In comic books super powers are usually a blessing that turn a person into a superhero. Are super powers really a gift or are they an affliction that turns everyday life into a nightmare? This is one of the ideas explored in Myatt Murphy's comic book "Two Over Ten." The characters and concepts that Murphy created for "Two Over Ten" are being used as the basis for a feature film (entitled "Unleashed") and possible television series in development at Platinum Studios. CBR News recently chatted with Murphy and Platinum Studios head Scott Rosenberg about "Two Over Ten" and "Unleashed".
The world Murphy created for "Two Over Ten" is a rich, complex reality colored in shades of gray. Murphy elaborated, "'Two Over Ten' is probably the most complex story I've ever written. The premise is part reincarnation and what I like to call 'anti-mutation' meaning most fiction stories talk about mutation and the powers that can be created by it. In this case you've always had a power." In the world of 'Two Over Ten' every human being has an ability that resides inside them. They just don't have the ability to use the power within them.
Throughout history some individuals have been able to use their abilities. These people are the source of all paranormal events in the world of "Two Over Ten." "I wanted to create a story that tied in every unexplained phenomenon in a simple explanation," said Murphy, "that everyone has abilities and when one of us is allowed to have their ability these little glitches occur and unexplained phenomenon are attached to it."
When a person dies in "Two Over Ten" their soul is reincarnated into another body. The reincarnated soul brings the ability attached to it. "The tie-in with reincarnation is the fact that souls always continuously come back," Murphy explained. "When one person dies that power and soul go into the next person that's born."
"Two Over Ten" is a story where people have super powers, but it takes a more realistic look at super powers than your average comic book. You won't find spandex clad heroes, or cape wearing super villains in Murphy's world. One of the story's protagonists discovers he has the ability to explode things with his touch. Instead of turning him into a crusading hero, his new ability disrupts his life. He can't go to work or even touch his child without fear of the damage he could cause.
There is a secret society in the world of "Two Over Ten." They do not believe mankind is ready to make use of their inner abilities. This group called The Suppressors travel around the world turning "off" the abilities of people who have been able to manifest their powers. Like everything in "Two Over Ten," the actions of the Suppressors can not be viewed in black in white. Scott Rosenberg explained, "What happens to the person who you turn off their powers because something weird happens to their eyes, but you turn it off and they go blind?"
The five issues of "Two Over Ten" tell the story of Casey O' Beirne, a seventeen-year-old girl from Ireland who is a Suppressor. Casey awakes from a deep sleep to discover she has a frightening new mission. An infant child has been born with the ability to unlock the powers inside mankind. Casey and the child's father Brenden Wynne must decide if they can stop the child before it grows up to destroy the world.
Casey and Brenden's dilemma is an examination of the old moral dilemma, would you kill a monster before it had a chance to become one. In this case the ethical choice is more complex because one person deciding the future monster's fate is his father. Murphy elaborated, "I put it on the child's father which really is what makes that, 'would you do this' theory even richer because you can't imagine a father even thinking these thoughts. Would you choose the world over your own son?"
The ending of the original series leaves the story wide open for sequels. Murphy doesn't have current plans to revisit "Two Over Ten," but eventually wants to go back and tell more stories in that world.
When "Two Over Ten" began to appear in comic book stores, it caught the attention of Platinum Studios and it's chief Scott Rosenberg, "We Started reading it and we saw that there was really something there," Rosenberg said. "We also saw that there was a lot to what Myatt created, a whole universe there. So we just asked him a lot of questions about all of that and we asked him what is he comfortable with our messing around with and changing in terms of the development process."
When Murphy talked with Rosenberg he realized that he had found the right person to adapt his story for other mediums. "Scott got it. There was only a handful of reviewers and editors that got it; a couple of people over at Vertigo, Scott, Jim Johnson over at CBG (Comics Buyers Guide), and Nate Malby. They saw what I was trying to do."
After talking with Murphy, Platinum acquired the rights to develop a film and possibly a television series based on the world Murphy created in "Two Over Ten". Platinum is currently developing these concepts in a film called "Unleashed."
The Studio's press release described "Unleashed" as "The Fugitive" meets "Fire Starter." "Unleashed" follows the story of Brenden Wynne as he wakes up one day and discovers he has the terrifying ability to explode things with his touch. Law enforcement and an unknown enemy who seeks to exploit his ability pursue Wynne.
"Unleashed" is still in early stages of development so it is unclear how many of the characters and elements of "Two Over Ten" will end up in the final film. The idea of the suppressors might appear in the film, if a screenwriter is able to use them in a way that works. Rosenberg said, "It works just as well for a feature and leaves a lot of room for openings in the future if we just touch on things like the suppressors and bring it out more so in the sequel." Despite any changes being made, Rosenberg is confident "Unleashed" will remain true to the concept of "Two over Ten." "His core concept is so cool, I can't imagine not going with what the heart of the book is," said Rosenberg.
The budget for "Unleashed" is still being considered. It also will be decided based on the final script for the film. Rosenberg estimated anywhere between $20-80 million depending on the film's script, which actors will star in the film and what direction they go with the film, whether it be accessible to all ages or more targeted for an older audience.
If "Unleashed" succeeds at the box office the world of "Two Over Ten" might also appear on the small screen. Platinum's current plans are to spin a television series off from "Unleashed." However, it is also possible that the characters and ideas from "Two Over Ten" might appear on television first. "We may find in development that we choose to go TV first," said Rosenberg. "That's not currently our plan, but as we're going through it, there's just so much to this world it's possible that we may start playing around with that (TV) first. So, we're kind of open on both sides. I think it's perfect either way which is kind of unusual for a property."
Platinum welcomes any input from Murphy as "Unleashed" goes through the development process. Rosenberg said that Platinum always goes to creators first and asks for input when developing comic book movies. Murphy is happy to answer any questions Platinum has, but he trusts the studio implicitly with his work. "I'm not a movie producer," said Murphy. "Nor, am I screenwriter yet. So its something that I want to be in the right hands and Scott seems to find incredibly talented people for those niches."
Murphy was not sure which actor would be good to play Brenden Wynne, the protagonist of "Unleashed". He has never thought about an actor portraying the character. He explained, "I haven't given it much thought because the character was partially based on my father when he was younger. I'd be curious to see who someone would match him up with."
A trade paperback collecting all five issues of "Two Over Ten" is available through Diamond Distributors or directly from Second to Some Studios. "Unleashed" is one of many comic book movies currently in development at Platinum Studios.