The MadHouse-produced feature-length anime “Iron Man: Rise of Technovore” is out on DVD and Blu-ray today, pitting Tony Stark against the brilliant, dangerous genius of Ezekiel Stane.
With that in mind, we spoke to the mind behind this mad battle, screenwriter Brandon Auman, about the origins of “Rise of Technovore,” becoming obsolete, and the appeal of Hawkeye and Black Widow.
MTV Geek: Could you tell us a little about your origin story as an Iron Man fan? How did you come on to this project?
Brandon Auman: I was the story editor for season two of “Iron Man: Armored Adventures” and wrote a lot of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” I also had some experience writing anime in the past. I was in Japan already when I got the call from Marvel to hook up with Madhouse… So yeah, needless to say I was excited to work with them!
Geek: What’s a collaboration like with Madhouse?
Auman: It was great. They are so open, they really trust us… and we trust them. The majority of this film came from their team… just look at the credits. They had a lot of animators working on this movie. Madhouse is one of my favorite anime companies; I’m so glad I got to work with them. It was a real honor, not a lot of American writers get the privilege.
Geek: The film’s theme is about obsolescence. Could you tell us a little about what attracted you to that concept and why it worked with Iron Man?
Auman: I’m really happy you picked up on that. It’s a daily, commonplace occurrence, right? Technology is outclassed and outdated daily. Your smartphone suddenly becomes not-so-smart the second Apple or whoever puts out their new tech. And then a week later a better phone comes out And this is happening faster and faster, tech feels outdated… everything feels outdated. New songs and trends come along so fast they seem to be happening hourly. Social networking doesn’t help the matter, haha. The problem comes when we buy into the trends and tech mindlessly, which we do.
Geek: And why was Ezekiel Stane the right character through which to explore this theme?
Auman: Because he is the new Tony Stark. It was destined to happen, someone smarter would come along. And it makes sense it’s a kid. He’s just emerged. He has no morals, or at least, he has his own set of semi-defined, malleable morals. He doesn’t listen to society, he thinks he is above it. He doesn’t feel a part of it… not even the human race. He’s a sociopath, a psychopath, but also he’s also a deranged genius. Zeke is a master of contradictions, like many kids. He hates tech, but is a tech genius and wants to use that knowledge to destroy tech. He has all of these thoughts and ideas, but ultimately he’s a child prodigy with deeply seated father issues, haha!
Geek: We see Tony try to reason with Stane, to try to act as a mentor to him. Why not just nuke the kid from orbit?
Auman: Well, because he’s still a kid. And Tony Stark is a hero, he’s not a cold-blooded killer. Definitely not a child murderer. Even taking down Obadiah Stane was out of sheer desperation. Tony sees a lot of himself in Zeke… despite the kid’s madness. With the wrong parentage, Tony could have taken the dark path.
Geek: Your characterization of Hawkeye and Black Widow seem to be informed by their closeness in “The Avengers” film. Could you talk a little about developing them for “Rise of Technovore?”
Auman: I hadn’t read the “Avengers” script, which was still in flux anyway when I was writing the story, so I pulled more out of the comics than the movie. I just dug through my comic collection, peeling out issues from various decades. They’ve always teamed up and cared deeply for each other. I like their tragic, flawed relationship. You could see it in the “Avengers” movie.
Geek: This has been bugging me: Why isn’t it “Rise of THE Technovore?”
Auman: We just called it “Technovore” to keep it simple I guess. But I’m not sure it matters either way. People call Batman “The Batman”, as well… heh, this is truly an MTV Geek question!
Geek: What are you working on next?
Auman: I co-wrote “Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United” with Henry Gilroy. I’m currently story editing “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” for Nickelodeon. I wrote a few other projects for Marvel as well… but… I can’t reveal them just yet!
“Iron Man: Rise of Technovore” is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from Sony Home Pictures Entertainment.