PETER SIMETI INTERVIEW
Interview conducted by Richelle Charkot
Peter Simeti, creator of the graphic novel The Chair, gets in touch with us to talk about the story's future film adaptation.
Richelle Charkot: Tell me about the plot of The Chair.
Peter Simeti: Richard Sullivan is an innocent man on death row, witnessing the torture and murder of his fellow inmates at the hands of the prison's Warden. The Warden's a mean and sadistic psychopath that's dealing out his own version of justice, extracting some real brutal punishments on some of the prisoners: sawing their legs off, cutting them in half, and some more twisted stuff that viewers will just have to see to believe. So Sullivan decides he has to fight back, otherwise the same fate will become of him and in doing so he's pushed to the brink of sanity.
RC: Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?
PS: Probably from a few places, it's a relatively grounded story even though it's purely fiction, sprinkled with some Twilight Zone and Batman (particularly Arkham Asylum stories) influence.
RC: What are some of your comic book influences?
PS: Growing up, I really loved Spider-Man and Uncanny X-Men (and later on X-Men with [Chris] Claremont and [Jim] Lee). As I got older, I moved on to Batman and Detective Comics and then eventually really digging a lot of indie titles from Image, Dark Horse, Top Shelf, and more.
Bill Oberst Jr. as The Warden
RC: What are some of your horror influences?
PS: I'm a big fan of all '70s and '80s horror films, I'll pretty much watch anything from that time period. As far as books go, Clive Barker and the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series are some of my favorites.
RC: What would you do if you ran into the psychopathic Warden in the grocery store?
PS: [laughs] Well, that's a question I've never thought about answering. I guess I honestly wouldn't have much to fear because the Warden, although he's psychotic and sadistic, still has a sort of code where he believes he's doling out justice in the truest sense of the word.
RC: Were you a horror fan growing up? If so, what were some of your favourites? If not, what was your first experience with horror?
PS: Yeah, I've always been a horror fan. I remember when I was 6 or 7 years old, asking my mom if she could tape Nightmare on Elm Street for me because it was going to be on past my bedtime! [laughs]
RC: In regards to casting, at what moment do you know that an actor is perfect for the role?
PS: Hmm, I think a lot about casting a film has to be a combination of a gut feeling and basing a future performance on an actor's past roles. Obviously, this was my first time casting a film, so who knows how it'll go – BUT – I've got a great feeling about this cast, they're all more-than-capable actors and I feel that they're perfect for their respective roles.
Click the banner to support The Chair on Kickstarter.
RC: I have seen comic book films that seem to use their predecessors as storyboards, and some comic book films that very loosely use the original material - how direct of an adaptation will The Chair be?
PS: The Chair will be about 80% based on the comic. Erin Kohut (who edited the graphic novel) adapted the story for film and her screenplay is just great. A few parts have been added on, characters have a bit more depth to them, and there's more "show" and less "tell", which is always essential to a film. We're aiming to have this become one of those rare films that's better than the book. [laughs]
RC: Tell us about the Kickstarter project the film. Where will money be spent, what are incentives for pledges, etc.
PS: At the time of this interview, we've got 23 days left on the Kickstarter and we're at about $22k out of the $300k needed to reach the goal. Kickstarter's a weird one though because just that "one" thing that gets you the right exposure, could completely make your campaign. So there's lots of time left and we still have more to do! We've got some great videos from the cast on there right now, more to come too!
We urge everyone to pledge whatever they can and if you can't pledge, please share the project on Facebook and Twitter. Our rewards range from copies of the film and graphic novel, to signed props from the cast, and even an opportunity to have a speaking role or be an extra in the film. One of our most popular tiers is the $50 reward which gets you a copy of the film, graphic novel, and you get your name in the end credits of the film (which is pretty awesome!).
RC: What's it like seeing your characters come to life through the actors?
PS: Right now, I'm in the same boat as everyone else, having only been privileged with seeing Bill Oberst Jr. as the Warden (on our teaser trailer), and he really just knocked it out of the park. Such a great actor, we couldn't be happier about having his amazing creepy acting skills in the film. [laughs]
Once we get the budget raised and we see the rest of the characters come to life, that's definitely going to be an awesome experience, especially with a cast that includes Eric Roberts, Brian Thompson, Zach Galligan, Naomi Grossman, Noah Hathaway, Ezra Buzzington, Susan Eisenberg, Derrick Damions, Travis Love – the list goes on and on and on.
I know these guys will do great and I hope everyone comes along for the ride so you can all watch it this time next year and say, "I had a part in making that movie!"
HorrorTalk would like to thank Peter Simeti for taking the time to talk to us. You can follow him on Twitter or you can find out more about The Chair by clicking one of the links below.
The Chair Links: Kickstarter | Twitter
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