Interview with Metal Hurlant Chronicles director Guillaume Lubrano

The science-fantasy Heavy Metal comic magazine has spanned across multiple mediums including film and video games. It has yet to have its own TV series. That’s where Metal Hurlant Chronicles comes in. Using the original French name, Metal Hurlant, the series will bring the comic pages to life via live-action episodes. We got a chance to interview director Guillaume Lubrano, which you can check out below.

Metal Hurlant Chronicles stars Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner, Batman Begins), Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis, Fringe), Scott Adkins (The Expendables 2), Michael Jai White (Spawn, The Dark Knight), Kelly Brook (Piranha 3D), David Belle (District B13), James Marsters (Buffy), and Darren Shahlavi (Ip Man 2, Mortal Kombat Legacy).

Nerd Reactor: Hi Guillaume.

Guillaume Lubrano: Hi everyone!

So how did you get started into filming?

Guillaume Lubrano: Since I was twelve years old I wanted to be a film director, and after watching movies for years, I decided that I would attend film school in France after high school. To be more effective, I decided to prepare myself by learning the technical aspects as fast as possible; therefore, during my last year in high school and in the first years of college before applying to film school, I learned the basics of shooting.

In my opinion, the best way to attain my objectives would be by knowing how each process takes place during the making of a film, so I started to learn film, the sound process and editing. Eventually (just before starting film school) I was selected to become a journalist and editor for the French TV channel, M6. I then decided to use this opportunity to complete my learning while directly working on television, and it was there that I started shooting my first short film and many other projects. I later decided to fund my own company to produce TV shows but also to distribute movies, and finally I was able to start developing my own projects such as Metal Hurlant.

Can you give us the rundown on Metal Hurlant Chronicles?

Guillaume Lubrano: Metal Hurlant Chronicles is an anthology series, in the exact same vein as The Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt, but all the episodes are based on actual comics that were published in the original Metal Hurlant comic books. The first season features six 26-minute episodes, with stories ranging from sci-fi action, to sci-fi thrillers. I’ve been working on this series for two years since Humanoids, the publisher of Metal Hurlant, accepted to work with us.

What attracted you to the Metal Hurlant Chronicles project?

Guillaume Lubrano: When Humanoids started to publish Metal Hurlant again in 2003, I really got into it and each time I was reading a story that I liked, I was thinking, “This would be a great movie.” And this led me to the idea of doing a television series, and trying to bring something new to the television market in France, as you have mostly comedies or police dramas produced here.

It’s cool seeing that you’re showcasing martial arts/stunt actors like Michael Jai White, Matt Mullins, Darren Shahlavi, David Belle and Scott Adkins. Was this something you planned all along?

Guillaume Lubrano: The “King’s Crown” episode featured a sci-fi / medieval universe, featuring robots and warriors fighting, and I was really digging the idea of having warriors who would have swordfights but who could in a second switch to a fighting style which would again make us realize that despite the armor and swords we are in fact still in the future. And to achieve that, I really wanted to work with actors who could bring a strong presence to the characters and act while being able to handle the fights themselves. It was a pleasure therefore to work with such talents as Michael, Matt, Scott and Darren. And I look forward to being able to work with them again soon 🙂

What was it like directing a project this huge in scope?

Guillaume Lubrano: It was a lot of work with some really great moments, and it was sometimes very difficult, but that is a part of every project. The truly most beautiful aspect about a project like Metal Hurlant is its variety. All the episodes being in a different universe permitted me to focus on different styles and different views, as some stories required a quiet pace to let the mood instill itself, while others push you right into the action.

Are you big into comic books?

Guillaume Lubrano: I like a lot of comic books and basically from all countries; for example, I’m a big fan of Garth Ennis’ works or The Walking Dead series when it comes to US comic books, but I also like Japanese titles like 20th Century Boys from Naoki Urasawa, and of course French/Belgian creations such as Universal War One (Denis Bajram), Aquablue (Thierry Cailleteau), and many more. I believe that some of the best stories exist in comics books; I always look forward to being surprised from what new production or which country will bring something new to the table.

You directed a Counter-Strike short movie back in 2001. Do you plan on doing more video game shorts?

Guillaume Lubrano: Among my old projects, I had been working with Vivendi Universal about doing a web series based on that short, but back in 2001 this was maybe a bit too different, and the people from Vivendi and Valve had different views about the project, so it never happened. But being a journalist in the video game business for 7 years (until 2005) created some substantial links with the industry, so of course among my projects a few may involve video games adaptations, but mainly for either TV series or features.

What are your favorite geek hobbies?

Guillaume Lubrano: I really became a comic book geek when I started to work in the industry because that’s been my main way of escaping from work for many years; then when I stopped working in the video games industry it once again became really fresh as before 🙂 However, my passion for movies has always been strong, and going to theaters in front of a big screen still remains one of my favorite moments 🙂

Do you have any future plans after Metal Hurlant Chronicles?

Guillaume Lubrano: We are working on season 2 for Metal Hurlant, and also two features: one being a sequel to a successful French horror license that will be announced soon. And besides that, I have several other projects which are based on licensed properties which we are discussing at the moment.

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