At 33, Adi Shankar has become recognized as one of the most innovative creators in Hollywood and a global fanboy personality, and is also the writer and director of an upcoming untitled Netflix Original superhero series due for release in 2019. Adi‘s run started with a string of critically acclaimed gritty theatrical feature film hits including “The Grey” with Liam Neeson (which also made him the youngest producer to have a number one film at the North American box office), net-noir classic “Killing Them Softly” with Brad Pitt, cult superhero hit “Dredd” with Karl Urban, “The Voices” with Ryan Reynolds, and “Lone Survivor” with Mark Whalberg. Along with his feature film and television work, Adi is also known for creating the award winning and controversial video street art series, “The Bootleg Universe,” where he reimagines and subverts pop culture iconography including The Punisher, Spiderman, Mr. Rogers, James Bond, and Power Rangers.
His latest endeavor, the second season of Castlevania is currently streaming on Netflix. Adi took some time to briefly discuss Castlevania and his inspirations and upcoming projects.
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FOG!: Congratulations on the second season of Castlevania! When you develop a project like this, are you more driven by your love of the property or by the potential that you see within it?
Adi Shankar: I’m always driven by the love of the property. I turn down something if I don’t care about it, regardless of the paycheck.
With the second season based on the third game, do you plan to continue the series based on the game timeline and story arcs or does the animated series follow it’s own mythology?
The series is set in its own universe. In this universe events may play out exactly the same or slightly differently than the game universe.
What happened to your project Gods and Secrets?
Still working on it. (laughing)
With your work on Dredd and your Bootleg Universe, you seem to have an affinity for superheroes. Were you a fan of superheroes of comics growing up and what do you find so appealing about them as a storytelling device?
Yes. I loved them. I like people with powers and costumes. I am one of those people.
Warren Ellis is working with you on Castlevania. How did he get involved and what does he bring to the project?
He brings everything to the project. Period. Warren is the essential element, he’s the magic dust that makes Castlevania.
What was the genesis of your Bootleg Universe and do you think it’s changed how Hollywood has perceives these properties?
I watched Batman: Dead End, a Batman fan film when I was in high school. I didn’t know what a fan film was and was blown away. After that I thought the concept of fan films was really cool and started making my own years later. I do agree with you that the Bootleg Universe fan films as well as other great films have changed the way Hollywood perceives those properties.
Who or What have been the biggest inspirations for your work.
Takashi Murakami, Warren Ellis, Sting.
Besides Castlevania, what else do you have coming up?
I have a film out now called Bodied. It’s a battle rap satire and I produced it with Eminem.
What are you currently geeking out over?
- Handheld Game: Dead Cells
- Console Game: Spider-Man
- Movie: Infinity War
- Music: Escape from Beijing by Oscillian
- Comics: Chris Claremont’s X-Men run
Castlevania Seasons 1 & 2 are currently running on Netflix