Director Michael Matteo Rossi Talks With 411 About New Series Vengeance
The B-Movie Interview: Michael Matteo Rossi
What is Vengeance? It’s a potential upcoming TV show spearheaded by noted indie director Michael Matteo Rossi (Sable) and starring Youtube star Tyrone Magnus (The Reactor). It revolves around a man named Derrick Chambers (Magnus) who, after getting involved with mobsters in order to provide for his family, ends up seeking revenge on those mobsters when they kill his family and try to bury him in toxic waste. The toxic waste apparently gives Chambers super powers that will help him in his quest for retribution.
Director Michael Matteo Rossi recently took time out of his busy schedule to talk with this writer about Vengeance, his directorial influences, and what he hopes to achieve with the potential show.
BK:What attracted you to Vengeance?
MMR: I’ve always been interested in the idea of a good man having to take matters into his own hands and have revenge over the people who have wronged him. The conflicted character of Derrick Chambers only makes it more interesting that he wants to be within the bounds of the law, but at the same time needs to take down the people who seek to destroy him.
BK:Was the idea always superhero inspired or did it evolve into that? And what kind of super powers will main character Derek Chambers have?
MMR:Tyrone Magnus’ base has always wanted to see him act more and having known Tyrone a while now, I thought of a great role that I could see him playing that would also appeal to his large fan base. I can’t go into too many details now about the superhero powers he will have, but let’s just say every physical sense of his body is heightened as a result of something.
BK:The show is referred to as “testosterone driven” in press materials. What does “testosterone driven” mean, in this context?
MMR:It means that there is a deep rooted and emotional story, but there are also action-packed scenes and visceral moments that will have the audience completely captivated as well.
BK:Where did you shoot the official teaser trailer and the longer trailer? Were they both filmed at the same time or was there a lapse in production?
MMR:We shot both trailer versions the same very long night and it was in the industrial area of North Hollywood.
BK:What was the hardest part of putting the main trailer together? How did you pick what you wanted to showcase?
MMR:We wanted some amazing visuals but also giving the audience a bit about what the story was about and who this character was. I personally believe that the trailer clearly shows a man who is on a mission towards revenge for what certain people have done to him. I purposely kept it a bit mysterious and not revealing way too much, though.
BK:Is Vengeance meant to be more of a “serialized story” kind of show or a mix of overall story and standalone stories?
MMR:It is a series that closely follows Derrick Chambers and who he is and the people surrounding him and how they affect him.
BK:What sort of show are you leaning towards or does it matter?
MMR:Quite simply a dark gritty crime superhero show that is rooted in a character driven premise.
BK: Vengeance is an original idea. Do you see that as a plus or a negative in drumming up potential interest from networks?
MMR:I think it stands on its own. A lot of people have been comparing it to Luke Cage, and having not seen Luke Cage yet, I can understand in terms of character and the superhero element, but I can firmly say this will be very different and the audience will be invested in this regardless of Luke Cage. It’s apples and oranges.
BK:Who are your favorite directors? What inspires you as a director for this project, and for you, in general?
MMR:I love Kubrick, Nolan, Aronofsky, and Lynch because they are at the core amazing storytellers with a striking and distinct visual aesthetic that I really love and are not afraid to push the limits in shock value as well.
BK:Do you approach every project the same or do you have to constantly adapt to the material? What sort of format do you think fits Vengeance best? I ask because Ash vs. Evil Dead is a half-hour show and seems to be quite successful at that length. Does Vengeance necessitate an hour long format or are you open to alterations?
MMR:How I see Vengeance playing is as a 13 episode series all 1 hour each; in the same vein as a Netflix Original format of the hour long episode. I am open to certain changes, but that’s how I always saw it going.
BK:How can fandom help you get potential networks interested in “Vengeance”?
MMR:Well, just based on the trailer and how we have over 114,000 views on it in less than a week, the engagement has been extremely high. Just having the fans involved and showing their love and support really do help us. Getting more media outlets to take notice always help as well!