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FOG! Chats With ‘Mortal Kombat: Legacy’ Director Kevin Tancharoen

Interview conducted by Stefan Blitz

Kevin Tancharoen deserves all the success in the world.

Not only did we have a great conversation discussing his career and Mortal Kombat, but when my audio file was corrupted, he answered the questions again via email.

More importantly, he deserves success because he’s so damned talented.

His choreography background and music video background working with such artists as Madonna, Britney Spears and The Pussycat Dolls, led to his directing the reboot of Fame and being one of the few filmmakers to work with actual 3D cameras for Glee 3D.  In addition, his genius reimagining of the Mortal Kombat franchise showed off his talents as a visual stylist and storyteller.

Today, Machinima launches the premiere of Mortal Kombat: Legacy II, a 10 part web-series directed and co-written by Kevin and starring  Harry Shum, Jr., Casper Van Dien, Brian Tee, Mark Dacascos, Ian Anthony Dale, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Eric Jacobu, Michelle Lee and David Lee McInnis.

Congratulations on Mortal Kombat: Legacy II. I’d like to start at the beginning. Mortal Kombat: Rebirth was essentially a trailer/proof of concept. Was Rebirth contracted by  Warner Bros. or was this essentially the world’s most amazing fan film?

Thanks for the compliments. Warner Bros. did not contract Rebirth at all. I have always wanted to do genre movies, but was never given the opportunity due to my background in music driven content. So I figured I should do a short film to show people that I could handle genre properties…which I grew up obsessed with. I was a huge fan of Mortal Kombat and have always wanted to do something with it. After thinking for a while…I decided I was most excited about doing a live action Mortal Kombat. I started calling people soon after.

What about the mythology of Mortal Kombat appeals to you so much and how did Rebirth lead to Legacy Season 1?

I love that the game creators took the time to create this rich mythology around a fighting game. It gave it’s characters’ stakes and obstacles to overcome. After Rebirth went viral, Warner Bros. called me in for a meeting. In that meeting I was told a new game was about to come out in 4 months. They had the great idea to come up with 9 shorts based around the game’s main characters. We hit the ground running and shot it incredibly fast.

Your background is in dance and choreography. After Mortal Kombat: Legacy you filmed Glee 3D. What was that experience like?

It was fun to return to a live setting where you can’t call cut. I had a blast filming it. That kind of energy is so fulfilling.

What can you tell us about Legacy: II?

This season is a more linear storyline. It’s not an anthology like Season 1. There are character arcs and development that I’m really proud of. You’ll also meet a Liu Kang that you’ve never seen before.

You’ve been attached to a new Mortal Kombat movie. Is that still on and is it going to be part of the continuity of Legacy: I and II or a reboot for new viewers? Are you planning to use the same cast?

It will actually be a story in it’s own universe. The reason for that is because I want Legacy to continue on. I don’t want them to have to depend on each other. I can’t expect the movie audience to have watched 20 episodes of Legacy and I want Legacy to continue on for more seasons. For the movie, we will take the Mortal Kombat mythology and add to it so it can live on for years to come.

In putting together the web series, are there any specific challenges as opposed to a narrative feature?

The ten-minute runtime is always challenging…but that’s a product of working on a lower budget scale.

Your sister and brother-in-law (Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon) are two of the executive producers of Agents of SHIELD. Should we expect to see you directing an episode?

That’s the plan! Very excited. The show is amazing and they are all doing incredible things.

What else do you have coming up?

I’m working with Machinima on an original series called THE GABLE 5 and an anime with Ultra Records.

What are you geeking out over?

THE LAST OF US and GRAND THEFT AUTO 5!!! Both so stressful and amazing!

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