MAGFest 09: Mega Man movie Q&A, behind the scenes video

A couple of months ago, we pointed you to a trailer for the Mega Man movie, a live-action fan made film retelling of the first Mega Man game. Destructoid’s impressions were positive, and we said that we were looking forward to seeing more of this movie. And now that we have, we’re even more excited.

Director Eddie Lebron took an extended trailer to MAGFest last week, showing attendees an exclusive preview of the film. It ran for about 15 minutes, highlighting the film’s story elements. Lebron followed the preview with a Q&A session, fielding questions on the story, setting and more. We have a transcript of that session, as well as a trailer and a behind-the-scenes look at the film’s making. In the coming weeks, Lebron will be sending us that extended preview, so look forward to that.

Q: What was the biggest change in adapting the film from the game, and why did you make that change.

Lebron: The biggest change, and the one that people point out the most, I think is making Mega Man 21 or 22 instead of 10. This is ironic coming from the guy that made it, but there are certain video game  that when translated 100% from live action just aren’t going to work. Honestly I think Mega Man would work better as a Final Fantasy VII Advent Children type of film, because seeing a 10-year old blasting bots in live action may not be accepted that well.

My main concern was getting the character of Mega Man across as innocent, wanting to help, his view on the world, his positive view on helping others. I just felt that if that characteristic was there, people would forgive the fact that he is a man.

Q: Music?

Lebron: It’s interesting, because I was going to go on a long search for a composer. I worked with this composer a year ago on another feature, and he found out I was doing the Mega Man film and he was like ‘I’ll do it for free. Let me do everything!’ and started sending me all of these Mega Man-inspired themes. 

We were on the same page: we want the theme from Mega Man, the opening theme from Mega Man 2, Dr. Wily’s theme — all the musical cues I love from the game will be in the film. I feel that one of the biggest aspects of a Mega Man film to get right is the music. 

Q: Where did your funding come from?

Lebron: Um, w-what funding? [laughter] All of the money was pretty much out of my pocket, out of my family’s pocket…

It’s low budget, so we contributed — at first, we tried to have a fix budget, but then it got a little high as we went on, so we tried to adapt. But it’s pretty much money from everyone that’s involved, so that’s our funding.

 Q: Will there be stages?

Lebron: That’s very interesting because the original script has stages. The film would’ve ended up four to five hours long. For a fan film, you want to keep the attention and get the point across. I’m sure if I had a Hollywood budget, I’d be able to do a lot more and have a much grander film.

When you’re making an independent film, you kind of have to stick with what’s absolutely necessary. In battles, he does go up against each boss, one by one, he does his thing with Cut Man, takes his power, it’s pretty much just like the game. The only thing is that he doesn’t go through a long, elaborate journey to get there.

It also goes back to the whole transition to the realism of the film. The biggest question, especially from non-fans, is ‘why the hell is he not teleporting directly to the bosses?’, so for realism I went to that point, and also just budgetary… 

Each area will have that cityscape and a little bit of a flavor of the boss. For Ice Man, it’s tinted blue and very cold. For Fire Man, it’s very grungy and warm. I’m trying to adapt to each boss.

Q: Did I happen to catch Zero there?

Lebron:  A lot of people say that, but that was Proto Man.  He is in full costume in the film.

Q: What city was it filmed in?

Lebron: Manhattan. Not because I don’t like any other cities, but I felt that each boss and each stage, in the whole New York City I felt there was enough variety and diversity to get each boss across, and to get each level or stage of the film across. 

Q: Why were some of the robots in CG and others were actors in costume?

Lebron:If I wanted to do 100% accuracy on the robot masters, every robot would have to be CG. Talking to the producer, I’m trying to decide for each bot what the production would call for. Ice Man, Elec Man, and Fire Man’s designs are very human. They’re nearer to the size of Mega Man, so we felt that… why not make then human in appearance. 

Cut Man, Guts Man, and Bomb Man, based on design were the most elaborate, so we went CG with them.


Q: What has been the biggest challenge in what you’ve done so far?

Lebron: In post production, the hardest thing to deal with is the damned CG. We’ve worked on it three months before the script was even written. It gets tiring. 

Q: Are you attempting to get this licensed?

Lebron: I was contacted by a representative of Capcom. They’re totally cool with the film; they think what we’re doing is great. My biggest dream is that this film is completed and someone in the right place sees it and gives me a budget so that I can do… the bigger the budget, the more you can do… I could do something very grand for half a million…

Q: Why does Dr. Light only make Asian robots? [laughs]

Lebron: I’m a huge fan of Japanese culture. With the way that I saw the game, and with the way it’s respected in Japan, I felt that if the film was to be made in Japan… If the face of the film was going to be Mega Man, he’s got to be Asian to get the vibe of how much Asian culture means to me.

Also, there is a reason why they’re all Asian. It’s a dramatic arc that I’ve put in. It’s touched upon and not overplayed, it’s just that I do clarify why there are Asians in the film — it’s not like I try to ignore it. 

Q: If this is successful, are you willing to make a sequel?

Lebron: This was a feat onto itself. It was exhausting, and I know when I come out of it I’m going to look back… I don’t regret a day of working on this film, it’s just that it’s kind of exhausting. 

However, I do have a treatment for Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3. They also follow the games. The only way I would to a Mega Man 2 is if this was successful, and large videogame sites get behind it and help promote or even stream it. Secondly, a budget. This one cost about $4,000. I would need at least $15,000 to do it right. The third thing is that I want to shoot on film or HD. Something really Hollywood quality. I need to up the ante. 

Q: Does Wily have an army of robots?

Lebron: If there was a sequel, there would be a lot more minions. In this film, there are very small bots, especially in Wily’s Castle, which is in the film — and I’m not going to show it until the film’s released, just because it’s that cool and kickass. I felt that as the series went on, he would get more bots behind him, more control over bots.

The key robot army, the ones that come in packs are in there. The bots that everyone remembers most will be in the film, mainly in the second half of the film.

Q: Sequel: would it be Mega Man 2 or Mega Man X.

Lebron: I want to do a Mega Man X movie, just because I could get a lot more in depth, a lot more ballsy with it, darker and less colorful. If I felt I had the resources to do X, I would, but X would probably cost time times the resources of this. Borderline future war, James Cameron type stuff. 

Q: How difficult was the casting process, especially with your resources.

Lebron: We held an audition, went through the casting process. We got a lot of submissions — hundreds and hundreds of actors who wanted to be in the film. When going through it, I had to go with who was a great actor, and who had the look. 

We auditioned a nice amount of people. The casting process went really smooth. We narrowed it down, and for each person we were down to two people, and that’s when we had to decide what we were going to do with the film. Were we going to make it serious, or were we going to make it colorful and move it away from what the original game was. I’m very happy with what we have so far. 

Q: Is there a hovercraft for Dr. Wily?

Lebron: He does have his craft. That’s how he commutes. It’s pretty much the same design, a little more realistic, but it’s in there. He uses it for about 60% of the film before he hides off in his castle. 

Q: When will this movie be released?

Lebron:  Originally it was supposed to be released a month ago. Before summer — that’s my main goal right now. I’ve lightened my other film loads just so I can focus on this and get this done before the summer. It’s going to be out by the end of the year.

Q: How will this be released?

The film will first be premiered in New York, screening for all those involved. And then, a week or two later, it will come online. Fan film festivals, conventions, doing Q&As like this, talking more in-depth about it… I assume people will have more questions after watching the whole film. 


Dale North