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‘Spider-Man Lotus’: Exclusive Interview with Gavin J Konop

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Spider-Man is a character who has permeated pop culture throughout every corner of the world. With superheroes being such a huge part of our modern culture, their influences have become boundless. And their stories have become major inspirations to people around the world. Some might even call them modern myths. And sometimes those modern myths go beyond simple entertainment.

They inspire something in us. It lights a burning fire in us that simply admiring it isn’t enough. And to truly feel whole, we have to take part in the myth crafting ourselves. This is what Spider-Man did for Gavin J Konop. And in the coming months, Gavin will be taking his first step into the world of filmmaking by directing his first feature film, ‘Spider-Man Lotus’!

Here’s how it came to be…

PASSION STARTS HERE

As kids, we all imagined we were theses costumed heroes. We would put on costumes, dawn the masks, running around pretending we were fighting crime. Wearing a costume was hardly exclusive to Halloween and it became a weekly if not daily occurrence. But somewhere along the way, some of us went from aspiring to be like our heroes on the screen to aspiring to be like the heroes behind the screen. And that’s where passion starts.

“I’ve been wanting to make Spider-Man movies my entire life. Back when I was 7 years old I can find videos of me trying to make a Spider-Man movie, dressing up as Spider-Man, recording myself.”

Being 17 years old now, it’s clear that the seeds for the passion for filmmaking were planted early. And this passion wasn’t just for the craft. But also for the character of Spider-Man. Growing up on the comics, Gavin has been waiting to see a true adaptation come to life. And though there have been a few that came close in his eyes. He still feels like the true essence of the character hasn’t been captured just yet.

“A big purpose for me is being able to translate the original comics into a true honest adaptation of them…” He continued, “I feel like that original character that I connected with since I was a kid, I feel like that character has a lot of potential to connect with audiences. And I wanted to kind of bring back that version that has been missing over the years….”

INFLUENCES

Like many of the directors before him, Gavin oozes passion for this character. And when I asked him where he got most of his inspiration for filmmaking from, he said,

“I just gotta say, Sam Raimi. I think Sam has such an impact on people because […] he dropped out of school and said I’m gonna make movies. And he said if you make any film, whether people call it good or bad, you’re a filmmaker.”

It wasn’t surprising that Raimi was a big influence on Gavin. Especially since Gavin credits Spider-Man 2 for being his favorite movie of all time.

“It did what it needed to do. It cared, It really really cared about what it was doing. I totally acknowledge it’s not a perfect movie. But in my eyes, the way I see that movie, it is perfect. And I don’t think it’s in anyone’s place to take that away from me or someone else who loves this movie. And I think the big key to filmmaking is ‘what emotions does it bring out of you’ and ‘what does it inspire you to do’…”

They say you can often tell what kind of filmmaker a person is based on their favorite films. And listening to Gavin share his love for Spider-Man 2, it shows his priorities as a filmmaker and more importantly it show us what we can expect in his film, Spider-Man Lotus. Which brings us to the announcement…

EARNING TRUST

For those who don’t already know, prior to this announcement, Gavin had been running a popular Instagram page for the past 3 years. Going by the username “Spidey Central” or “GJK Central”, he would share facts, opinions, and his overall love for the character. And over those 3 years he’s amounted quite the following. And with that he was inspired to create a concept series titled, “Spider-Man The Series.” This series was a collaboration with another Spidey centric Instagram page called “Spidey Feed” ran by Ryan. Although this series was not actually produced, it simulated what a series would look like under Gavin and Ryan’s tutelage.

“The series was big because it helped give people the trust that I can handle the character of Spider-Man. And that people who liked the series would likely end up liking the film. That was big actually for the funding, because it would give people some reassurance that I do care…”

Gavin revealed that he was actually gonna announce “Spider-Man Lotus” last year, but he wanted to finish “The Series”, not only for the obvious reasons of an immense workload (did I mention Gavin is a Highschool student currently taking numerous AP classes?), but also because he felt he needed to earn the trust of his audience. And leading up to the announcement, Gavin gave a countdown that promised big things are to come…

THE ANNOUNCEMENT

“People were assuming it would be another concept series. So I played into that. I kind of kept downplaying what it was. I was kind of cryptic, and this one guy was like ‘you know no one cares about your concept series. It’s never gonna happen. It’s not real.’ And I was like ‘okay’. So it was kind of fun over that 5 day countdown watching people theorize and severely underestimate what it would have actually been. I wanted to downplay it so much that the actual announcement would produce a lot more excitement for people.”

And produce excitement it did… With his video announcement garnering 39,000 views on YouTube and 44,000+ views on Instagram, (which is equivalent to his follower count), the announcement day brought an enthusiasm for a Spider-Man project amongst the Spider-Man community that I hadn’t seen in quite some time. And everyone collectively knew, if there was one man to take on such a task, it’s Gavin…

“The day I announcement it I literally felt emotions like I’ve never felt before.  I felt like my body froze watching the reaction in the comments. Because I’ve been working on this for two years now so seeing the reaction of seeing people so excited and blown away by something we all thought wasn’t possible. And is now finally becoming a reality. Watching that unfold on my computer screen after waiting such a long time to finally reveal it was one of the most rewarding moments of my life. I just felt emotions that I can’t even explain… It was really beyond anything I expected.”

THE COSTUME

The announcement of the film will always be a day long remembered, but it wasn’t until the suit reveal that really show peopled that Gavin ain’t messing around.

The day that costume was revealed, it shook up the Spider-Man community like no other. And I’d argue that it even went beyond just Spider-Man fans. The suit looked so realistic and had the quality of a movie production studio that it turned heads across all fandoms in every corner of social media.

And the crazy thing is, Gavin spent his own money on the costume. He felt that if the costume turned out how he expected, it would inspire people to donate. And inspire it did, because though getting that costume took a lot of hard work and expenses, forcing Gavin to work numerous jobs, whether it be yard work or restaurant jobs. It paid off because not only did it did it bring even more publicity to the project, it pushed people to donate. And as it stands donations are currently at $15k+, with approximately $5k to go.

And a big thanks goes to the designers of the costume, Datrinti, @lds_3d, @comicsuitfactory and, @the_amazing_spider_lab. Up to this point it had been a long process, but as Gavin joked, “I couldn’t go back after I spent money on that costume.” And I don’t know how much it costs, but the excitement it brought was priceless…

DON’T BUILD CONNECTIONS, BUILD FRIENDSHIPS

You can’t mention the costume without mentioning the man dawning it… And that man is Warden Wayne. Not to be confused with Bruce, Warden will be portraying Peter Parker and Spider-Man.

Over the years, many people have dawned ol’ red and blue, each bringing their individual flavor. Tobey Maguire harkened back to the Steve Ditko comics, Andrew Garfield brought a more modern version of the character to life, and Tom Holland brought a youthful take to the screen. But what sets Warden apart is that his version is the closest to resemble his original comic counterpart reminiscent of the 70’s/80’s version of Peter Parker. Which was influenced a lot by Gerry Conways run, and the art of John Romita. Which is the era Gavin will be pulling from, to which he joked:

“I’m a big classic Spider-Man fan. People call me the boomer of Spider-Man comics. I’m just a 70’s/80s old Spider-Man comics guy.”

Not only is Warden the ideal look for the character. But he has become an undying supporter of his vision, along with the Harry Osborn actor, Sean Wythe.

“Sean and Warden I owe a lot to them for really making it a reality for me […] They have become probably some of my best friends over these past 2 years. And really, I would consider them my closest friends because we’ve grown so close over the development of this project to where we know so much about each other and we’ve helped each other out so much. We’ve really developed this close bond over the years.”

With a project as ambitious it’s great to know that not only have Sean and Warden are just as passionate as Gavin. It only spells good news for the final film.

TRUTH ABOUT SPIDER-MAN

Naturally when dealing with such beloved characters, not everyone will agree on every iteration. It comes with the territory. And it’s the disappointment with the current direction of the character that in part inspired Gavin to bring to life what he feels the character represents.

“I remember I use to be very negative when it came to the MCU films on Twitter. And I regret that now, but it was kind of a result of me wanting my message to be heard. I feel like I kind of overreacted out of passion a lot of the time because I just cared so much about it… It seemed like [they] saw a different character than I did.”

In a age of constant vitriol thrown towards creators for simply crafting a film we don’t like. It’s refreshing to see Gavin turn his energy into something positive. We’ve all fallen victim to letting our passions get the best of us. But in the end, it’s wasted energy. And expressing your feelings creatively is always the best route to go.

“Making this film has helped me a lot with coming to peace with this character and being able to see the version that I’ve wanted to see for a long time.”

EVERYONE’S OPINION MATTERS

And though Gavin personally isn’t satisfied with the current cinematic iteration. He fully acknowledges that it has brought many fans to the character and that their feelings are just as valid as his.

“I don’t wanna say that my opinion on Spider-Man is any more valid than anyone else […]I don’t want people to take what I say and use it to knock other people down or use it as some sort of definitive interpretation of the character.”

MAKE IT NOW CAUSE HOLLYWOOD WONT

So what should we come to expect with Spider-Man Lotus?

Well, Spider-Man Lotus is expected to have about an hour long runtime. And if funding reaches the $20k goal, it will have 2 swinging scenes and 1 combat scene. The films synopsis is as follows:

Following the tragic death of his former girlfriend — seemingly caused by his own attempt to save her — Peter Parker (Warden Wayne) lingers in his guilt of the past, questioning whether the curse of his alter ego should be buried for good. When he’s met by the news that a terminally ill child has requested to meet Spider-Man, Peter contemplates the decision to comfort him in his final days.

If you’re a lifelong Spider-Man fan, you might recognize the comic book influences. And for me personally, I couldn’t be more excited. This is the exact kind of Spider-Man story I’ve been wanting to see. And it’s something I doubt that Hollywood would ever make. Gavin shares this sentiment.

“There’s not a physical antagonist. It’s very much just driven by Peter Parkers conflicts and Harry Osborne’s conflicts and other character’s that I’ll soon reveal. It’s very much character driven, it’s something you wouldn’t see from a big blockbuster these days. And especially when it comes to Spider-Man, who’s so profitable and marketable.”

By going about the story this way, taking cues from drama driven stories such as “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man: Blue”, not only does it make it more doable, with more of a focus on character and themes as opposed action and CGI. It really sets Gavin’s interpretation apart from others. And with the visual inspiration being derived from Smallville and the Raimi trilogy, it will truly give off a unique and nostalgic feel.

FAN FILM STIGMA

Though this film will be an hour long, with cinematic quailty action and CGI. There’s still this uphill battle that Gavin is fighting when dealing with the stigma around fan films.

“There’s always this stigma that comes with fan films. A Certain unprofessionalism that follows them. So that was something that planted doubt into my mind about, well if I make this film how can I be taken seriously as a filmmaker in the future.” He continues, “A fan film is about making what you can with the budget and resources that you have… A big point I want to make with this film is that I want to let people know and help people understand that you don’t need a massive corporation or some massive studio to make a good movie. You just gotta have the drive and the care for what you’re doing.”

This is a great outlook, because in Gavin’s mind, he’s not treating this as less than any other film. And nor does he expect others to look it at such. And with what he’s cooking up, the idea of a “fan film” will be the last thing on anyone’s mind…

YOU CAN DO IT TOO

And the great thing about it is you can do it too.

“Growing up I would always look to these actors and directors in Hollywood and they’re in this fame and I always thought I have to be like them otherwise I cant make movies. So there as always this insecurity of how can I stand out since it’s such a competitive industry. But over the years I’ve grown to realize you don’t need to be in Hollywood, up in the stars, in the lights, to make movies… It comes from pure passion.”

During this process, Gavin has come to learn that it’s not the resources you have at your disposal that make you a filmmaker. But the passion you possess. And it’s his goal that this film will inspire more people to realize that they have the ability to do the same…

“Make what you want to see. If you feel like you want to see something and something you wish the filmmakers would do, go out there and make it yourself […]How is it anyone else’s place to call you a filmmaker or deem you’re a filmmaker enough. Because if you are making movies, you are a movie maker… Whether you think it’ll be quality or not, use whatever resources you have because when you make the things that you want the passion will really shine through…”

‘Spider-Man Lotus’ stars Warden Wayne and Sean Wythe, and is set for a 2021 release. They are currently auditioning for actors for numerous roles. Most recently Marry Jane and Gwen Stacy. If you’re interested in supporting this film, please go to his Indigogo and help him find this project and expect something cool in return!

Writer, film lover, and all around comics enthusiast // Favorite character = Spider-Man // Favorite mythology = Star Wars // Favorite director = Zack Snyder

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