The Point of Geeks was fortunate enough to catch up with Rob Benedict, the writer and star of the recently released film, The Sidekick. The short film has been drawing rave reviews and attention for its satirical take on the superhero genre and the perpetually underappreciated sidekick.
The movie follows Matt McCabe, a career assistant and sidekick to the legendary Captain Wonder, played by Ron Livingston (Office Space). However McCabe's skills have begun to erode due to old age and the Captain unceremoniously fires his sidekick. McCabe now finds himself unemployed and seeks to find out how else a sidekick can contribute to society.
Benedict, who many may know from his stints on Fringe and Supernatural, has crafted a comedic satire set in the world of working-class superheroes. The short film makes subtle observations about aging, Hollywood, the fluctuating economy and competition in the workforce. But most importantly, it is probably one of the more funny movies to come out recently.
The Sidekick features an awesome cast of supporting actors including, Ron Livingston, Jordan Peele, Lizzy Caplan, Ike Barinholtz, and more, who all jump headfirst into the fun and wacky world, created by Benedict and director Michael J. Weithorn.
Benedict is currently on tour in Germany and he took out a couple of minutes to talk to us about his movie and the charm of being a sidekick.
What inspired you to shed light on the plight of the superhero sidekick?
It started with this idea. When I turned forty I thought, "If I quit acting there's nothing else that I'm really, like trained to do. I was a theater major in college. I've acted for like twenty years and that's all I know to do. So it's too late for me. Too late to try to do anything to do with a career and I'm really not capable of anything else. (laughs) So, that is where the nugget of the idea came from. So the superhero sidekick was a good allegory for what I was feeling. You know? What happens to Robin if he gets fired when he turns forty because he can't keep up anymore...So I kind of identified with that guy and wanted to make a movie about in what world is the sidekick the main guy? That kind of appealed to me. All those things went into the nugget of this film.
You have appeared in 'Supernatural', 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' and 'Birds of Prey' among other shows, what did those experiences teach you about the genre to get ready for this project?
I always kind had a lot of work in that the superhero genre and the sci-fi genre. I never really thought it was a coincidence that I got those parts because those things have always appealed to me. I've always been into comic books and sci-fi. Those definitely sort of shaped who I am on those shows. Especially a show like Birds of Prey, shaped the type of world that I'm comfortable being in and certainly the kind of world that I would want to write about.
You managed to assemble a lot of great comedic talent for The Sidekick. You have Lizzy Caplan, Jordan Peele, Ron Livingston, Ike Barinholtz, how did that all come together for you?
Those were all people that are friends of mine. I wrote it with them in mind, really down the line. With the exception of maybe Ron Livingston, who I met a little bit later. And I was like, "God, he would be perfect for this." But everyone else I knew before and then kinda gave them a call and asked if they would be into doing this. And they were all like "totally." You know, everyone was kinda on board. It all happened at the right time and fortunately enough it all lined up. You know we have all been friends a while. Jordan, Josh, Ike and myself and the rest, that's all kind of our posse there. So it's kind of magical that it all worked out the way it did and we could do this together.
Well, we have some superhero sidekick themed questions. Who wins in a cage match, Jimmy Olsen or Arthur from 'The Tick'?
I gotta go Jimmy Olsen. Only because I always had an affinity for him. I've always wanted play Jimmy Olsen. That was a character that I always identified with. So...I gotta have me some Jimmy.
Who is worse at getting themselves killed? Captain America's Bucky or Rick Jones for wandering into Bruce Banner's nuclear testing site?
I gotta go Bucky all the way!
Who would you trust to program your DVR? R2D2 or Jarvis from Iron Man?
Oh when it comes to the DVR or VCR...you have to go with R2D2!
Clearly this man knows a good sidekick! If you are a fan of laughter and superhero movies, this is worth checking out. The Sidekick is available right now on iTunes, Amazon, and Vimeo.