EXCLUSIVE: Interview With KILL SHAKESPEARE Creators Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With KILL SHAKESPEARE Creators Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery

<font color= red>EXCLUSIVE:</font> Interview With KILL SHAKESPEARE Creators Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery

Fans of the acclaimed IDW title won't want to miss this exclusive interview with creators Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery. Click the jump to read about the difficulties of creating the series and whether or not fans can expect more from the Kill Shakespeare world. SPOILER WARNING!

For those not familiar with Kill Shakespeare, creators Anthony and Conor created a world in which some of the Bard's most memorable characters; such as Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Falstaff, Romeo and Puck, journey to find the reclusive wizard named William Shakespeare to aid them in defeating the dark forces led by Lady Macbeth and Richard III. A fantastic story which, much like Fables, creatively brings together the various characters of Shakespeare into a tale you'll enjoy from start to finish. Especially if you're a Shakespeare fan, like me.

What were some of the challenges you had creating this story and getting it published? How did you overcome them?

Anthony: The biggest challenge originally was finding the time and the right medium to tell our tale. Conor and I came up with the idea eight years ago but were so incredibly busy at the time (I was in the music industry as a manager, Conor in broadcast journalism as a writer/producer) that the story took a back seat to everything else originally. But it was the idea that was gnawing away at us, asking to be told. We then had to figure out the best medium for the tale (film, game, theatre) and eventually came to the conclusion that the kinetic action and bold characters would be best in the pages of a comic.

Conor: I think a big challenge has been growing as writers. The quality of the work from the beginning of the series to the end has changed- - both for us and for artist Andy Belanger. When you look at what Andy did towards the end of the first run… man, he’s really blowing the door off the page. I think the other challenge is trying to have a story that is both epic in scope yet focused.

What influenced this story besides the many works of William Shakespeare?
C: Well, for me, the fantasy epics of Tolkien, Eddings, Salvatore, Weiss and Hickman and McCaffery all occupied a LOT of space in my brain. Comic-wise I grew up loving Spider-Man, The X-Men and Excalibur, and stuff like The New Warriors. That then led me to Transmetropolitain, Lucifer, 100 Bullets and that pushed me to Joe Sacco’s stuff, as well as graphic novels like Black Hole and Blankets

A: In addition to Shakespeare? Well, writers like Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay) and Bill Willingham (Fables) were major influences for me in terms of the medium. On a grander scale, epic stories like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings really pushed forward the adventure and quest aspect of the tale. An finally, Tom Stoppard, Baz Luhrmann and Kenneth Branagh, all of whom have crafted incredible takes on the Bard’s works.

Since both Conor and you have had experience in film and television, any chance we fans can expect a mini-series or film for Kill Shakespeare?

A: Conor and I are actually adapting the story at the moment as a feature film. We’ve received quite a number of inquiries from LA and Hollywood but have decided to develop it ourselves instead of selling it or optioning it outright. The screenplay is coming along really well and we’ve received assistance and guidance from organizations as diverse as Canada’s The Harold Greenberg Fund, Telefilm Canada and also the Sundance Institute.

C: Although I have to say that more and more I am leaning towards television. I think that would be the perfect medium – like comics it has an episodic element but it also allows a lot more room for multi-character storytelling than many films do, Plus, from a practical point I think we’d have a better shot of meaningful creative control/contribution on a Game of Thrones like TV show over a LOTR style trilogy…

With having Hamlet and Romeo in the series, what made you decide to put Juliet with Hamlet? Did you worry or wonder some fans wouldn't react well to keeping Romeo and Juliet separated?

C: I wasn’t too worried, I thought people would find Juliet taking another path interesting, though we have a lot of plans for the three characters in the future. So Juliet may not be choosing Hamlet in the long run…

A: There are a LOT of discussions about how serious Juliet and Romeo actually are in the original play – are they really in love, or is it just a teenage idealistic view of love? This is something that really interested me and by putting a third party into the mix allows us to see what Juliet would choose to do if she met Romeo at a different point in her life.

I read somewhere that this was intended to be a 12 issue series but with the final panel it seems like there is some unfinished business with Lady Macbeth. Is there more to come in the Kill Shakespeare world?

A: Spoiler alert… There is definitely more stories to be told but that’s all I can say at the moment…

C: I’ll say that we’ve been working on scripts that go beyond film or the stage…

Here's a fun question: If the series were to be adapted for either television or the big screen; who would you like to play Lady Macbeth, Hamlet, Juliet AND The Creator William Shakespeare?

C: I think Juliane Moore would be a great Lady M. I’m partial to Ben Foster for Hamlet, but I could also see someone like Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the role. As for Juliet? Well there are a TON of ingénues who would be intriguing, but being Canadian I think Allison Pill could do a GREAT job.

A: And for Shakespeare, it would be fun to have a great cameo that isn’t even listed in the credits (like Kevin Spacey in Se7en). I won’t reveal what we’re thinking but it would probably be one of the UK’s top actors…

What are some of the most difficult things about killing off a character (if any)?

A: I love killing off characters. I love the fact that in doing so it keeps the audience guessing along the way – is anyone safe? One of the reasons I love the movie Psycho so much is that the main character is killed off halfway through the film! Unprecedented. The most important thing is to make sure that the death is as impactful as possible – not only should it affect the plotline but also the main character in a very direct way (unless it’s the main character dying, of course…).

C: I’m not as bloodthirsty as Anthony… but for me the death has to mean something to really be interesting. A sacrifice, a betrayal, a cruel twist of fate… those are the type of deaths that get me jacked as a writer. But it is sad to say goodbye to the character who got offed. While Faulkner said to ‘kill your darlings’ I don’t know if he meant that murder should be easy on the conscience.

What was your favorite scene to write?

C: I gave this a bit of as think and I don’t think I really had one… not one that stood out above all the others. Iago’s final scene in the series was a cool one as was Falstaff’s. He’s a fun character to write when he’s being jocular but he’s really amazing to write when he’s in Obi-Wan mode.

A: Without a doubt it was the Juliet and Romeo reunion scene. To me it’s such a powerful part of Hamlet’s story – as well as the overall tale – and when I first sat down and wrote it (in a very early story treatment years ago) I shed a tear. Really powerful stuff.

Do you have any words of advice for any of our readers who want to become writers in the comic book industry?

A: We do workshops on this all the time at conventions and schools but always think about your brand. It sounds like corporate-speak but it’s really important – how are you going to position yourself at every moment that makes you unique and different from everyone else that’s trying to break into the industry – or is already in the industry.

C: I’m going to disagree for a moment on that – the brand idea is important, but I think the first thing to focus on is what sort of stories do you like the most. Don’t try to write something that is edgy, or romantic, or horrific unless that is the sort of story that really speaks to you. At least for the first few times out. Once you’ve really established your voice than you can start dabbling in genres that may not be your natural forte. Once you’ve started to get a sense of what you want to write and why those stories appeal to you I think you can do a much better job of writing them, after that the brand aspect of it all starts to become much more obvious.

Any new projects in the works fans should keep a look out for? If so, what?

C: Not too much, no. Kill Shakespeare eats up most of our life although if an editor out there is looking for a writer or two for a project we’ll listen.

A: We’re working on some other projects but at the moment are busy with a jam-packed spring convention tour (eleven conventions in eleven weeks) and everything else in the Kill Shakespeare world. But it’s great – I love working on Kill Shakespeare and getting people excited about our series and the works of the Bard!

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