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Q & A with Paul J Wares

Interview Conducted: September 22-23, 2001

College Professor, Batman fan, filmmaker, actor. These are just some of the talents Paul Wares has. Recently Paul decided to sit down and answer some questions regarding his Batman film BATMAN: Closure.

AJ: First off can you tell us a little about yourself

PJW: Sure can. I'm a twenty-five (almost twenty-six) year old filmmaker from England. I currently teach technical film and video techniques at a local college.

I've been a Batman fan since I was knee high to a grasshopper and I credit the first Batman movie as the film that got me into filmmaking. I'm also a competent actor and trained Graphic Designer.

AJ: How long have you been making short films? What factors made you choose making small films as opposed to full length films.

PJW: My first film was made in 1994 and I've been making short films on and off since then. I haven't made a film for four years (not fiction anyway) after some bad experiences with a film I made called 'Project Alchemy'. Although the filmmaking experience was great and this was my largest project to date - 30 minutes long, shot on 16mm film with a substantial Arts Council budget - I came away being disillusioned with the film industry and wanted to have a break.

I'm now ready to jump back in. As well as Closure, I have three shorts planned and my first feature, which will hopefully start shooting in summer 2002.

The only reasons I chose short filmmaking in the past was to gain experience with the techniques and budget restrictions. Now with the advances in digital technology, the cost of filmmaking has dropped dramatically. Project Alchemy cost 5,000 to make on 16mm film and was only 30mins long. Now with new technology I could make a feature for the same amount.

AJ: What inspired you to make a Batman film

PJW: It's something I always dreamed of doing. Dramatically Batman is a great character with a great deal of depth. Something I believe is open to interpretation, but has never fully been explored.

When I heard of Fabio2's attempt at a Batman movie and it's subsequent demise, I thought "Why not try filling the void." I knew there was a great deal of enthusiasm for the project and I thought why not give it a go myself. I knew I had the skill and resources to pull it off.

AJ:  Can you give us a brief description of your cast and crew?

PJW: The small crew will consist of some of my students and seasoned professionals. I will be playing Batman/Bruce Wayne and a talented actor by the name of Dave Cromarty will be playing Joe Chill. I believe Dave can strike the right balance of menace, cowardice and sliminess that is associated with the character.

AJ:  Your film deals with Batman facing Joe Chill, were there any other stories and concepts you were exploring with?

PJW: I toyed with the idea of both an Arkham Asylum story, one that would see Batman trapped inside by the Scarecrow and subsequently questioning his own sanity, and a Year One feature.

I opted for for elements of the latter. Closure would have been the final scenes of my Year One movie.

AJ: You will be playing the role of the Dark Knight. Do you consider this the "Dream Role"

PJW: Absolutely. I have experience with playing tormented characters and villains and I can have quite an explosive nature. The first time I went full throttle on the set of Project Alchemy (I played the lead there also) I frightened half the crew to death. My lead actress was wary of me for hours. It was a strange experience, because I was playing a character who was borderline psychotic, with no memory and no control over his environment. Then as director I had to be the complete opposite. It was like induced schizophrenia. However, I believe Batman will be my most challenging role to date. I love the character with a passion, and that will shine through.

AJ: .Judging from the emails I receive, it appears that interest in fan-films seem to be growing. What do you think may have caused this sudden interest ?

PJW: The reason is two-fold. I think the fans are sick of how Warners treat the character with such disrespect and are tired of waiting for them to make up their minds of how they will handle the franchise from here. The fans are hungry for a new Batman film. My personal feeling is that WB should move Batman back to TV. The pilot and the first season could act as YR1 and would eventually after a few years would move into a new movie franchise. People argue that this wouldn't make WB enough money and that the movies would. I agree, but at the moment there is neither. Which mean WB is making no money from live action Batman, apart from residuals from previous movies. They can't even get of their duffs to give us special edition DVD's ala Superman. I despair at their logic.

AJ:. If they wish, how can people check out some of your earlier work?

PJW: My website should be up and running in the new year. It will feature QuickTime movies of my previous shorts, upcoming projects and details of how people can buy Project Alchemy, which I'll be releasing on DVD.

AJ: How has filming and production been going? Have there been any problems that have affected your filming.

PJW: Preproduction has been sailing along nicely. No real problems yet, but it's early days.

AJ:  When can we expect to see the finished film?

PJW: The early part of next year. The trailer will be released before Xmas.

AJ:  How do you plan on distributing the film.?
Via my website, video and DVD people should contact me directly if they are interested in a copy.

AJ: What are your thoughts on the 4 live action Batman films? As a filmmaker and a Batman fan, what positives and negatives do you see in the films

PJW: Great question. As a filmmaker all of the movies are technically perfect the only thing that has let them down is lackluster directing, poor scripting and in the case of the
Schumacher films bad performances. As a Batman fan, lack of respect for the source material and too much emphasis on the villains. Oh and Batman should never, ever kill.

Batman. The best of the bunch. Would have been perfect except for not enough Batman and some plot holes.

Batman Returns. Fantastic exploration of duality and expressionism. Let down unbelievably by some unforgivable absurdities and plot holes you could drive a bus through. 2nd best.

Batman Forever. The best script of the lot. Let down by very poor execution and a total lack of understanding of the character. Made for a very hollow movie and the beginning of the end.

Batman and Robin. The worst film ever made period, but the scenes with Clooney and Gough were the most touching of the series.

13 Now I'm going to give some names and you tell me word or phrase that comes to mind when you hear them.

-Tim Burton
One of the most creative mainstream Directors ever. His films suffer though, because more often than not he favours style over substance.

-Michael Keaton
Incredible actor. Amazingly versatile. I don't care about any physical inadequacies some say he may have. Was the most believable, human and scary Batman to date. And I suspect he will be for some time to come. Inspired and very brave casting.

-Joel Schumacher
Remarkably competent Director. Seemed intent on exploring homosexual themes with Batman though. Turned the whole spectacle of Batman into pantomime, even before Batman and Robin.

Thank you and I hope you enjoy the film. I'm confident I won't let the fans down, but in the words of Robert Wuhl in the making of documentary for the 89 film. "It's almost impossible to bring a legend to life on the screen. Everyone has their own ideas."