Adi Shankar has made quite a few waves over the past few years, serving as an executive producer on such projects as Dredd, The Grey and Lone Survivor, as well as producing the epic one-shot Punisher: Dirty Laundry, featuring Thomas Jane, the original star of the Punisher film that came out years prior. (You can watch it below, and, yeah, it rocks.)
But Shankar really shook things up in 2015 with a dark reimagining of the Power/Rangers universe, with a small but sufficient action film that millions of fans came to appreciate. And now even bigger things are in the pipeline for Shankar, as he’s working alongside writer Warren Ellis and the animation team at Frederator Studios (Adventure Time) on a new animated series based on Konami’s famed Castlevania franchise.
We sat down with Shankar to catch up with him on his projects, including what to expect from Castlevania, as well as what other game franchises he would consider working on.
A Hard-R Mega Man?
First up, we talked about how audiences seem to be accepting older classic franchises into newer releases these days, like Castlevania being reborn as an animated series (set to premiere later this year). “I think it’s a sign that the culture has shifted,” he explained. “Nerd culture is the new status quo and the new mainstream. If you’re an artist or a storyteller and you’re not into this stuff, then you’re on the wrong side of history.”
With that, he looked back at his Power/Rangers short from 2015 (which can be seen above), and what came about with its creation. “It was my second favorite show growing up and Power/Rangers Unauthorized was how I saw the show as a kid. (James) Van Der Been and I had been homies since 2009 and he was a fan of The Bootleg Universe and wanted to be in one. I viewed it as street art. I’m still sad that we had to cut the Masked Rider cameo from the end credits for timing.”
We then began talking about Castlevania, with us inquiring just how much research was put into the project – namely, playing the games. “Yes, I’m a massive gamer and at some point I’m going to start live streaming myself wrecking fools online,” he said. “If I’m not a fan of something and I don’t organically understand what is cool about it, then I’m simply not going to get involved. Even though I have one foot in the door in Hollywood, I’m not trying to rape and pillage culture for profit. I’m trying to take the things I loved as a kid and bring them to life in an interesting way.”
But what kind of video game would he want to bring to life in a live-action film, like Power/Rangers? “I’d love to do a hard-R Mega Man,” he admitted.
But What Other Konami Franchises?
Konami is known for more than just Castlevania, so we couldn’t help but ask what other franchises would catch his eye from the company. “Contra would be amazing if Stallone and Schwarzenegger voiced Bill and Lance,” he said. “The anime would need to play on the sci-fi elements found in the international versions of the game. Metal Gear is an obvious one and Snake is a global cultural icon.”
However, Metal Gear would need to be done the right way. “I hope Metal Gear never transitions into a live action project,” he said. “The suits would lobotomize the character for the sake of mindless consumerism.”
Finally, we asked which was more difficult to work on – live-action or animation. But he summed it up in the best gamer answer possible: “Everything is going to be a challenge once Injustice 2 comes out. Can’t wait to play it.”
The first season of the Castlevania animated series arrives later this year on Netflix.