Patrick Meaney Shares His Thoughts on Directing GRANT MORRISON: TALKING WITH GODS
Published: October 30, 2010 - 10:38am
An Exclusive Interview with Patrick Meaney, director of the documentary Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, from The Action Room. He explores many aspects of one of the most acclaimed comic book writers in recent times.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Grant Morrison, let me tell you a few things. Grant Morrison is a comic book writing rock star. He has risen to fame and fortune through his imaginative and innovative comics, like The Invisibles, We3, Seaguy, and Animal Man. He's also written mainstream superheroes, including the X-Men, Justice League, All-Star Superman, and Batman. He is a mystical and spiritual persona, and his work is infused with everything from Buddhism to punk rock. We truly believe that he is the next big writer to break through to the mainstream, following in the steps of people like Frank Miller, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. Grant Morrison is a wonderfully mad Scottish counter-cultural visionary.
Complimenting Morrison's own words are interviews with his closest collaborators and friends, including Frank Quitely, Douglas Rushkoff, Cameron Stewart, Phil Jimenez, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, Jill Thompson and many more. The film makes extensive use of found and abstract footage to make the documentary feel like a Morrison comic. (grantmorrisonmovie.com/)
This was our second opportunity to interview Patrick Meaney from Respect Films. His most recent project has been directing the documentary Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods. Morrison had a huge influence on Patrick ever since he read The Invisibles. In an earlier interview with us, Patrick struck upon one of the central themes of the documentary:
One of the big things we cover in the documentary is the disconnect between his image and the reality. There is that Disinfo. con video where he gives this famous crazy speech - he's yelling, he's tripping... that's sort of the apotheosis of the 'wild man' Grant. I think he's definitely mellowed a bit over time. He was interested in making the documentary because I think part of him wanted people to see that there are other sides to him - there's a more sedate side. He's a happily married man, and he stays at home these days, mostly just working all day.
The following interview took place just before 2010 New York Comic Con where the doc had its premiere.
TONY: Thank you for joining us, Patrick!
PATRICK: Thank you for having me, it's good to be back.
PRODUCER MIKE: So Patrick, you also shot a comedy video directed by Trevor Williams - it's a parody of "The Office," called (and about) 'Replacing Michael Scott.'
PATRICK: Yes, it's up at BabelGum.com. You can view that HERE.
We had a terrific panel at New York ComicCon 2010, similar to what we did at San Diego. This film is really the first video documentation about his life in any capacity. Grant Morrison is probably the biggest writer in comics right now, and I would say pretty undeniably one of the two or three biggest writers in the modern age of comics. He's a chaos magician, he's a philosopher, a big thinker, and a really interesting guy. And this documentary traces his life and its connections with his work.
PRODUCER MIKE: Did you come at the film from the angle of wanting to make sure it would work for people who aren't familiar with Grant or his work?
PATRICK: I always wanted it to be something where if you're a fan of Grant, it's not going to be talking down to you, but also to make it accessible to people who didn't know anything about his work. You don't want to just play to the die-hard fans, the 100,000 people around the world who follow his work and buy whatever books he does. If you had never read a Grant comic, you could watch this film and say "This is a really interesting guy, I want to check out his books."
TONY: You make great use of showing select panels in the film, to show how these ideas and his writing came to life visually.
PRODUCER MIKE: Unlike an Alan Moore or a Mark Millar, Grant Morrison hasn't yet fully broken through to the mainstream in terms of having a big movie made out of his comics. Is there something on the horizon for Grant in terms of an adaptation?
TONY: We know Grant has had so many projects in development with Hollywood that just haven't gotten made yet.
PATRICK: It seems like "We3" is the closest to actually being made. Grant wrote a full screenplay for it, and apparently it's a fantastic script. The director of "Kung-Fu Panda" is attached. Since the We3 is about animals and will need a lot of CGI animation, it's a good fit. (We3 follows the adventures of three cybernetically-enhanced animals - a dog, a cat and a rabbit - as they attempt to return home.)
TONY: Grant wrote a screenplay called "Sleepless Knights" for DreamWorks years ago; as far as I understand, he was paid for it but it just never got made. His Vertigo series "Joe The Barbarian" has been optioned recently as well.
PATRICK: My feeling is that in Hollywood, if no one's ever done it, no one wants to do it. Even if something gets made and it's a failure, they figure 'Well, somebody did this, we can do more.' For example, "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" bombed, but that led the way for "V For Vendetta" and "Watchmen." After "Minority Report" came out, there were so many adaptations of Philip K. Dick stories, and most of them were horrible, but they just kept making them.
PRODUCER MIKE: It definitely seems like once they do one, it'll just open the floodgates.
PATRICK: Grant is also writing an indie psychedelic sci-fi film called "Sinatoro" ( http://www.sinatoro.com ) directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer, coming out in 2012. I think it'll be pretty big. If it's not huge, it'll probably be more like the film "MirrorMask" was for Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman.
TONY: So you guys are having screenings in many major cities all over the country, for the Grant doc.
PATRICK: We've already had screenings in San Francisco at the Roxy, as well as Philadelphia at an actual centrifuge.
TONY: There will be particle acceleration happening both in the centrifuge and in your BRAINS, when exposed to Grant's mind-blowing work!! [Laughs]
PATRICK: We had screenings in Boston and Chicago and there are more coming - possibly in London as well. And we're got more lined up. The film will be available on DVD as of October 26 on Amazon.com, as well as at other online retailers and some 'brick and mortar' stores. It's also available at our main site, www.grantmorrisonmovie.com We had a lengthy, favorable review in Variety recently and some coverage on MTV.com, as well as Rich Johnston's site, BleedingCool.com.
PRODUCER MIKE: Patrick, thanks again for coming back to The Action Room.
PATRICK: Thanks, guys. People can also check out my webseries "The Third Age" - it's available for free at www.thethirdagebegins.com , and my film production company is www.respectfilms.com (inspired by Ali G's "Respek!").