Awhile back, I wrote about the spoof of Suicide Squad created by the YouTube group Evil Iguana Productions, which is the brainchild of Allen Murphy and Craig Deering. While they are well known for their spoofs, they have also been hard at work on a webseries which is a take on the normal man trying to take down the bad guys called Vigilant. They took a little time out of their busy schedule to sit down and answer a few questions about their latest project and plans for the future.
After having done so many superhero trailer spoofs is that why you decided to come up with your own superhero/viligant? How did this come about exactly?
Allen: Zac Coleman, one of the co-creators, approached us with the concept for the show. At the time, it was a much darker, grittier story, which is a bit unusual for our style on YouTube. He and Kyle Bridges, the other co-creator, wrote the first drafts. Then, those were sent to Craig, who made adjustments to the overall plot, removed some extra characters, and prepared the series so that it was something we could feasibly shoot within our budget and time frame. Finally, those were sent to me, who made it more of a comedy. Given our not-so-secretive love for superheroes, the two of us were thrilled to be involved, and we were looking forward to creating a series for our channel that went beyond sketched or the easy mockumentary style.
Craig: I was talking with my buddy Zac Coleman about how I wanted to do another large scale project. He told me he wrote a script for a superhero pilot a few years back he always thought would be good. After chatting about the story a bit I was interested and told him to send it over. When he did I loved it and showed it to Allen, I said this could be a good fit for us and something we could put the EIP feel too. He agreed completely and said he wanted to do something bigger for a while as well. After that we decided it was official we were going to do another show. We decided the 3 of us would write and got our big writing/superhero fanatic buddy Kyle Bridges to come on board as well to flush out this story and create the scripts.
In the past many of your sketches have been improv, is some of the show improvised?
A: For once, we have scripts, which we stick to most of the time. While on set, if an actor or someone else cracks a joke in or about the scene, we’ll toss it in there. The two of us have always been fans of the organic nature of improvised humor, so we never want to let the script get in the way of that.
C: I would say only about 10% is improvised, no where near as much as it used to be. Most of the time we will do a take, talk about funny ideas after we cut and then decide what to tweak. There is more of a formula to the story and writing this time than there is in our skits.
Craig, from "The Allen and Craig Show" to this, you always seem to be the one that gets beat up on...why do you think that is?
A: One perk about writing a script with your best friend as the lead: you can write in all the punches you want.
C: I've always enjoyed physical acting, apparently no one (even myself for some reason) likes to write me as the person winning fights. People love to see me get beat up. It's fun though, I'll take it.
Allen, I have to ask because it is one of the things that came up in the video. Was Kyle Bridges that boyfriend in college?
A: What happens in the dorms stays in the dorms.
C: Oh that definitely happened, it was a weird phase they both went through.
How did you choreograph the fight scenes?
C: Action movies are pretty much my favorite. So I was super excited to see some action scenes in something we get to make. I watched a ton of different action movies and scenes to get ideas, and then tried to blend moves into the characters. Our budget was our wallets so a lot of sequences had to be just characters beating each other to the ground since we cant afford huge stunts and set pieces. So I wanted to create styles for each characters that fit that style. Its fun to write all your ideas down and then get on set and add tweaks to make things more badass. A couple of our actors have fight experience too like Joshua Moaney who plays Silencer and Monnie Aleahmad who plays Monnie. So it was cool to get input from them and create some interesting scenes. There are not a lot of fight scenes, the story revolves more around the humor and character development, but when we get one we want it too impress and they just get bigger and better as the series goes on.
How many times did you watch superhero movies to get the details right?
C: In terms of action almost none, superhero movies have huge grand fights and the characters have powers and gadgets. Thor has his hammer and Captain America has his shield. Our superheros are street brawlers who use their fists and bodies. I watched more movies like "John Wick" and "The Raid" to get ideas for hand-to-hand combat.
Does Wayne get his name from Bruce Wayne, also a vigilante?
C: That was actually in the original draft of the pilot but got cut. Maybe it will come up again if we do a season 2. Wayne is in denial and definitely believes that is who he is named after, however that is not actually the case.
You guys have done a lot of superhero spoofs. If you could do one again, either because you had so much fun making it or because you wish you could have done it differently, which one would you reshoot?
A: I’d choose "The Dark Knight", but not with the intention of remaking it. Instead, I’d be more interested in writing an original sketch with the Nolan universe characters in it. I’d like to see some improvised moments of bickering between Batman and The Joker as they do some boring, day-to-day activities like waiting in line at the ATM or something.
C: I don't want to do any differently besides give them all better technology so the video image was clearer on older videos. If I had to choose one though it would be "Dark Knight" probably, just because its old, could be updated, and any chance to play the Joker I'll take.
Things seem to be attracted to Wayne's nose, will that come to play later?
C: It's his superpower, he can get hit over and over in the nose and it will never break.
If someone were to come across your videos for the first time, which video/sketch/spoof would you recommend they watch?
A: Probably "Fuzz". The "Fuzz" videos combine our love for improvising, characters we love from the media, and shooting videos in one continuous shot. Those are always difficult to do, but the payoff has always been well worth it.
C: I would say "Fuzz", in terms of our skits those are always the most fun to film and watch. Even if on set it gets super frustrating sometimes to get it all done in one take.
Craig do you prefer playing the good guy or the villain?
C: That's a hard question, I love both so much. I love just not playing a normal guy. Wayne is so much fun because he is such a moron, nothing about him should be in the vigilante world and he should have died his first night. But he keeps going out, and keeps doing it. Why? There is an insane amount of growth he can grow through. Villains on the other hand are almost too much fun. I like to think of myself as a pretty nice guy in real life, so any chance to get bad and crazy is great. Those characters are fun to think about and create because they are so far from my real world self.
Where have you found all these new people for the show?
C: There were certain people we knew we wanted right away and we pulled them from my feature "When the Lights Go Out." They are insanely talented and so much fun to work with. Callie Stephens we all agreed would make the perfect "sexy Batman" Virago. There's also Monnie Aleahmad, Joe Mack, KC Matthews, Siera Cerny and James Doherty we thought would make killer villains.
The role of Loren was literally written for Dylan Noe, and we thought it would be hilarious to have Allen play his boyfriend Chris. Then we also wrote two hilarious guard characters and knew we needed two talented comedy actors, we reached out to the guys over at FND and they have been killing their cameo bits through their couple of episodes.
The two hardest characters to cast were probably Rita and Silencer. We had a bunch of auditions for those characters. Kathiamarice Lopez who plays Rita actually came from Zac Coleman's short film "Pretty Little Girls" and Joshua Moaney submitted for Silencer and just dominated the difficult task of being a badass and holding restraint when dealing with an idiot like Wayne.
Overall we are super happy to bring some fresh faces to our channel, and the best part is they are all crazy talented. It's been so much fun filming with all of them, you can definitely expect to see them all in future EIP projects.
Any other big plans in the future after Vigilant?
A: Without giving any spoilers, the last episode will definitely leave the viewers wanting to see what happens next, and we’d love to deliver. A second season is likely to happen.
C: I wont give away anything either, but the last episode is a game changer. If people like this series they will want more, so we are definitely all about doing a second season if the demand is there.
While Allen and Craig have both been on Youtube for a long time, it looks like they are not slowing down any time soon. If you love comedies, and a good superhero story line, you should really check out their channel and give their show, Vigilant, a viewing. I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.