With his action and stunt-filled short films, director Leo Kei Angelos has started making a name for himself online. His forays into fan films have especially made people take notice. The Vietnamese-born Angelos immigrated to the United States to pursue his dream of making movies in 2006 and with his recent move from New York to Los Angeles and the imminent release of his long awaited Harry Potter-inspired webseries, Auror’s Tale, that dream looks like its just around the corner.
I had a chat with Angelos about some of his recent projects, and this is what he had to say:
GREG: So what a lot of people are anxiously awaiting is your webseries Auror’s Tale set in the Harry Potter universe. How did that project come about?
LEO: I’ve always been a huge fan of Harry Potter. I grew up with the book series, being eleven when the first book came out [like Harry Potter was]. That wonderful series really defined our generation. When I lived in New York, I found a great opportunity to continue playing with that magical universe by telling new stories about wizards living and working in America.
Now while it is set in the Harry Potter universe but looking at the trailer and promotional footage, certainly has its own style. How would you say Auror’s Tale differs from the original films?
The characters are a bit older, so the tone is more gritty and the setting is a bit more adult. Since the story centers around Aurors -the wizarding police of the magical community- there’s more of an emphasis on crime and the mentality behind criminals. I’m heavily inspired by a lot of great filmmakers but I would say the two directors I’m drawing from when I started creating this series is Christopher Nolan and John Woo.
When can we expect to see the first episode released?
This very month of August 2013. I know it’s been long overdue, but it’s finally showing up!
Recently you released a short film that was a big hit around the offices here at Living Myth Media, the Wonder Woman piece First Impressions. What can you tell us about that?
First Impressions was my first directing work as soon as I moved to Los Angeles, so the title itself is a reference to my real life situation. I love superhero comics and movies. When my manager George Ruiz pitched me the idea of doing a Wonder Woman fan film about her off-duty hours, I jumped at the chance. The rest of the story fell into place by drawing from my own dating experience. That’s totally a joke.
Personally I am a huge fan of Doug Jones, so I do need to allow myself to geek out a little and ask what it was like to work with him? (PS, Doug if you’re reading this, I would love to interview you as well. Just throwing that out there!)
This photo shows you all you need to know. Haha! It was a brilliant experience. Doug Jones is the most charming and sweet gentleman you’ll ever meet, and he brings so much to the table as a comic book villain character. Also, expect lots of hugs.
Your work does entail a lot of action and stunts. Is that a big passion for you as a director?
Action and stunts is a huge passion for me as a director. I just love shooting it. I grew up with martial arts and Jackie Chan films. I’ve trained and worked on stunts with some extremely talented stunt professionals in the industry. I think movies need good stories and strong characters first, but if alongside that comes bad-ass action and stunt-work, it just attracts me to a project that much more.
As you said, you’ve recently moved from New York to Los Angeles. How has that change been personally and professionally?
I still love New York and I try to find an excuse to travel back every other month or so. But Los Angeles is wonderful because it’s a lot less expensive and most people are more chill. They’re not so super busy struggling and being stressed out 24/7 like in New York that I think we make more time to hang out here. Professionally speaking film-making is ingrained into the culture here. There are resources everywhere you look. [This is also] a much bigger stunt community and a lot more cool places to go and train at too. Also, projects get green-lit in this town so it’s been fun meeting and pitching with studio execs.
Any other projects coming in the near future?
Yes, lots, but I’m not sure what I’m allowed to disclose. I can tell you I’d love to do more with DC characters. There’s also a few original ideas we want to do, and those are fun because you get to start with a blank slate, but sometimes it’s a harder sell because there’s no brand recognition to help market your work. Then again the difficulty in working with an established IP is to navigate the legal channels and get them to sign off on you. So right now it’s just a lot of patience, perseverance and problem solving. You know, film-making in general.
Excellent, we’ll be looking forward to more! Thanks and best of luck!
Thanks for the questions!
Angleos has a cool dance video that he’s been teasing on his Instagram account that looks like something to keep an eye out for. And as a little extra, while we were doing this interview, he released a fantastic new short re-creating the epic and infamous Peter Griffin versus Giant Chicken battles from Family Guy featuring two very talented stuntwomen in the leads. Check this out:[box]
Auror’s Tale: www.youtube.com/aurorstale