Kevin Tancharoen Goes into Detail About Mortal Kombat Web Series

Now here’s a meaty interview with Kevin Tancharoen about his upcoming Mortal Kombat web series with the help from Warner Bros. He talks about how he originally wanted to do a Mortal Kombat reboot, but to have people believe he’s capable of doing it, he decided to create a Mortal Kombat short with the help from his actor friends. It proved to be an accidental viral success as his video was suppose to be private, but ended up all over the internet. And because of this, Warner Bros. hired him to direct a bunch of short web episodes following the fighters from Mortal Kombat.

When the Mortal Kombat: Rebirth short hit, it was huge. No one really expected it. It was wonderful to see. Can you talk about where that whole thing came from? There was talk it was supposed to be a movie first, and that was test footage to gauge interest in a movie.

Kevin Tancharoen: Yeah. I didn’t intend for it to go on the internet. Ever. I had always thought that doing a reboot, I guess that’s the term, of Mortal Kombat, would be really cool, and I had an idea on how to do it. It was one of those weekend projects, where everyone happened to be in town and I had a lot of equipment. I basically was just going to use it to, not only say that we could make a Mortal Kombat movie, but I had done nothing but dance stuff and performance-driven material my entire life. All I wanted to do was do a genre film. I wanted to do action and sci-fi and horror, and I just knew that nobody would say, ‘Hey, the guy who worked with Britney (Spears) and directed Fame should do this action sci-fi movie we have.’ So, I decided I had to make a proof of concept that I could handle that kind of material. I did that and, the way it ended up online is I’m not really a YouTube savvy tech guy. I’m technical when it comes to editing and ProTools and that kind of stuff, but not with YouTube. I wanted to send a video to a colleague of mine to get some feedback. It was like a two-gig file, and I had no way of sending a two-gig file, neither one of us had an FTP. Someone said you could send a private video on YouTube or Vimeo, and just make it a private link. That’s what I did, and somehow, that private link wasn’t so private. People ended up getting the link and started to copy/paste, copy/paste. I mean, it was still a private link when people were watching it, but then everyone got a hold of it. I found out about it going up on YouTube when it was trending on Twitter. I originally was nervous because I thought someone beat me to the chase, that kind of thing (Laughs). I clicked on the link and it was my video and I thought, ‘What the hell?’ Thank God people liked it, because that whole plan could have backfired in the worse way possible, if people were tearing it apart. I hope we get the same kind of response when we release these episodes.

In the short, we saw Jax and Scorpion and Sonya, but in these Twitpics we’ve seen a few new characters. Can you talk about Blue and the other new characters we’ll see?

Kevin Tancharoen: Yeah. We’re really doing a lot of the iconic characters, so we have Sonya, Jax, and Kano, which is a new character in that realistic world. We’re going to do an episode with Scorpion and Sub-Zero, but it takes place in ancient Japan. The whole episode is in Japanese and you see the depth of Scorpion’s family and clan and how they got murdered, etc. That one is going to be very epic, because of the iconic characters. We’re doing Rayden, of course, because you can’t do Mortal Kombat without Rayden. We’re doing Kitana and Mileena and we’re also doing a really, really cool one. The one that I’m most excited about is Cyrax and Sektor.

Can you talk about the through-line connecting these episodes? Is there a world domination sort of thing that is underlying throughout these stories?

Kevin Tancharoen: There is an underlying storyline for most of them. Some of them are just introductions into the characters’ back story. The idea of the tournament itself will always be a through-line that you just can’t ignore, since that’s the foundation of the story. That’s not put in the forefront, though. What’s put in the forefront is the emotional journeys of the characters. Now, I know that’s a weird thing to say about Mortal Kombat. The tournament is just a given. That’s kind of why everyone is around each other. We need to find out their motive for going to the tournament, that’s what makes it interesting. If it’s just a bunch of guys who want to go and beat the crap out of each other, that’s cool for like five minutes, but if you don’t have any motivation, or you don’t know where they come from, or what their back story is or what’s at stake, it’s pointless. That’s what we’re trying to achieve in all of these, that you get insight into all the characters, so that when you do see them in the tournament together, you know why they are all there, and not just that they’re there to show off some karate moves. I think it makes it much bigger and much more interesting.

OK. Will it be one episode a week for 10 weeks then? Is that what you’re looking at now?

Kevin Tancharoen: Yeah, that’s how we’re kind of approaching it, as of now.

Are you getting anything together for a possible DVD release also? Do you have extra footage or bonus goodies that you would throw on a DVD?

Kevin Tancharoen: I mean, I know that we have so much bonus material that I think people will find interesting. I hope it’s successful enough that people will want to own it on Blu-ray or DVD. I think we’ll approach that one step at a time, but I’m confident that we have enough material to fulfill something like that.

Are you looking for a Season 2 then? Would you still like to continue on the web or would you like to branch out onto cable or broadcast, or do you think the web is the best place for this now?

Kevin Tancharoen: I think that, with a property or a franchise which has the scope that Mortal Kombat does, I think it’s interesting to use different mediums to showcase different parts of that universe. I think the web series itself helps motivate a bunch of back stories. I still think that a feature version of it would be gigantic, but it also works to do both. You have the supporting episodes on the web, that people will get into the origin stories and all that stuff. The movie is obviously the big event, and you see things like that happening quite a bit now. Like, for instance, I’m getting ready for Sucker Punch to come out, and, on the internet, supporting it, are a bunch of animated shorts. It’s kind of like how The Animatrix opened up the world of The Matrix and made it much bigger. It’s not in the feature film, but it made the universe gigantic, and you were able to see different stories with it. I kind of like doing both, to be completely honest.

Another iconic aspect of the game is that announcer’s voice, who announces all the rounds at ‘Fatality.’ Do you have a voice like that when the fights are on?

Kevin Tancharoen: Oh, no, no. We treat the fights like they would be in any sort of realistic environment. We don’t need that kind of structure to it, like Round 1, Round 2, or where the Fatality happens. It’s more fluid and organic. But I am an avid martial arts film fan, so we’re really pushing the boundaries with the fight choreographer trying to make it feel fluid but also gritty at the same time, so it feels more raw but there still is an aspect of martial arts involved.

Source: Movieweb

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