|Design illustrations for Lady Death. Click for larger images|
ADV Films hasannounced that production on the long-awaited feature film adaptation of Chaos!Comics' Lady Death is now set to begin. ADV has selected theproduction team that will be responsible for bringing the popular character tolife. Co-producers Carl Macek and Andy Orjuela will soon travel to Asia to workwith artists at SunMin Image Pictures Co., Ltd. under the supervision ofdirector Young H. Sang, to begin the arduous process of creating the animationfor this re-telling of the classic gothic heroine's origin.
The originalscreenplay, written by Macek, revisits the origin of Lady Death. According topress materials, the resulting script is a faithful adaptation of Chaos! Comicsfounder Brian Pulido's original story. New plot elements have been introducedand key characters have been re-designed by Orjuela to breathe new life into theproperty.
ExecutiveProducer John Ledford hopes to create a new production model with LadyDeath that redefines the relationship between Asian animation studiosand Western creators. To these ends, creative elements such as design andstorytelling are the domain of domestic talent while offshore"boutique" animation houses handle animation production services.Where the difference becomes most apparent is in the approach to animation.
"This isnot an attempt to clone anime production techniques," Ledford said,"but rather a genuine effort to develop a new working relationship thatrespects the various talents of the entire creative team."
Macek, who hasbeen a fixture in the animation industry for over 20 years thanks to his work asPresident of Streamline Pictures and story editor for Harmony Gold's influentialeighties series, Robotech, is putting his considerable experienceinto the construction of this new animation model. The goal for Macek, who alsoserves as the director of Lady Death, is to define a productionenvironment that draws from the best of both worlds.
"Over thelast 10 years, Japanese animation techniques have become accepted norms aroundthe world," Macek said, "thanks to the success of various televisionprograms and video games, not to mention the huge number of animated programmingavailable on home video. But what is apparent in any survey of anime is that, inmany instances, it has become a case of style over substance. Working to takeprojects out of clichéd design cycles and produce a unique vision based onsubject matter and core audience is key to ADV's plans."
Orjuela, whoalso served as co-producer and art director of ADV's first animationco-production, Sin, is a key factor in this process. Asco-producer and art director of Lady Death, his responsibility isto fashion an original environment populated by unique characters that are bothfresh and familiar at the same time.
"The funpart is getting to create a new world," Orjuela said, "and then havinga staff of artists halfway across the globe put their own spin on it, with theresulting work strengthened and enhanced through genuine intellectualco-production. It's an exciting way to work."
Korean basedSunMin Image Pictures' previous work includes Batman: The Animated Series,Gargoyles, The Maxx, and the Grammy award-winningmusic video "Do The Evolution" for Pearl Jam.
ADV providesthis description for the movie: Lady Death tells the story ofinnocence betrayed and then reborn as a powerful elemental force capable ofchallenging the very roots of evil incarnate. Set in 15th Century Sweden, thefilm follows Hope, the beautiful daughter of Matthias - believed to be a skilledmercenary, but who in actuality is Lucifer, the Lord of Lies - who is accused ofbeing the devil's consort following a hellish incident witnessed by a localpriest. Ultimately, the mock inquisition sentences Hope to be burned at thestake. Unable to think clearly, she accepts Lucifer's offer of life in Hell -presented by the malevolent Pagan - over a hideously painful death. Lucifer'sgrand plan to pervert a pure soul meets unanticipated resistance, and Hope soonfinds herself transformed into Lady Death. Together with the valiant outcast,Cremator, Lady Death challenges Lucifer's hell-spawned kingdom of darkness. Theresulting conflict explores the depths of faith and love as an alternative tothe corrupting power of evil.
ADV sees animeas the ideal medium for presenting the dark vision of Lady Death.The film will be produced as an all-digital, wide-screen feature-length film.The production will be designed to appear as traditional cel animation, but thework will be completed in a "paperless" environment. The process willallow the filmmakers to visualize the dark environments of the underworld andthe even darker demons that populate with a palate of colors that are virtuallyimpossible to achieve utilizing traditional animation techniques.
The actualproduction of Lady Death should take a year to complete. Along theway, ADV plans to continually update fans and industry insiders with glimpses ofthis unique production in various stages of completion.
"It'salways interesting to get a peek behind the scenes of any production,"Macek said. "It keeps interest high, and it creates a sense that somethingcool is coming our way."
Comics2Film willbring you more on Lady Death as the production develops.