In 1991, Steven Spielberg released Hook, a sequel to Peter Pan. Following elements of the book as well as the various filmed and staged iteration that had come before, Hook told the story of an adult Peter Pan who is more concerned with his job than his family or having fun – and who long ago forgot about Neverland. But after Captain Hook kidnaps his two children, Peter has to return to the island that was once his home and remember how to play and to use his imagination so that he can defeat the pirates and bring his kids home. The movie starred Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Dustin Hoffman, Dame Maggie Smith, and Bob Hoskins. It also starred a number of children, including Dante Basco as Rufio, the new leader of Peter’s Lost Boys.
Hook was only Basco’s third film, and despite him constantly working in film and television since Hook was released, Rufio remains his most famous and iconic role. Some of that is probably due to how much of his career has been behind the microphone, doing voiceover for cartoons and video games. Some of his best-known work includes the title character on American Dragon: Jake Long and Prince Zuko on Avatar: The Last Airbender as well as three video games based on the show. Though after all this time, it seems he is not yet done with the rebellious Rufio.
A Kickstarter campaign has been launched for Bangarang: A Short Film About Rufio Before Hook which lists Basco as Executive Producer. The page provides a synopsis for what the movie is about:
This is the story about Rufio, before the mohawk, before Neverland, before he was The Pan.
Roofus is a 13-year-old kid who is destined to be more than he is. After his mother is forced to put him into a foster home, he and his rag-tag group of best friends – a Jamaican boy named Julani and a bright-eyed latina force of nature named Ella – find a way for Roofus to escape his ill fate, find his happy thought and fulfill his destiny.
The story has been reverse engineered from what was set-up in Hook. We answer all the questions you’ve ever wondered — How and why is Rufio the leader of the Lost Boys? Where does “bangarang” come from? And of course, how he gets the mohawk.
In previous versions of Peter Pan there were five lost boys besides Peter, but Hook had many more, showing that more children has shown up in Neverland after Wendy and her brothers left. Without Pan as their leader, they turned to Rufio, who was a strong and forceful commander, despite being an angry teenager. Rufio was very much a product of his time; his mohawk was partially dyed fire-engine red and he rode a skateboard. But like Peter and the other boys, he also knew how to fight with a sword and fly. At first he was reluctant to give leadership of the boys back to Pan, but once Peter remembered how to fly, crow, and fight, Rufio did so willingly. His story is one of the more prominent and heartbreaking of the film. yet no explanation was ever given for how he and the other boys got to Neverland. The Lost Boys are supposed to be the children who fell out of their carriages and were never seen by their families again, but as Rufio was a young teenager, clearly a lot happened to him before he got to Neverland.
And that is what the prequel promises to explain. The Kickstarter goal is $30,000 and after four days and 92 backers, they are just over a sixth of the way there, with 26 days left to go. Rewards for donating at the various levels can include behind the scenes access, signed photos, the score, early viewings, a voicemail message recorded by Basco as either Rufio or Prince Zuko, set visits, and more. The smallest donation for a prize is $10 and the largest is $10,000.
Also included is information about casting. No actors are committed to the film yet. Instead, young actors (the characters are all 13) can submit video auditions of themselves for the film with an email address provided on the Kickstarter page. There are also character descriptions and sides available to download. Since the movie will be made in Los Angeles, they are only looking for local children.
According the the Kickstarter’s FAQ page, the movie is expected to release in April of 2017 on Basco’s YouTube page. Keep checking in with Screen Rant for the latest on Bangarang: A Short Film About Rufio Before Hook.