You had said you had worked on Charlie Christmas before that, what, tell me a little bit about writing that screenplay. What were you going for with Charlie Christmas?

Adam: Well I mean, now it is kind of obvious, but at the time I would like to think it wasn’t. I can’t remember if it was before Batman Begins. I can’t remember, but I wanted to make a response to some of the Sam Raimi Spiderman movies, and some of the other superhero movies that had come out, and then take that and really address some social issues and tell a love story and tell a Field of Dreams sort of story about a guy and his dad. So really, it was me chunking a whole bunch of things that really, really mattered to me onto the page. It was kind of an experiment in that way. I mean, now a movie like Kickass comes out – great film, funny – and it’s sort of that whole post-superhero movie. But, that is really what I was trying to do, I was trying to acknowledge superhero films in this flick, acknowledge that as a genre, and try to sort of subvert some of the expectation.

One thing that I was thinking is before I saw it was that it is kind of like Kickass or Super, but then after watching it, it is different. It seems like there is a little bit more humanity, because you have the character of Charlie who is not just someone who wants to be a superhero and save people, he is someone who needs to find something in himself. So it seems like it is a superhero movie second, but first and foremost it is about someone trying to figure out who they are.

Outsiders ProductionsAdam: Absolutely thought about that. I mean, and I think in some ways it works and in some ways it doesn’t, but it was absolutely always a superhero movie second. I mean it is a coming-of-age story for a thirty-year-old man. But to me, it’s closer to Field of Dreams then it is to Kickass. At the end of the day, that is what you walk away from. And the other thing is that, there is a Woody Harrelson movie that came out that was kind of in the same vein as Super Defendor. It was almost making fun, in a good way, of superhero movies. But with Charlie, we were never trying to make fun of that genre, we were trying to pay homage to it. But then also, have this character fail in the context of those pursuits.

What kind of things were you looking for when you were portraying Charlie, what other movies did you look at, what other actors did you look at, what were you going for with your portrayal?

Kenny: That is a good question, I don’t know – just a lot of a lonely guys that might have taken a wrong turn. Charlie took, I don’t know if he never took a wrong turn, but he just never took a turn and this is about him finding himself. This may sound funny, I always thought, and it’s always weird to say it in front of Adam cause he is the writer-director, I wonder if that is what he thinks, I always thought it would be like if Rambo never went to Vietnam…


Outsiders Productions…and, he just stayed to be a janitor at a high school, you know what I am saying? If Michael Myers – before I saw Rob Zombie’s history – if Michael Myers was never a serial killer and just stayed some kind of lonely guy who went on a mission. I don’t know if it seems like I should have thought of other characters, but one of the biggest things with Charlie was not portraying a guy who is insane, or even a guy who is mentally challenged, and that was tough. Adam and I talked about that sort of thing quite a bit, just wanting it to look like Charlie’s a regular guy – he just hasn’t found himself.

Adam: I wrote the part for Kenny, I wrote it visualizing him and what I think he can do, his physicality and his good sense of comedy. But it is also, everybody can recall back to school the kid that sat at the table by himself – there is always that kid. And if you talked to him, the kid was nice, maybe, or he was normal, maybe, but everybody had one of those. So there is almost like this outcast quality – kind of the quiet guy that sits in the corner that doesn’t make a lot of the eye contact. So he was supposed to sort of blend in as a character too, something most people can relate to – either they knew that guy or they were that guy. And then, it was written for Kenny, so we talked about it with the performance, a lot of it was just trying to play on some of his own quirks. I mean, Kenny has lost both of his parents, so that was not something that was really used, but it was certainly something he was aware of, and I was aware of when I wrote it.

It seems like you obviously wrote this seven to eight years ago. Since then, the bullying epidemic has really come into the public eye, and one thing that I noticed in the movie is that he might have been a normal person if his dad hadn’t have died. He might have been a normal person when the kids started bullying him, beating him up in the bathroom, and it almost seems like the bullying pushed him further away and that seems to be a very sensitive subject these days. Was this something you were looking at back then, because it is not a new subject, this is something that has been happening over the past 30, 40, 50, 100 years. Was that a subject that you were wanting to approach other than just as a catalyst?

Adam: Without getting into some sort of psychiatric dialogue, I did want to bring in parallels between bullying and domestic violence and in terms of victimization. There are a lot of kids that you can put in almost any room and they are going to get bullied. It is almost like people smell weakness. It is the same thing with women that get into these domestically violent relationships, and they leave one and they get into another. These predators can seem to find them. I really wanted to take these intangible social issues that you can’t ever really put a thumb on. We can’t ever really be John Wayne, go in and punch somebody, and that solves the problem with bullying or with domestic violence. No matter how easy those issues seem to people that aren’t involved, when you are trapped in that world, I think it feels hopeless and so I did want to draw parallels to that. With how Charlie is as a child, he tries to do it by dressing in a costume and he gets beat up, and then when he is an adult he dresses in a costume and he realizes that, you know, putting on a mask – and he never does it – but putting on a mask and going next door and beating up the domestically violent male in the house is not going to save the girl. It is just going to ultimately make it worse. I certainly wanted to bring that in, and that is what we wanted to do with the superhero movie is to acknowledge superheroes. I am a comic book nerd, but we wanted to acknowledge superhero films but to get past the “Super” and put the emphasis on how this guy becomes a “Hero.”

It almost seems like you were saying at the end of the movie that it is better not to fight at times. The entire movie, he is going to go and protect people, but at the end he chooses not to, and by not fighting he saves her. It is almost like it is turned on its head at that point. He was bullied as a kid. She is beat up by her husband and abused very badly. Did they see themselves in each other?

Adam: I think she was far more mature character, and that is why at the end they don’t get together, because there is no way that relationship works. But I think she certainly saw something in him – her scars, her pain was more hidden whereas he is just completely a social outcast. But absolutely there is a kinship there, and I think that when she saw strength in him at the end, whenever he keeps getting up and he is just displaying this strength not in aggression but it is in his ability to keep getting up, I think that is what compelled her, gave her hope, is the recognition of a kindred spirit.

What kind of filmmakers did you look to for, when working especially on this film, what other filmmakers, other movies do you look at to pull inspiration from?

Adam: You know, I am a big fan of Ed Burns and The Brothers McMullen. He has kind of gone back, after kind of being big time, and he is making small films again. I think I could look at Christopher Nolen all day long, there is no way we are going to be able to do what Christopher Nolen does, but looking at Ed Burns, guys like that who shoot these smaller movies, especially back like in the 90s, these talky sort of movies, relationship movies, and trying to see how they set up their shots with no money and how they told their story, I mean that is really what we looked at. I looked at a bunch of action films, and how can we make these punches look mean. I see a lot of independent movies, and some of them can really pull off fighting but most of them really don’t because they are very stale and they are very choreographed. We were lucky to have Kenny, who is a very physical guy, and we had guys that just wanted to get out and play.  It was a matter of going over with Jason, setting up our shots, and looking at pretty much every action movie that we could get our hands on.