Azureus Rising is a science-fiction short from David Weinstein and Black Sun Entertainment. It was released as a proof of concept for a trilogy of films Weinstein hopes to make. The short was over 5 minutes of pure awesome that showed off some ridiculously impressive visuals that really caught the eye. After contacting David I was able to find out a few more details on the project and where its future is heading.
8th-Circuit: First of all where did you get the inspiration for Azureus Rising? Did you always plan on the concept being a trilogy or did it kind of work out that way while you were writing it?
David Weinstein: The concept for Azureus came while I was writing new ideas I wanted to develop many years ago. I sat down and wrote out about 3-4 different ideas. One of those ideas was a science fiction action epic – about a young man who rises to greatness and becomes an iconic figure in this unknown galaxy. Basically the birth of a new super hero. I thought the idea was kind of cool and it eventually became Azureus. On the trilogy front – yes, I knew I wanted to make something that wouldn’t just end with the first story. As I began to develop the first core story the other stories where always kept in mind.
8th: As far as I’m aware you are in the process of pitching the idea to some studios, how is that process going? Is it looking like anyone will bite?
David: I cannot say much at this point. All I can really say is that things are going very well. The response has been overwhelming and it’s been great to know so many people from around the globe click with the concept and find it cool. My goal with Azureus was to make something that was globally appealing. I didn’t want it to just be an American thing or a Japanese thing.
8th: So the goal is to get Azureus made into a feature film, when that happens will the film be animated, like the short, or will it be a live action piece? Do you have any preference between the two or concerns with one type over the other?
David: To be honest I have no preference. Obviously I made the short film animated because that was what I had access to. I think it could be an amazing animated film and an amazing live action film. I have talked about both directions with many people. The main thing is moving forwards in a direction that will allow me to tell the story properly. The medium isn’t the important factor – it’s about making sure the film comes across with the right tone and vibe.
8th: I understand that you want to direct Azureus if it gets made into a feature film, why go the route of making a short film first? What benefits does that bring for such an investment of time?
David: The idea with the short film was to show people what my vision was for the project. When you just have artwork or words on paper it’s hard for others to really understand and “see” the idea. The short basically answers any questions visually. Anytime you have a unique concept like Azureus I feel you have to really go out of your way to SHOW people what it is – otherwise they may get the wrong impression. Everyone’s interpretation of words is different. My idea is to get everyone to see the same thing.
8th: As this is your baby, you must have a few ideas about who you’d like involved with the feature film, hypothetically speaking. For instance, who would you want to play the main character? Are there any other people you’d really want to work with?
David: There are a ton of people who I would love to work with. I don’t particularly want to name anyone at the moment. I have my wish list obviously. I wish I could say more but it’s a sensitive topic right now since it’s so early in the process.
8th: What can you tell us about the world you’ve created for Azureus Rising? What makes it different from the other sci-fi films out there? What drives our hero to do what he does?
David: The world that Azureus lives in is a amazing world – it’s full of endless potential. I designed and wrote Azureus to be an amazing action adventure roller coaster ride – but there has to be a character that we can relate to underneath it all. We cared about Luke in Star Wars because we identified with him on a human level. Even though he is in a total fantasy world – his character was grounded in reality. The character who is Azureus will face great hardships which he must overcome in order to succeed otherwise many people will die. It’s a great hero’s journey story.
8th: The short is just a proof of concept, is it conceivable that a feature film version may look and feel different to the concept? Would you be open to changing it for the big screen? Could it benefit from any changes?
David: This is a great topic. A lot of people watch the short film and start over-analyzing it for what it is. The short is purely visual entertainment – a first-look teaser. The story is written on paper and meant to be read after watching the short. Unfortunately that story is not available for the public. The entire idea with the short film was to catch peoples’ attention. Azureus is untouchable in the short film – he looks like nothing could possibly harm him. This was all done intentionally but cannot stay this way in the film. A feature version will have more “character” and story built into the action. There will be many changes needed for the big screen – all of them I welcome because I want the audience to understand and relate to the character. I definitely want to keep the look and tone of the short as much as possible because that is what everyone loves – but take that to the next level by adding a “soul” to the character and the world. There is so much to show and tell with the full film – the short film is just scratching the surface.
8th: Worst case scenario, although one I believe is unlikely, the film doesn’t get picked up. Do you have a Plan B to get the film made on your own? Will we see an Azureus Rising film regardless?
David: I won’t say there will be a film regardless of whether plans do or do not work out. I will only make a product if I can make it at a certain quality level. I don’t want to produce a shitty low budget Azureus product just to get it out there and try to make a buck. I can do a lot with with very little but there’s a line I have to draw. I always come with a Plan A – B – C. So no matter what – have many ideas and routes to explore to get Azureus out there. Whether it be a film, a game, a graphic novel, etc.
8th: The short is fantastic but I couldn’t help but think this would make an awesome video game, is this something that you’ve considered in Azureus’s future?
David: Yes, from the start a video game was part of the plan with Azureus. The story would lend itself nicely to an amazing action adventure game. Some things would have to be changed in the story to make it work because games are all about game play. My current concept is for a 3rd person action adventure game. I don’t want to give away to much but it’s full of intense battles, awesome combo attacks, power ups and nonstop action… it would be visually stunning and really fun.
I love the fact that David has already planned out Azureus’s future and a 3rd person adventure game with a character like the one from Azureus could be very interesting. Given the impressive visuals of the proof of concept short I don’t doubt for a second that a video game version of the concept would also have some impressive visuals. I also believe that this sort of practice, creating shorts for planned films (emphasis on planned), is a good one. Many times the short has been used to show off the filmmakers skills but as a visual medium idea to present a particular idea it also works very well. As I said I can’t see why this concept would not be picked up and I look forward to hearing such news in the trades, it looks like a very cool project.
Once again, thank you to David for taking the time out of his busy schedule, which I’m sure includes some intense Azureus related negotiations, to complete this interview with me.