EXCLUSIVE: Producer Megan Thomas Bradner Talks IRON MAN: RISE OF THE TECHNOVORE
We talk to producer Megan Thomas Bradner about Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore, touching on how the live-action movies influenced this release, choosing the right voice cast, collaborating with Madhouse and much, much more!
Following out chat with producer Harrison Wilcox (which you can find HERE), we had the chance to catch up with Megan Thomas Bradner to talk more about Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore. Megan has produced several of Marvel's Anime projects as well as the Iron Man: Armored Adventures animated series.
Firstly, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
I’m a Taurus, enjoy cold weather and hate long walks on the beach, or anything involving the beach. Oh, wait, not that type of …. well, okay then. Hm, Alaska girl by way of Boston for school and then been Hell Ay after that for Hollyweird shenanigans. I’m a comic fan who was in the right place at the right time and parlayed that into job getting to play in one of the best sandboxes in entertainment.
Did the Iron Man movies influence how this film came together at all?
Of course, you can’t diminish the role the Marvel Cinematic Universe has. Both in terms of building awareness and of popularizing the characters. Plus, Robert Downey Jr. really IS Tony Stark – charismatic smart bad boy. The way he plays Tony, what could be arrogance becomes confidence and would could be smarm becomes wit. It’s a hard line to walk, and if you get it wrong then you don’t want to spend a lot of time with Iron Man. But it’s something we wanted to aim for with the anime, and I think we more-or-less succeeded. Matt Mercer was a great Tony Stark and Iron Man, he could play the flippant devil may care of Tony Stark and the hero that’s Iron Man.
How does the process of working on a movie differ to that of a television series?
A movie is just one big macro story, and the TV series is a prolonged story – a series of little stories that build into something that’s greater than the sum of its parts. The film allowed us more time, our schedule wasn’t as compressed as the Iron Man anime TV series.
Did working on the animated Iron Man series’ help at all?
I think it helped in the sense that I got a window into what made Iron Man work, what made Tony Stark tick. I got to run the gamut, working with the character on our kid’s animation (Iron Man: Armored Adventures) and on the adult skewing anime (Iron Man anime TV series.)
As much as I loved the Armored Adventure show, and think we got to do some really cool stories (Magneto! Iron Man 2099! Extremis!) it also drove home for me that Iron Man’s redemption is an important facet of his character. That this is a man who’s literally breaks his own heart through his own actions and then proceeds to build a shell around himself and spend the rest of his life trying to help people, to make up for what he did. The flawed man Tony Stark was, and his quest to be the man he would like to be is a fascinating story. You take that piece of it out, and he becomes just a little less Tony Stark.
I do think the character suffers when he’s too much one of the other, when he’s Iron Man without the human element of Tony Stark or when it’s just board room hijinks and no Iron Man. You need that meld, that combination of the man and the armored avenger. We tried to find a balance between the two for this DTV. The anime TV Series felt like we had a lot of Tony Stark, and while I love Tony, I missed Iron Man. So we corrected that a bit in the TECHNOVORE feature.
How did you go about choosing the right voice cast for the movie?
A combination of luck and experience! We worked with Studiopolis, and Jamie Simone there was our voice director and helped with casting. He’s done a number of Marvel shows and has a good grasp on the characters and knows everyone in the animation game! Between him and Brandon Auman who brought us the talented Matt Mercer, and my colleague Harrison Wilcox who suggested Norman Reedus, we had a ridiculous bounty of talent gracing our project.
What was the collaboration with Madhouse like?
They’re great collaborators and very patient with our questions and notes. It’s a balancing act, we need to make sure it works in the Japanese marketplace and the rest of the world. We’re very open to Madhouse trying new things, to make sure it works for them, and sometimes they do and sometimes they opt for something more in line with the current Western Marvel portrayal. I like to think there’s room for all kind of styles in the Marvel Universe, from Walt Simonson to Ed McGuiness to Jerome Opena to Mike Deodato – the same holds true in animation. We contain multitudes! That’s the beauty of the Marvel Universe and of working with a partner like Madhouse!
Which other Marvel characters do you think would benefit from receiving the anime treatment?
Wow, there’s so many I’d like to see portrayed by Madhouse. Some, in TV series and some in DTVs. I would love to see another X-Men TV series given the teaser we planted at the end of that series. I think a Cloak and Dagger anime DTV would be super cool looking. Imagine it in the style of Texhnolyze.
Do you think we’ll one day see a Marvel animated movie on the big screen?
We can hope! I know I want to see one.
What else are you working on?
Some other super secret animated projects for foreign territories, and working in development with Jeph Loeb on our live action slate.
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