Adi Shankar has become a standout figure in the modern entertainment industry, due primarily to his ability to turn fan wishes into real projects of note. Those projects range from the Dredd movie reboot and Lone Survivor adaptation, to the many entries in his “Bootleg Universe,” a series of Web shorts based on popular franchises, in which creators are free to explore new means to interpret iconic characters or stories, in ways studios may be afraid to.
Shankar really captured attention with the Punisher “Dirty Laundry” bootleg short starring actual Punisher movie actor, Thomas Jane; since then, he’s branched out with his concepts, launching such projects as animated Dredd and James Bond shorts, and an adult-themed Power Rangers short that scored big with fans. In fact, the general concept of the Bootleg Universe has been such a hit that Shankar is now luring other talented filmmakers to get in on the fun, in a new project called The Bootleg Universe Pitch Show.
As you can hear Adi Shankar himself explain, The Bootleg Universe Pitch Show basically involves Shankar taking bootleg idea pitches from other filmmakers. These are then presented to viewers in the style of an interview, in which “the pitch” is broken down by segments (story, tone, etc…) and “sold” to the viewing fanbase.
As is explicitly stated, there is little expectation that these pitches will pan out into actual feature-films. With enough response, a bootleg pitch could turn into a bootleg universe short or series, possibly – otherwise, it’s just what Adi Shankar does best: letting filmmakers with fanboy passions run with their ideas.
Premiere Pitch: Sean Baker’s Warriors Re-Imagining
Sean Baker is the mind behind Fox’s 2002 puppet-based sitcom Greg the Bunny. The show (starring Seth Green, Eugene Levy and a collection of puppet characters) didn’t last long, but its skewed satire of life in the entertainment business endured, in the form of an IFC spinoff (The Greg the Bunny Show), and a criminally underrated 2010 MTV spinoff show, Warren the Ape.
As the man who jabbed at hollywood with a puppet pulled over his fist, Baker may seem like an odd choice to re-imagine The Warriors, Walter Hill’s 1979 cult-classic “gangs in NYC” movie, based on the 1965 Sol Yurick novel. You should watch Baker’s pitch in full to fully hear the director’s passion and knowledge about the subject he wishes to re-imagine, but in case you don’t have immediate access to video, here are the bullet point topics covered:
- ATTACKING A CLASSIC – Baker would do a different take on the material (a true re-imagining). The source novel is so different from the film, and the book’s themes would work perfectly in a movie set in modern day Detroit ganglands.
- THE STYLE – The Warriors would be less heroic than the movie version, and the film would be less comic book fantasy. It would be cinematic “docu-style” like Captain Phillips or Lone Survivor. Improvisational dialogue. 35MM wide screen and handheld cameras. Realistic depictions of Detroit, with a race-based gangs.
- THE GANGS – It will be real-world gang culture; less flamboyant and outlandish than Hill’s film. No Baseball Furies, sorry. Baker wants to highlight the real problems of gang violence in a dilapidated Detroit. Cyrus would still be trying to unite the gangs, with the goal of taking back Detroit.
- THE PLOT – Baker would tweak would needs tweaking, but try to keep the plotline of the novel relatively intact. Modern Detroit police gang squads would be an interesting factor to bring into the mix.
- THE CAST – Baker wants names that get recognition, but not necessarily for being actors. Famous hip-hop artists are a possibility; Detroit hip-hop stars, specifically. Royce Da 5’9 is mentioned as a possibility for Cyrus. 20-somethings and gamers would be eager for this project, which would be an ensemble piece.
- MODERN CULTURE – Social networking and promotion is a part of gang culture now (World Star Hip-Hop) and so it would be a piece of this new Warriors. “The DJ” narrator from the original film would now be social media or Siri.
Again, this is all just wishful pitching, from guys that are passionate about The Warriors. Now that you’ve heard the pitch, what say you? Is this Warriors re-imagining a project you’d like to see come to fruition? How do you feel about the The Bootleg Universe Pitch Show in general? Let us know in the comments!
We’ll be bringing you more episodes of The Bootleg Universe Pitch Show as they become available. Check out more Bootleg Universe shorts and series over on Adi Shankar’s YouTube page.