There’s some great news today for fans of of the mega-popular Mortal Kombat franchise. New Line/Warner Bros. have announced that Kevin Tancharoen, the man behind Mortal Kombat: Legacy, will helm a big-screen adaptation of the game, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year.
Formerly known as a choreographer, music video director and the man behind the 2009 musical remake, Fame, Tancharoen turned heads when his short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, hit YouTube in 2010. (Check it out by clicking here.)
Following the viral sensation of that short, Tancharoen was brought on board to direct this year’s popular Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series. The film version, which he says is a separate take on the property, reteams him with Rebirth writer Oren Uziel. Speaking with ComingSoon.net just moments ago, Tancharoen discussed the road to a Mortal Kombat feature and how shooting is planned for early 2012 with a tentative release sometime in 2013.
CS: This is some big news! Congratulations! Can you say, in your own words, what today’s announcement means for you?
Kevin Tancharoen: It’s very exciting! I’m so happy that I’ve been a gigantic fan of this title since I was a little kid. This is a dream come true for me. I’m really happy that New Line and Warner Bros. saw the potential after the “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” webseries we did and the numbers that the videogame has done. I’m extremely grateful because it’s been a big, big journey for me.
CS: It seems like it wasn’t all that long ago that your original short was leaked online and everyone was raving about the look of it.
Tancharoen: Yeah! Oddly enough, that wasn’t originally supposed to make it online. I had intended to make that for private use because I can’t deny that my background is very musical. It comes from “Fame” and Britney Spears. I knew that, because of that, no one was going to give me the money to do the stuff that I really wanted to do, which was action, horror films and genre movies. Comic book adaptations. The kind of stuff that I grew up infatuated with. I made that because I knew that nobody was going to give me a shot and I had to do it myself. I made it to send around to executives. The reason that it went online is actually something that makes me seem a little stupid. I wanted to send it out to some colleagues for some input. I wasn’t even completely done yet. The file was like two and half gigs and I don’t have an FTP site. I’m not that fancy. A friend of mine said, “Hey, you can do it for free on YouTube. Just make the link private and whoever has the link will be the only ones who can see it.” I stupidly, because I’m not YouTube saavy, didn’t know how to make the link private. I thought I did and it then went public. It was up there and I was actually very nervous when it went public because I thought I was going to get in a mess of trouble.
CS: Well, it certainly paid off!
Tancharoen: I know! It would have a been a great thing if I had meant to do it from the get-go. It would have made me look a whole lot smarter.
CS: How long has the film version been in discussion? Is this something that has just been decided on today?
Tancharoen: The idea has been floating around even before I made the short film. I was on the mixing stage at Warner Bros. and I had heard about Mortal Kombat and went, “Oh my god! That’s amazing! I know how to do that. I know how to do fight sequences. I know how to choreograph it.” After that, it kind of went away. Then, after the web series did so well, we started talking seriously with New Line about doing a film. They were like, “The numbers are proven and they really like the style and the storytelling.” They said we should go for it.
CS: Is this something that’s going to continue elements of the web series?
Tancharoen: No, this is a new take and it’s not going to continue directly off of the web series. There will be elements that are familiar to the people that have watched it, but it is its own movie. I wanted to make sure that, regardless of anything else, that it’s a good movie. It doesn’t have to be something that you will have had to have seen all ten episodes previously to understand or have played the videogame to understand. It’ll live on its own and be its own film and will hopefully be something that can continue on. It’s such a big story that you could have two or three movies, but I want to make sure that the first one is good on its own.
CS: One of the cool things about “Mortal Kombat” as a property is that everyone knows what it is and the mythology, for anyone, can range from “people fighting” to something much deeper.
Tancharoen: Exactly! And I’ve always been a fan of properties that have been able to expand their universe in different ways. The easiest example for me to mention is Batman. You have Batman, the Nolan films, which are their own universe. Right now, you’ve got Batman: Arkham Asylum, which is another completely different universe. Then you have all the Batman animated stuff, which is a series of completely different takes. Yet it’s all based around the same idea of concept and character. I do think that Mortal Kombat is big enough that you can allow for that kind of character and let in multiple forms of storytelling.
CS: Is it too soon to say which characters we might be seeing in this?
Tancharoen: That I have to keep a secret for now, but you will be seeing a lot of your favorites. That I can guarantee!
CS: What about cast members of the web series? Any chance they’ll reprise their roles or pop up for cameos?
Tancharoen: That’s another one that I’m not able to answer yet and I do apologize for that.
CS: What’s the timeline looking like? When is production being targeted?
Tancharoen: They want to shoot early next year and hopefully get it out in 2013.
CS: So the script has been written?
Tancharoen: We’ve got a good draft of the script, but we’re still working on it with Oren Uziel, who wrote the short. It’s great. It’s really great.
You can check out the entire Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series by clicking here.