Commentary with Lou Klien, the Director of "Contract of Evil"
Hello, Lou Klein here! I played many parts in the creation of this film and this is my opportunity to give you the viewers at home some history of how this wonderful piece of Star Wars history came about. So let's give you a brief history of the past 2 years.
A while ago I had an idea, and it would have forever remained an idea if not for the generosity and support of Mr. Bob Dawg Mason and the 44 Dawg Corporation. I met with Bob and his son Daniel about a stage music show of theirs. In the meeting, I revealed my plans for shooting a short film about Darth Maul and his rise to power. I never realized that the Star Wars universe was so intertwined into the very culture of our society that everyone in the room wanted to see the film happen as well.
But now that the fire had been lit, how does one apply the fuel to keep it going? I had originally had hired two actors to play Darth Maul and Lord Anarcis, and rehearsals were becoming laborious and unfruitful. One of the hardest things to do in this town is to let an actor go. As a new filmmaker this was critical, since I wasn't sure if I could get talent to fill the now empty space.
Enter China and Edwin. Meeting with China at an event for another film he was involved with, I showed him the drawings of what I was planning to do. China immediately expressed that he would love to play the part of one of the brothers of doom. So now that China was involved, who was going to play Darth Maul? I met an incredibly gifted person, Edwin Villa, and he was so excited to play the character Darth Maul that he was restless in his seat at the interview. I felt since that he had prior knowledge of the Star Wars universe, he was perfect for the part... and he was.
The script and storyboards where done months before, but now with the added characters it needed a rewrite and, with some slight modifications, it started to come to life. During one of the rehearsals we discovered a need for an additional character to die quickly and set the pace for the brothers of doom to be the real threat to Darth Maul. Enter Rusty Lock. I met Rusty at Universal Studios Hollywood, a real pleasure of a person. Totally professional and jumped in with both feet running. Rusty had about a week of rehearsal when most of us had about four weeks prior, but came thru in flying colors! So now the stage was set - the script was completed and the storyboards finalized, with the crew all on stand by for a shooting date.
Now for those of you who have done this before, you know that putting a film together is a hard enough thing to do, but when you are also an actor in the production as well, I found it really puts a crimp in your timing. So during one of our rehearsals, China told me of an Director friend he had, who was willing to come out and film with us. Enter Mr. Kantz! I have to tell you of how truly fortunate we were that this happened.
People have asked me why I didnít direct the film myself. In truth, I probably would have tried if no one else came to the plate. But I can honestly tell you I am so relieved that Mr. Kantz did direct the sequences in the film. I found that directing is more than just realizing the shot or getting the right camera angle - it's keeping up on a lot of things such as performance and continuity with extreme knowledge of what is essential to the story and what is better left on the editing floor. Mr. Kantz was very respectful to my original vision and changed shots according to the needs of the location, which is something not many people seem to be able to do in this Hollywierd town. People seem to all get weirdly possessive over YOUR IDEA. But Mr. Kantz has truly become my mentor in filmmaking, answering all my questions and dealings with this production as a true Hollywood professional.
So now time was closing in on us all. We had all the characters in place and all the right people to film, but one element was still missing. Make-up! I had received a lot of help in pre-production and Micheal Burnett did prosthetics for services traded - but application is a whole different creature. Enter R J McCassand, a special effects artist in the real sense of the word. He came along and brought forth images from paper into the reality you will see on screen. Not only did he come to the plate but he hit the grand SLAM!! Like Babe Ruth Himself!!!!
The rest, I think you all know. Call times, rehearsals, make-up call times ECT! Yikes! There are sooooooo many other names that need recognition and I donít want to miss a one, like the CGI team of Mike Scott and Dan Platt that entered and shocked us all with their awesome talent, and resources to have their friends assist us as well. Mr. Jerry Vaughn who came from the old school of film making and enlightened a whole new generation.
But I would be writing all day. I can only say of how lucky I was finding the right people for this endeavor.