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I was a big fan of the WWE about 10 to 15 years ago, but I've lapsed a bit in my fandom. Since then, the organization has grown and evolved, becoming a blockbuster in the entertainment world. The folks at WWE Studios held a panel at New York Comic Con to discuss some of their upcoming projects, including See No Evil 2 and Leprechaun: Origins.
Joining the panel were WWE Studios President Michael Luisi, Leprechaun: Origins director Zach Lipovsky, WWE Superstar and new Leprechaun Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl, See No Evil 2 directors the Soska Sisters, and Glen “Kane” Jacobs, who plays Jacob Goodnight in the See No Evil films. The panel was moderated by a nervous guy from Fangoria. Once everyone was introduced and seated, the questions began.
The moderator asked about the return of both franchises. See No Evil came out in 2006 and the last Leprechaun film (Back 2 tha Hood) was released in 2003. Was this the right time to bring them back? Luisi explained that they were all big fans of both series and felt that they could make them relevant with new directors. Each of them were chosen based on their previous work; The Soska Sisters for American Mary and Lipovsky for his series of short films.
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Jen and Sylvia Soska spoke about how they were big WWE fans before they were approached to direct See No Evil 2. When meeting Jacobs, who is most famous for portraying the character Kane in the ring, it took the two of them about 30 seconds just to walk into the room. They “fangirled out.”
When asked about what they intended to do with the character of Jacob Goodnight in the sequel to See No Evil, the Soska Sisters said that they were excited to work on a big project with an actual budget. They were able to do things that they weren't able to do in previous films due to limitations. Fans that wished for more from the first film will find a lot to enjoy here. The pair then joked that they would teach Jacobs to direct if he'd teach them how to wrestle. This was all said on stage as they were posing for pictures for fans out in the audience. They seem like really fun people to hang out with.
Jacobs spoke about the changes made to his character in the new film. While he apparently died at the end of the original, he of course finds a way to come back. Jacobs felt that the Soska Sisters brought a new element to See No Evil 2 and allowed him to explore the back story and personality of his character. He explained that he is most interested in the psychology of the people and felt that this offered the opportunity to add more depth to Goodnight.
The filming for See No Evil 2 was incredibly fast, taking only 15 days. It was shot at a former mental institution which added to the creepy factor of the movie as it's a ready-made environment for a horror tale. All of the crew had ghost stories about strange things happening on set.
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On the Leprechaun: Origins front, Lipovsky said that they wanted to start fresh. This is a new world and a new version of the character. The idea was to take something that seems harmless and make it so scary that you want to puke. I'm thinking this means looking at the guy on the Lucky Charms box and turning him into a total monster. I'm OK with that. Postl joked that he'd like to do more films, but he is definitely not going to the hood or to space. Those are two places that he does not belong. Jacobs said that he might go into the hood or space though.
Surprisingly, neither Lipovsky nor Postl had much experience with the original Leprechaun films. I guess this helps to some extent as they won't lean on what came before. They hoped to so something new with Origins. Lipovsky said that he wasn't a massive fan of the other films while Postl had actually never seen them. Postl went on to say that the director's vision is totally different than what came before (although how he could know this without seeing the films is anyone's guess). There's not much joking involved with the character. There was a lot of makeup involved in the filming, but the actor said that it was well worth it. This is also a complete 180 from his WWE character, which is very kid friendly.
The subject of rating came up. Lipovsky said that he wanted to take it as far as possible. This prompted Luisi to chime in with “R, Yes. NC-17, No.” The Soska Sisters said that they had to cut out one scene with their film as a result. This segued into a discussion about future plans for WWE Studios. Luisi explained that there's a lot of overlap between WWE fans and horror fans, so this is seen as a big opportunity. There are other projects in the works but nothing that has been announced yet.
The idea of a crossover was tossed around, mostly in a joking manner. It was fun to see the directors immediately jump into planning mode, outdoing each other's ideas on the spot. First it was a vs. film between Jacob Goodnight and the Leprechaun which escalated to the title of “Good Night Leprechaun.” This was met with a high five if I remember correctly. Postl did not find this amusing at all as he's a fraction of the size of his opponent. He simply said, “I do not want to do this. I think I'll be losing that one.” to which Jacobs replied, “I agree.”
Luisi then showed what he called “first encounters” of both films. These were short scenes to give fans a taste of what is currently being worked on. They were rough cuts and neither of them showed the main character. The Leprechaun: Origins clip had a terrified young woman spot something of small stature run by her window while the See No Evil 2 scene had a body brought into a morgue which then coughed up some blood. No release date has been set yet for either movie, but they are expected out in 2014.
The panel was then opened up to Q&A for the fans. There were a few wrestling questions that popped up, but fortunately most of the fans asked about the films. Returning to the idea of a crossover, Michael Myers and Jason were shot down, but Chucky was brought up. This was also mentioned at the Chucky 25th Anniversary panel two days before so hopefully the studio execs realize that fans are very interested in the idea.
A fan asked the Soska Sisters if they had Whopper Wednesdays like they did for their previous film, but unfortunately the nearest Burger King was way too far away. Instead they opted to get to the set an hour and a half early to hug everyone. Meanwhile, Lipovsky instituted High Fives at Five on the Leprechaun: Origins set, which was a mandatory stop to give everyone high fives. It was weird at firs,t but then the crew started to get mad if the time passed and they didn't get their high five.
We'll keep you posted on both See No Evil 2 and Leprechaun: Origins as more information becomes available.
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