Static has enjoyed a good amount of success for a superhero since the DC Comics character was introduced in 1993.
The comic book series "Static Shock," became a Saturday morning cartoon series, which lasted for four seasons starting in 2000. It was also part of DC's "New 52" titles, introduced last August, although the series is ending after eight issues this month. (DC Comics is owned by Time Warner, the owner of CNN.)
One medium the character has yet to crack, however, is the big screen, and Stefan Dezil hopes to change all that.
Dezil raised the money to shoot a 13-minute short film about the character, and - like "Archetype," a science fiction success story - he hopes the film will show a feature-length film could work. The result is "Static Shock Blackout."
Dezil spoke to CNN Geek Out about the project.
CNN Geek Out: What inspired you to do this and how did the project come about?
Dezil: I was a junior in college and had just seen Kevin Tancharoen's viral short, "Mortal Kombat: Rebirth." The film is a slick, vibrant and fresh interpretation of the Mortal Kombat Universe. I wanted to make a movie along those lines which could garner attention from Hollywood studios and audiences around the globe. Kevin's film inspired me to get the resources myself to make "Static" happen. I love superhero films. And I also want opportunities to act as well as direct. Through my research of heroes who had not been seen in live action, I chose Static. He looked like me and he had a pretty substantial fan base. It took us a little while to get started because of school, but when (Static creator) Dwayne McDuffie passed away in February of 2011, we made it a priority to make a movie in honor of his beloved hero.
CNN Geek Out: How much work went into the project?
Dezil: It took one-and-a-half years for us to put the film together. Most of my crew consisted of friends of mine from different colleges. David O'Connor, my friend from Florida, produced the film with me and did all the research to figure out how to go about the phases of production. We fund-raised the picture through Kickstarter. Filming took only five days and we found our camera, sound and grip crew through Craigslist and Mandy.com. My actors were mostly friends and family who had never acted on camera, with the exception of (Nadine Malouf, Christina Wren, Garencha Altidor and Henry Paul.) Post-production took us a long time because everyone has day jobs and a lot of us were still in school. Unfortunately, my visual effects artist Justin Johnson lives in Virginia and my editor David Kinskey-Lebeda lives in New York City with my sound designer, Julian Evans, and music composer David Grabowski. I was still in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon. We used a lot of Skype and iChat.
CNN Geek Out: What is your ultimate goal?
Dezil: Firstly, we want to make either a feature film or a series adaptation. I have scripts for those projects as well as original ideas for new superhero/action adventure stories. Secondly, I want to inspire more diversity in live-action portrayals of superheroes. And finally, me and my friends wanted to make something exciting that would get our future projects attention from audiences around the world.
CNN Geek Out: Were you a Static fan?
Dezil: I became a huge fan of Static in the process of making this film. Honestly, I loved the idea behind having a teenage black superhero with electromagnetic superpowers. I watched all 52 episodes of the TV show and read a bunch of the old comics and graphic novels. However, his story in the comics and TV show seemed a bit generic so I sought ways to make our adaptation fresh for our generation.
CNN Geek Out: Have you heard from DC?
Dezil: As of now, no one from DC Comics has contacted us. We would love professional backing to continue our adaptation of Static. In the meantime, we are developing many other projects which include an hour-length pilot, two shorts, a coming of age feature and a possible sequel to "Static Shock Blackout."
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I hit 3 best buys after work every single one was sold out of the combo pack with flash- and none of them had any blu rays left at all.. Just about 3 dvds per store tagert was still stocked with them Although I was able to find the Catwoman figure set from the Year One release for some reason..
Once again proof that if you put your mind to it you can do it. Way to go little brother. Static was the first black superhero cartoon i ever saw and I loved it. I hope your inspiriation will get some backing by the sports industry millionaires and billionaires. You should hit up magic johnson word has it once upon a time he was trying to do black industry movies. I think static will be amuch better movie than that mantis crap they tried to pull back in the early 90s or even Spawn (though truthfully spawn should have been rated r no pg13). still its great to see static has not been forgotten.
Dezil, congratulations! Kickstarter is a tough nut to crack. Well done on that AND the film. I am working on a couple of film projects (not a Hollywood insider by any means) and I hope I get a chance to work with you!
All he needs is a spear....
Wow.....guessing you already have your Klan uni fresh from the wash
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Hope this inspiration clip make it to a big budget feature film AND done right. I've seen too many turkeys of comic book movies that failed horribly (remember Steel ? What a horrible insult to the character from the Superman pages of the late, great '90s).
I also remember Static Shock in the classic Justice League Unlimited tv series (which I would love to see more of the JLU in the future....)
Best of luck to you, Dezil.
I remember the animated series on Saturday mornings – did Static SHock always have a sidekick?
Sad that Hollywood used to make films that inspired and broke ground and broke glass ceilings – sadly, fans have to take the initiative now while Hollywood just does lip service for "guaranteed" blockbusters. And when the fans are left to themselves, they'll want to create their own ideas and inspirations. I'm glad for this fan. Good for him and hope more is to come. Hopefully, Hollywood will actually LEARN from these fans and get with the program.
Isn't making Blockbuster Superheo Movie *exactly* what Hollywood has been doing for the past several years.
Looks like an angry Goa'uld with a cloth face mask on lol.
for fans of static remember static shock the character was created for Milestone Comics by the late Milestone founder and comic book writer Dwayne McDuffie in 1993. McDuffie died and DC comics first became the distributor for Milestone comics and then took over the characters for milestone comics. I loved milestone because of the diverse characters outside the DC and Marvel universe. ICON was milestones answer to superman. In 1993, Static wore a black uniform with shades and a black cap with an X on it. Of all the Milestone comic characters it is great to see static still going strong. I saw Icon in one issue of the Justice League in 2008. I happy to see fans still rallying around Static. Dezil, you couldnt have picked a better character to do your movie on. I wish you great success and continue to press the creative ideas that you have to bring Static to a whole new generation of fans. Bravo, nicely done. Wish you continued success.
Dwayne McDuffie is surely missed; a talented writer for comics and television, and one who never failed to put the 'human' in superhuman. Icon recently appeared in the Young Justice animated series, and I had no idea he was one of McDuffie's creations, so thanks for the heads up!
Dwayne McDuffie was an absolute prince, one of the finest creators in the industry I've had the pleasure of encountering. He always went the extra mile to help out fans and colleagues, and strove for innovation and diversity of output in an industry that had grown stagnant. He could create wonderfully human characters from all walks of life. I was fortunate enough to see him reply when a would-be-author asked him for advice on how to write "black characters".
He pointed out that people of all colors come from all walks of life, and that he had written as many different types as he could. Icon was a wealthy Horatio Alger-loving "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" conservative lawyer, Static was a middle-class geek with a love for Pokemon and Monty Python, Deathlok was a suburbanite computer programmer whose life had been turned into a horror story, Hardware was a brilliant scientist who had been given just enough of a taste of being a member of the true upper class to be infuriated when he was shut out, the Blood Syndicate were a gang struggling to survive, Holocaust was a sadistic gangland thug that put little value on his own high intelligence, Rocket was a teenage single mother on foodstamps, the "villainous" Edwin Alva was one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in America, and was eventually shown to be a moral man constantly forced to compromise his beliefs and deal with repugnant individuals to try and accomplish any good whatsoever...
I really miss Dwayne McDuffie.
@Deacon and Damo12345, I too really miss McDuffie. He wasnt afraid to make his characters human, "relateable", someone you could understand. The lead heroes went against the norm established by Marvel and DC. Even Image comics tried to follow McDuffie's lead on outside the norm heroes. But in my opinion, it was McDuffie that changed the face of comics by daring to be different and to create heroes that didnt follow the Marvel/DC formula just to make sales in a stagnant industry. Man, I miss McDuffie. Our best and brightest always go first.
DC cant get a wonder woman film or series into proper production, even though she's one of their main-stays. High hopes for this superman film thats coming, but it could just be a superman returns flop for all we know. Even if this kid says "look ill do it for you" how can anyone expect DC to get behind a popular-but-not-as-much-so character for a film when they have trouble with everyone except Batman.
I loved that cartoon. Clearly I was not the only one. It's neat that he's doing this.
Hahaha Awesome, Static Shock used to be pretty cool.
I loved the video on YouTube and have been a Static fan since the TV series. After the New 52 run ends, I was hoping to see more Static in the 52 universe, and hopefully this fan film will give the character more exposure. I agree with Kevin about Static adding much-needed diversity and all of the hard work that went into making the film. It's great to see a strong, powerful character with an actual background and history.. instead of a generic background character.
Keep up the great work, best of luck with your future projects, and here's hoping that the live-action series or film actually comes to life!
Man I loved growing up watching static shock that show was brilliant. Good luck man
Sadly, probably the only thing he'll get from DC is a cease and desist letter and a (bogus) threat of a copyright lawsuit.
Your story is very inspirational. I really appreciate the hard work that went into bringing Static to film. It adds some much needed diversity, and shows that great things can be done on a small scale. Keep going with your projects and I hope to see more in the future.
Kevin, thank you so much for the kind words and support!
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