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Director Talks Superman: Brainiac Attacks
Curt Geda knows his superheroes. After working as a storyboard designer on the 1993 fan-favorite home video feature Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, he went on to helm episodes of The New Batman Adventures, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond and X-Men Evolution. In addition, the talented director has put his stamp on the feature-length outings Batman Beyond: The Movie, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman. After recently hopping over to the Marvel universe to bring fans the direct-to-video feature Ultimate Avengers and the upcoming Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther, Geda returned to DC’s main attraction with Warner Home Video’s all-new adventure, Superman: Brainiac Attacks.
A feature-length continuation of the popular 1996 show, Superman: The Animated Series, Brainiac Attacks sees the man in tights taking on old enemies Lex Luthor and Brainiac, while also wrestling with his desire to disclose his identity to the lovely Miss Lane. Series voicers Tim Daly (Clark Kent/Superman) and Dana Delaney (Lois Lane) reprise their roles in this action-packed story animated by Lotto Animation in South Korea.
As Super-mania grips the world, Geda was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about producing and directing the last son of Krypton’s return to animation.
Animation Magazine Online: As beloved as the series is, there must have been a lot of pressure to please the fans with Brainiac Attacks. What were some key elements this movie had to have?
Curt Geda: As I had felt very fortunate to work at Warner Bros. Animation at the time when they changed the face of action/adventure animated cartoons, I was thrilled when they called with the opportunity to produce and direct this film, Superman: Braniac Attacks. The Superman series had been my first experience as a director more than ten years ago and this superhero has always held a soft spot in my heart. Warner Home Video desired the ‘classic’ style of the series for the fans, but they also wanted humor and a certain lightness in its tone as per the first two feature movies. As to my personal vision for the film, I wanted to inject humor, romance, explore the use of the secret identity and tie it all together in an epic look. [Writer] Duane Capizzi was very important, and he always brings a sense of humor to a story. We pushed the romance angle up a bit and made it multi-level. Duane did a terrific job in capturing a voice for the characters. The storyboard crew embraced the humor angle with their staging, but always respected the animated series by never resorting to camp.
Was there an attempt to update the animation style a bit, or was the team dedicated to matching the look and feel of the series?
Geda There was a conscious effort to capture the very best of the series style. My knowledge of the evolution of the series helped me to decide what needed to change and what worked better as it was. The small pre-production crew was extremely talented and brought a fresh and epic look. Sequence director Doug Murphy has a theory on staging similar to mine and was of crucial help keeping the action strong despite our extremely short schedule. Marina Levikova was a designing machine. She gave us background layouts and environments that were iconic, lush and emotional. Kyle Jolly, associate producer, was creatively involved and skillfully kept us on time and on budget. A huge recognition goes to Lotto Animation in South Korea. Mr. Doh and his crew gave us some amazing animation even though the animation is so demanding and larger than life.
What are you working on next?
Geda: The only constant in the industry is to look for the next project, so that’s what I’ll do. But for the moment, my wife and I are doing some home renovations while I rest and recharge. Meanwhile, I’m trying my hand at writing and developing my own property while I’m trying to finish my ceiling on time and on budget.
Superman: Brainiac Attacks is now available from Warner Home Video, and comes with a free ticket for Warner Bros.’ blockbuster theatrical feature, Superman Returns.