Exclusive Interview With RUBICON Director Christian Johnston, Watch The First Episode Now
What do you get when writers Mark Long and Chris McQuarrie team up to re-imagine Seven Samurai set during the War in Afghanistan? Fast moving action and kick-ass characters dominate this Machinima prequel from director Christian Johnston and starring Matt Bushell.
The Rubicon prequel arrived in my inbox couple of days ago and I watched it with with very low expectations. But, after watching the 12-minute episode, consider me a huge fan of the concept. The project is a prequel to the 2012 Archaia and Meteor Entertainment graphic novel written by retired Army Major Mark Long (The Silence of our Friends), Seal Team Six founding member Dan Capel and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Jack Reacher, Edge of Tomorrow). The project was first announced back in 2011 at NY Comic-Con as a transmedia project aiming for a feature length film and video game in addition to a graphic novel. Fast forward to 2014 and we have a pilot from director Christian Johnston that features Matt Bushell as the rough and ready CIA operative Mike and Ken Lally as his handler, Smash. Ahead of today's release on Machinima, I had the opportunity to speak with Johnston about how the project began where it's aiming to venture. Johnston told me the series is "based heavily on Dan Capel's experience as a Seal Team Six operative" as well as the experiences of Christopher McQuarrie's brother, Dough McQuarrie, who is a Navy Seal. "We sought to capture the authenticity of this world, of a Tier One operative navigating the sometimes messy joint-ventures between the CIA and FBI," said Johnston. And on the future of the series? "In a perfect world, the prequel series runs for 8-10 episodes and then we go on to follow Smash and Mike in a long-form, feature film version of this story", explained the director. Speaking of the character, Mike, I was drawn to the ruthless efficiency of the character and asked Christian about how Matt Bushell secured the role. He explained, "I met Mike a couple of years ago on another project and I've been wanting to work with him for a a while now. For Mike, we needed someone with a certain level of bravado and who could execute the choreography of the action. We definitely pushed Matt on this project but he's done many similar role prior to this and he took to it very well."
In terms of comic books and what Christian likes to read, he told me he's a big Frank Miller fan. "I've always loved Frank Miler and 300 but these days, I'm drawn to the modern-spy thriller. I'm also a big fan of DMZ by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli. I'm also creating my own graphic novel which follows the famous Japanese samurai, Miyamoto Musashi." Jumping back to Rubicon, I asked Christian about the look of the series which he explained, "Machinima has a young, smart audience who knows what they want which is something different from the normal production. We wanted the series to visually be more gritty and less plastic-looking than something you would see on tv." Lastly, I asked the director about what type of buzz he hopes the pilot creates and he shared, "I wanted to take viewers down a fun rabbit hole of military espionage while staying true to progressing towards the story in the graphic novel. Hopefully folks tune in and demand more."
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