Jeffrey Morris is the founder of Future Dude Entertainment, a company created back in 2010 in an effort to bring the wonders of science fiction back into the worlds we love to read.
I got the chance to speak with Jeffrey at his booth at ComiCon about his recently finished film, Oceanus: Part One, and his hopes for his comic, Parallel Man.
PopWrapped: So what brought you to the world of comics versus the standard novel?
Jeffrey Morris: Well, I am a visual artist, and filmmaking is my real passion, but comic books allow us to tell stories. Kind of like film stories in a cinematic way. That’s why we decided to do comic books first.
PW: Have you talked with any companies about turning them into films?
JM: Actually, one of our comics right now, Parallel Man, we're pitching it to Cartoon Network, and our trade paperback collected edition is exactly what’s getting them interested. We actually met with a couple of companies about the project and the comics are what they’re really excited about. The animation’s really cool, but the comics tell the story, so we have our fingers crossed that Cartoon Network is gonna love it.
PW: Would you hope for a play by play ? Kind of bringing each panel to life?
JM: Not exactly. I think they’re really different media, and I almost look at comics as a storyboard. Establish the look and feel with that. But the moving pictures are so much more than a comic. Obviously you have the Sin City sort of stuff, where you do exactly what’s in the panel, but in our case we’re not trying to do that. For people who’ve read Parallel Man, we’ve plotted out a 13-episode TV series arc, and it actually goes further than what we did in the comic book. So in a lot of ways I hope we can do a TV series, because we can actually go to other places and to other worlds that you don’t get to see in the comics.
PW: Do you have any ideal candidates for actors for certain characters?
JM: For our initial animation, we had John Cho, Sulu from Star Trek, as the main character, and I want to keep him, he did a great job. Ming Na Wen did the voice of the main villain, Mackenzie, and Lance Reddick—who is actually a good friend of mine—he did the AI, Atlas, and I’m sure he’ll keep doing it for us. Beyond that, we really want to get some famous actors, some really big actors to play some of the roles. If you look at the comic book, we base the main villain on Jane Ackman, and I’m hoping I can talk him out of retirement just to record his voice. We kind of cast the story as we drew the comic book.
PW: Are you working on anything new?
JM: We just finished the comic book for our most recent feature film, Oceanus. We’re kind of moving away from comics; I think film is really taking off for us right now, and I think we’re going to be focusing on that. I think we will have comic book adaptations of everything we do because we love comics, but for right now we’re really focused on making some great movies.
PW: Is it live action or sketch?
JM: It’s live action. But we’re looking at the next phase. It’s actually just released on Vimeo on Demand, and it will soon be on iTunes and everywhere else.
What led you to want to do this interview?
PW: Growing up I was really into comics and manga, specifically. My dad got me into Sailor Moon and things like that, and I started branching out and got into SciFi. And I got really interested in what leads people to creating these worlds. Because I’m a storyteller—I’m more into the written aspect than the art, because I can’t draw for beans.
JM: Yeah, but there are beautiful comics that are poorly written, and comics need good writers. I think the sweet spot is getting both, so that you can have these beautifully drawn and beautifully written stories.
PW: Well thank you for setting aside the time to meet with me.
JM: Absolutely. For me, science fiction is really cool, and I think we’re really missing great SciFi these days. There’s a lot of fantasy stuff that lends itself to science fiction. But this is what I call tech fantasy, because it’s actually really plausible, real science fiction.
PW: Well I look forward to reading them. Thank you very much!