Film producer Adi Shankar. Photo Credit: Warren Remolacio.

Film producer Adi Shankar. Photo Credit: Warren Remolacio.

GALO: From what I gather, you have recently released a miniseries online that acts as a continuation of the movie Dredd. The Judge Dredd series brings to life the characters of an old UK Comic called 2000 AD. My understanding is that the original comic follows the Dark Judges, namely Judge Death, Juge Fear, Judge Fire and Judge Mortis. Please elaborate about your series a little more for our readers.

AS: It only follows Judge Death because I wanted to do the original story. I actually set it outside of the continuity of the movie and it is completely separate. The series I released online was unofficial. I wanted to do something that was a thank you to the fans, and I was able to just kind of make it off-the-grid; I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it, much in the way of the Punisher movie. It was more comedic and more satirical [than Dredd], and had quite a bit of action in it. It was animated and kind of done in the style of ’90s cartoons. Don’t get me wrong, I love the shared universe thing [in today’s cartoons]. Like, I love how Iron Man will pop-up in the Captain America movies and that kind of stuff, but on some kind of level, it kind of limits the point of view through which you can explore a character. So, it was an opportunity for me to explore the Judge Dredd universe through a completely different means.

GALO: With the cult following that you have developed from the movie and the series, have you contemplated where it will lead after the finale of those — any chance of a TV show in the future?

AS: I don’t know, but the miniseries probably got me booted off the franchise. I’m half-joking. There has always been talk of a Dredd sequel and I can’t even comment on it at this point.

GALO: Apparently, you released the miniseries for free and have also produced several other bootleg cartoon-style films online. While turning to the cyber-world for film release has become quite trendy, especially during the film festival circuits, it is very rare that a movie producer will give the public a break from reaching for their wallets. What made you decide to do so? Why not charge for these new films?

AS: I don’t know, actually. I just never thought to charge for stuff. You know, maybe I should charge for stuff. But I always thought there was something cool about not doing so. Look at all these movies coming out with PG-13 labels — I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily think an R-rated movie is necessarily better than a PG-13 movie, but some of these [R-rated] movies are being dialed back because money is on the table and you get a bigger audience with PG-13 [we can’t help but wonder what he would say about the R-rating for the upcoming sure-fire hit Fifty Shades of Grey]. Once you strip money out of the equation, it just purely becomes about the art.

GALO: Speaking of which, rumor has it that you will be releasing some new bootleg films in 2015. Care to give our readers a preview on what to expect?

AS: No, I just can’t give a preview, but the next one coming out is going to redefine what a bootleg is because it is so awesome. They will be in the same genre as usual (R-rated). My next movie, The Voices, is a little bit outside of the scope but still in it [the genre]. Let me put it this way, the next bootleg movie has already been shot and it will come out soon.

GALO: I can see you’re not one for spoilers, an admirable quality in this industry.

AS: I don’t really have any spoilers, but [The Voices] is a good movie.

GALO: Prior to casting, did you have any actors or actresses in mind? Anyone surprise you during the audition phase?

AS: Ryan Reynolds was my top choice and he is such a great guy. He is one of those guys who are totally unfazed by Hollywood, and it hasn’t really affected him. It’s quite inspirational, actually. You know, a lot of people can get caught up in the machine, and he’s a guy who just didn’t. I was already a fan and knew he was a great actor. I think he is going to surprise any naysayers he has.

GALO: Could you maybe share with us some fun or memorable moments during casting, or those that happened on set while filming?

AS: Well, I acted in the movie as well. I have all of these weird memories of being in character, like I physically altered my appearance for the role. I had braces installed and whatnot. My favorite memories were in-between takes. I would have all of these conversations with Ryan, but [with] me in character and him in character. It was very bizarre.

GALO: Seeing as your company, Private Defense Contractors, produces movies mainly of the R-rated, violent-action nature, would you say those are your favorite genres? Are there perhaps any other genres of film that our readers may see your name in association with in the near future, or do you think you will stick to the high-violence films that have helped you climb the production ladder thus far?

AS: I did come up with that name, but I have killed the brand. I realized that I didn’t actually need a company brand. It was creating confusion in the market because people would want to talk to me and they got caught up in the company. Long story short, I would rather be my own brand.

Science-fiction is my favorite genre. The movie Dredd was a sci-fi movie, actually, and my next bootleg has sci-fi components in it. I would love to branch out into that genre, but sci-fi movies are really hard to do well.

I would like to write a book at some point. So if I write a book, it will probably be sci-fi. I actually wrote a book on branding and marketing that never ended up getting published because I yanked it from the publisher. This was before I had actually done anything and they decided not to push it — so I yanked it. Maybe one day I will get it published and will finish it up properly; this was before Barack Obama ran for president and I named it the “Audacity of Brand,” but now I will need a new title.

GALO: Finally, I was wondering if there are any specific producers you have considered as role models throughout your journey to becoming one of the top producers in the industry?

AS: Actually, I think producer is kind of a strange job title because I looked more at directors who later became producers — like Kevin Smith and Woody Allen. The people who inspire me are the ones who kind of have a very specific career and who built a specific audience for themselves. I knew I would like to do that, too. It wasn’t so much people on a specific track, but more so personality types — like guys who were kinda trying to carve out an existence for themselves without “selling out.” But that doesn’t really mean that they were working every decade.

Video courtesy of Adi Shankar.

You can watch more of Adi Shankar’s bootleg miniseries online by subscribing to his YouTube channel. || Featured image courtesy of Warren Remolacio.