about the graphic novel, what should they expect from the book?
SG: A good story. No matter what you think, this is not "Lone Wolf & Cub". This is a strong story that is character driven, with multicultural themes that are basic, yet spiritual to all. Add some badass art, cool twists, and you have Assassin & Son.
MC: It really is a dynamic, multi-faceted story with a lot of plot twists and some downright epic moments. It never really slows down, but the plot doesn't bend to fit the action, the action bends around the plot so its familiar and easy to follow, but still kick-ass.
Should we expect a follow-up?
SG: So far the way we have it set up is that the Graphic Novel introduces you into this world, but we do have three completed screen plays for the film adaptation, including the sequel & follow up, the cartoon, and the Video Game Adaptation being developed by Evil Tree Studios out of Vegas.
So, there has indeed been any talk of an Assassin & Son: Path of Vengeance movie then?
SG: Actually yes, we are working with Eisenberg/Fisher at Paramount studios to find the franchise a home. We’ve had good offers and are still receiving more, but we hope to have a permanent team and home soon so we can get rolling on the film and video game to tell the back-story of all the Horsemen.
MC: The story has so many dimensions, that it easily evolved into a few different forms of media. I think both of us have been pleased with the response to the Path of Vengeance screenplay, but we'll be thrilled to find the right fit and really take off on this project. It was meant for the screen, it's visually stunning, which comes off in the graphic novel, but the dramatic elements really need a stage to come to life.
Would either of you be interested in starring in it?
MC: Na, not for me, I could see someone like Gerard Butler playing Lorenzo.
SG: (Laughing) Funny you say that. Yeah we are sort of doing the, Ben Affleck/ Matt Damon thing. At first we didn’t write it with the intention for me to play Braddock, but after awhile a lot of my celebrity friends said we had a Rocky on our hands and I should pull a Sylvester Stallone. I have the acting and physical ability to play the role so why not go for it. As much as I agree with them we are going to explore someone else playing the lead roles.
Talking movies, both of you guys have the look and build of a superhero. Are there any characters you would be interested in playing up on the big screen?
SG: I’m not that guy to do the whole web campaigns for a role thing, but I am a comic fan, and I do read things. I’ve read people saying I would be good for Luke Cage, seeing as how I fit the comic description, 6’6”, black, and a bad motherfucker. Plus I find it funny that I’m the youngest of the guys people talk about for the role. Besides I don’t want to do the whole "PICK ME! PICK ME!" thing on the web, it’s just not my style. Put me in a room with a camera and I’ll let my acting speak for itself. I will say this though, if I got an audition for the role to show what I could do that would be awesome. The only other roles I think I fit are Erik Killmonger (Blackpanther Villon) or Icon (DC/Millstone).
MC: I also think I fit the bill for the Luke Cage role...
SG: (Laughing) Ass.
A lot of our readers will know you from your time in the WWE. What are you both up to now?
SG: I’m doing well, during wrestling I made sure to have a good safety net so I could peruse acting without putting hardships on my family. So far I’ve done Shakespearian Theater, some TV shows & films, and I just recently did a web series think with Fast & Furious Director Justin Lin for YOMYOMF.
MC: I actually followed a different path since my days in the WWE. Right now, I'm teaching high school history in New York and finishing my Masters Degree with a Certificate of Advanced Study in building Administration. With the summer coming up though, Shad and I plan on working on another project together, which is always fun for me!
Thanks for answering my questions guys!
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