Last month, Archaia Entertainment announced that "The Crow" producer Edward R. Pressman had acquired the rights to "Feeding Ground," Archaia's horror graphic novel created by Swifty Lang, Michael Lapinski and Chris Mangun. The story follows Diego Busqueda, a smuggler who ferries people across the U.S.-Mexico border, and his family as they're caught between drug cartel members, the U.S. Border Patrol and a pack of werewolves.
CBR News spoke with Pressman about the impetus to develop "Feeding Ground" into a film, bringing on Alfonso Gomez-Rejon as director and Carlos Coto as screenwriter, the depth of the comic book medium for film storytelling and an update on the upcoming reboot of "The Crow" movie.
CBR News: Edward, what initially drew you to "Feeding Ground" as a story that would make a compelling feature film?
Edward Pressman: It struck me as a unique story of survival that is very distinctive from the typical "border story." "Feeding Ground" is not steeped in border politics or stereotypes, rather it tells the story of the Busqueda family's tremendous struggle to put their personal issues aside and band together to survive werewolf predators as they cross The Devil's Highway. "Feeding Ground" brings never-before-seen elements to both the werewolf genre and the "border story."
"Feeding Ground" was unique as a graphic novel in that its hardcover edition was published simultaneously in both English and Spanish, which helped it resonate across a number of different audiences. How do you think a "Feeding Ground" film will be able to replicate that energy as a live-action movie?
True, and I think the film will resonate with an even wider audience. It will push the boundaries of culture and genre. Borders can be physical, mental, and emotional. The Busquedas need to break down the borders that divide their family in order to successfully cross the U.S. border. Their personal struggles could happen to any family living anywhere in the world, but here, the stakes are higher because werewolves are on the prowl.
With "The Avengers" setting records at the box office, comic book adaptations are certainly on everyone's mind. As a longtime producer in the film industry, what do you think makes comic book movies like "Feeding Ground" so compelling for the big screen?
Comic book movies, like "Feeding Ground," offer the audience a fantasy world where an unlikely underdog hero fights to see "good" ultimately prevail over "evil." I think these are themes with which diverse audiences relate.
Are there certain plot elements, sequences or panels from the "Feeding Ground" graphic novel that called out to you as being perfect for a film adaptation?
"Feeding Ground" writer Swifty Lang, artist Michael Lapinski and co-creator Chris Mangun did a fantastic job creating and visualizing the story. I found myself particularly drawn to the scenes in which we see the world through the eyes of the young daughter Flaca as she transforms into a werewolf. Her view of the world meshes well with traditional Mexican folk art and will be very powerful when seen on a big screen. The desert also provides a great stage for playing tricks on the minds of the characters.
Why do you feel Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and Carlos Coto are the right creative talents to direct and write the on screen adaptation, respectively?
We were introduced to Alfonso by Rodrigo Prieto, a great DP and Cinematographer who we worked with on "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" and who worked with Alfonso on such films like "Babel," "State of Play" and the upcoming "Argo." With Alfonso we have an immensely talented, up-and-coming director who understands and has a passion for the material. He grew up in Texas on a border town, so he has a real sense of the culture and the people who live along the border. Alfonso has an inspired vision for the film. We became interested in Carlos Coto after reading a compelling script of his about a young boy's journey to cross the U.S. border. It turns out that Carlos had done field research there and was seriously into comic books. They were a natural match for the film, and together they will deliver a powerful story to redefine the werewolf genre.
Obviously, this isn't the first time you've produced a film based on a comic book. You've produced for both "Conan the Barbarian" and iterations of "The Crow" -- two films on different ends of the genre spectrum. How did your experience working on projects like these influence your decision to produce "Feeding Ground?"
I've always enjoyed many different film genres and while these three films are all based on comic books, they are each unique in their own right. "Conan" was a sword and sandals film, while "The Crow" was dark and romantic. "Feeding Ground" is going to be a pervasive thriller. In my experience, it's best to keep it interesting for myself and for the audience. "Twilight" has killed the market for Vampire films for a while, so I hope everyone likes werewolves.
Speaking of "The Crow," you're currently helming a remake of the 1994 film. "The Crow" has had a rocky history on screen, and it seems the remake is still finding its footing in terms of creative talent. What can you tell us about the current status of the project?
The original 1994 "Crow" film holds a special place in my heart. The current film is a "reinvention" of James O'Barr's graphic novel for the 21st Century. We're thrilled to have teamed with director Javier Gutierrez and screenwriter Jesse Wigutow on this story, which remains true to the core of Eric Draven's plight for revenge.
The vision for the remake is also (so far) fairly unclear -- can you shed any light on the overall aura of the new film?
Giving too much away wouldn't be any fun. "Disorder, chaos, anarchy -- now that's fun!"
What other projects are you currently looking forward to being seen by the public eye?
We're developing a lot of exciting projects including a reinvention of "Bloodsport" that will team screenwriter Robert Kamen with director Phlllip Noyce for the first time, and "The Monkey Wrench Gang" which is based on the Edward Abbey book of the same name and is to be written and directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. Though the two films are of very different genres, they promise not to disappoint.