As Stevie Cinema readers well know, I have made a Sonic the Hedgehog movie a personal crusade of mine. As that dream is coming closer to reality, there are awesome fan films being made! One upcoming film is Sonic Origins and I caught up to its Director/Producer Christina Sill as well as Writer/Composer Charlie McDougle and Story/Scenario Writer Edrees Shokooree in a Stevie Cinema EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW about the 2D animated fan film.
Stevie Neil- Ok I would like to ask each of you how you first got into Sonic the Hedgehog….aaaaand…GO!
Edrees Shokooree- I started with the original game when I was 4 years old
Charlie McDougle- I got into it probably when I was 5. I got my first system, Sega Genesis, that came with Sonic 2. From then on I was hooked!
Stevie- Very interesting. Yeah I pretty much have been down since I played Sonic 1 on a Genesis kiosk in 1991. Sonic 2 was the game that pushed me over the top.
Edrees- Very nice! I was born in 91 so I did not have that luxury. I played it at my cousins house and actually beat the game by myself at that age.
Stevie- Very impressive! i didn’t even start gaming until I was 7. Christina, so what caught your attention that was Sonic related to get you to dive in? Games? Comics?
Christina Sill- I did played the classic games on the PC collection(in 2000?),but I did not play it that much. I first got into Sonic last year(2013). After researching games I missed out on my childhood. I remember that Sonic Colors got a good review. So I watched a couple of clips of the game on YouTube. I remember one YouTube comment “oh they changed his voice” and I started to watch clips of the previous games. And it kinda of snowballed from there. My first Sonic game I play from start to finished was Sonic Generations.
Stevie- Wow. That just shows us all how awesome Sonic really is. Enough to have movies made about him, which is why we are here.
Charlie- That’s for sure!
Christina- Yeah I love Sonic! He’s someone I wish I could be,cool,confident ,not afraid to speak his mind, outgoing; something I’m not.
Stevie- Which actually leads into my next question. What are the aspects of Sonic that hooked you guys into his universe?
Charlie- I just loved how hip, cool and fun Sonic can be. He was so stylish, like a punk rockin’ Mickey Mouse, fighting off robots and blazing into the sunset. The SatAM series helped in fleshing out his backstory for me at the time, giving the games a little more weight and edge to them…(it was)like I really felt like I was on a mission to save the world
Edrees- For me the aspects of the character and his gameplay is what drew me in. From a gameplay perspective I love the sense of speed and platforming mix from the classic games it was really something new during that time period. Granted Sonic 1 was my first game. His character was interesting and unique to me I love cool energetic characters who have a good sense of personality and justice. I have a main character fetish, though. I love the main character of every series I play or watch or read except for a few.
Stevie- Well a blue hedgehog smashing robots at break-neck speed is worthy of a fetish! (laughs)
Christina- Other aspects of the games I like is the game take skill and memorization ,at least for me,I’m not that good at playing Sonic games… also I loved the sense of speed in Sonic Generations…another aspect is the MUSIC!
Charlie- The music was so epic to me. When I was sick, or even just chilling around the house, I would listen to the Sonic 2 sound test all day!
Edrees- I remember trying that level select code in Sonic 3 just to listen to the sound test. before I got Sonic & Knuckles!
Stevie- Is there going to be a musical score inspired by the game in the movie?
Christina- Yes. Charlie is also a composer too.
Charlie- Yeah! I’m cooking up a few ideas for remixes to put in the movie…trust that!
Christina- I’m hoping we could do some collabs with other remixers/composers as well.
Stevie Neil- (In my Mr. Burns voice) Excellent…
Stevie Neil- Ok so the next question is… why an origin story?
Christina- Well in the games there isn’t a clear origin story for Soinc. So this gives a little freedom for creativity. I had to do research to separate the story origins from the comics,cartoons and games. I’m more fan of the japanese cannon though. I was inspired by Sonic the Comic,a comic book series that was in the Uk. I was inspired by one strip (Ed.Note pictured on left)…I borrow some elements from that. I started to brainstorm some ideas. One of those ideas were a half human and half hedgehog….but I scraped that idea,cause I felt that the fans would not like that idea.
Stevie- Oh wow. Yeah that would be a walk on the wild side.
Christina- Yeah,even then I had a early grasp of what the fan base might like (laughs)!
Charlie- Lawd (laughs)!
Stevie- What were the parameters that helped you guys mold the script?
Christina- My first story outline was a bit dark, So I had to remove a few things. It’s always best to sit on your ideas for awhile and see if they are still good or not. I took my time with the outline.
Edrees- Yeah then myself and Charlie fleshed out the story to what we all believe would be a decent telling of how Sonic came to be. We included references from 2D and 3D games and unique personalities. Its more focused on storytelling over action from a series standpoint.
Charlie- After reading over the outline and getting a feel of Christina’s vision, I strived to tell her story while encapsulating Sonic’s world as best as possible.
Christina- I did not show the show the very first story outline to Charlie or Edrees. (Everyone laughs)
Charlie- (chuckles) Yeah, I didn’t know it was gonna be darker, but Christina basically gave me and Edrees free reign to add whatever elements we wanted to make the story flow. And cuz I was an old school head (and she a fan of the Japanese canon), I wanted to make sure to incorporate as many elements of the early Sonic stories as possible.
Stevie – So a lot of Sonic 1 and Sonic CD type stuff?
Charlie- Yessir! I wanted to go nuts with it, since a lot of concepts don’t even seem to be used by Sega anymore. The world and mythology of Sonic is huge, but its a lot of aspects that tend to be forgotten, accept by the fans. So I wanted to incorporate all of it to build the world and make more sense of some of the signature aspects in it, like the rings, Chaos Emeralds, things like that.
Edrees- We also brought in stuff from games like (Sonic) Unleashed. Mostly the nations like Apotos and Mazuri to give a good sense of world building.
Charlie- I dug up a lot of the cut and underused concepts from the original Japanese story, even some parts of the old Japanese mangas. At the same time, you will see hints and tidbits of the newer gen stories thrown in there as well, so keep your eyes and ears peeled. There will be plenty of Easter Eggs for every fan, even aspects of Sonic 06, like the nation of Soleanna and some of its mythology. Whatever we could bring to the table that could help build the world of Sonic…at least as far as the game canon.
Edrees- Yeah except we didn’t use the original manga… You know… the one that has Sonic as an alter ego.
Charlie- Yeah not entirely. I did gleam a few ideas from there, but not literally. Mostly like hints and shout outs in the story. Even one of our characters, Maddie, is a reincarnation of Madonna, Sonic’s intended girlfriend from the original game’s early concepts(Ed. Note: “Did You Know Gaming” briefly references this in their first Sonic The Hedgehog episode 3:13 in). So…we definitely did our homework here.
Christina- I loved that idea. But Sega of America scraped that. I guess they made a good decision. Yeah, I’m glad I found you guys!
Charlie- Same here. It was so awesome how we all came together for this
Stevie- That gives me an idea for my next question… how did you first all come together on this?
Christina- Pretty much (laughs)!
Edrees- In a Sonic group, yeah.
Charlie- Yeah she put a post out looking for screenwriters and voice actors (I think) for a Sonic fan film she was working on. It piqued my interest so I chimed in. I think you did the same, Edrees?
Edrees- Yeah I did.
Charlie- Yup. And the rest was history.
Christina- I needed to find a script writer or a team of writers,because I wasn’t much of a writer myself. I written stories in the past. But I’m mostly good at writing back stories..but my stories never got anywhere. I did not know the basics of a story structure, so I needed to find not only a script writer but someone who knew about the Sonic series. I originally pitched my idea to a professional screen writer,before I met Charlie and Edrees. He told me he loved the idea, but I need to flesh out a outline. But he said that he would love to work on the project but he didn’t have the time to invest into learning about Sonic. So that’s when I searched Facebook.
Charlie- Well, I had taken screenwriting classes while I was in college, but it became a real addiction for me afterwards, sharpening my skills during the summer and making little scripts for my other stories. This is my first real screenplay for a legit project. So I knew I had to step my game up. It was ironic too ‘cuz when it came to stories, I was always good at fleshing out characters and scenarios…but not a solid outline. So when Christina gave me that to work off of, I was definitely on my way.
Edrees- And I never did anything like this before.
Stevie- So, besides Sonic, obviously, what other characters will be in Sonic Origins?
Charlie- Well Dr. Eggman of course…though he’s Dr. Robotnik throughout the course of the story.
(Stevie pumps fist in delight)
Charlie- YEAH! I’m sorry, but I’m an old-schooler. And though I rocked with the original canon, he’ll always be Robotnik to me. But that IS his canonical government name anyway. And we found a great way to tie in the two namesakes…
Stevie- I’m guessing other characters will get the “Easter Egg” treatment rather than a full-on appearance.
Charlie- Certain ones, yeah. It’s not gonna be a bunch of full-on cameos but a few sharp-eyed Sonic fans might recognize them. We kept the cast a bit sparse to keep the focus on Sonic and Robotnik. And our other 2 original characters, Dr. Willis (from the Sonic the Comic panel mentioned earlier) and Maddie.
Christina- Since this take place before the events of the first game. There won’t be a full appearance from the other characters.
Stevie- Ok. So what other environments (from the game and otherwise) will be making appearances in this movie?
Charlie - Christmas Island is Sonic’s birthplace, so of course it will be featured. And since the game takes place right before Sonic 1, South Island will literally be on the horizon. This film will highlight why it’s so special in the first place.
Stevie- Ok so I will close with this question. There’s clearly a ton of source material and fans out there for Sonic. Do you think Hollywood finally gives him a movie?
Edrees- Yup! There was a license a few months ago. *Ed. Note: see our first post on the subject.*
Charlie- I think it’ll happen. There have been rumors floating about one, and an actual CGI/Live action fan film that came out. So it’s only a matter of time. Question is will it be good?
Christina- Hmmmm… I just have to wait and see. Personally I think it will be related to the Sonic Boom series.
Charlie- I mean, with Sonic Boom, it looks like Sega is open to taking on new forms of media again. So hopefully with the right guidance, something can come around…but I’m cautiously optimistic
Christina- I hope it’s some who would take the time to at least learn about the franchise or is a fan themselves.
Sonic Origins is in the development stages. Follow the project on their dev stie! Stay tuned on this fan movie and FOLLOW STEVIE NEIL for the next post! Gotta Speed, Keed!!