At Comic-Con International 2013, Richard Speight Jr., Rob Benedict and Michael J. Weithorn stopped by the CBR Yacht to discuss “The Sidekick,” a short film about what happens to a longtime sidekick after his hero fires him. Starring Benedict, Speight Jr., Lizzy Caplan, Ron Livingston, Josh Meyers, Ian Barinholtz and more, the 30-minute short directed by Weithorn debuted at CCI 2013.
Benedict, Weithorn and Speight Jr. discussed the development of the labor-of-love project, what the future holds for the little short that could, the revealing nature of tights and more.
On the origin of “The Sidekick”: “I’ve always been a fan of Superman, Spider-Man, Batman,” Benedict said. “Growing up, I was obsessed with those three, but I always identified with the sidekick characters. I’m 5’7″, rounded up, my brother’s 6’4″. I was always the little guy, your buddy, the best friend. I identified with that, and then I turned 40 a couple years ago and I started thinking about this idea of if I wasn’t an actor, I don’t know what else I’d be qualified to do. I went to school for this, that’s what I’ve been doing for 20 years — it’s too late for me. This is all I’m qualified to do. I started thinking of the idea of this sidekick being fired after he turned 40 because he just can’t cut it any more, and what he does with his life.”
On the motivation behind making the short film: “I directed a film a couple years ago that Rob was the lead in. We became friends and we kept in touch,” said Weithorn. “He sent me this script and said, ‘I’ve been working on this script, could you tell me what you think?’ I read it and I loved it. This thing is really funny and warm and great. … I said, ‘Let’s make it.’ We pooled our resources financially as well as calling in favors from people like Richard and others that were friends with Rob and some people that I knew to work on it. We just shot it in 5 days. It was a labor of love. Now there are some issues as to what I’m going to try and do with it, but at the time, it was just — let’s just make it. Let’s just make something for the sake of making it.”
On future plans for a possible expansion of the short: “Michael and I talked a lot about it and right now, it seems like the most natural home for it would be in some kind of series format,” said Benedict. “There are so many ideas you can spin out of this character and with this world that we created, that we feel it could live on the Internet or cable as a series. There are a lot of ways we could morph that series, but we’re definitely not closing out the idea of making it into a full-length feature or even the idea of making it into a comic book. It is a world that even though people have danced around it, this specific world we don’t feel like people have touched on before, specifically from the point of view of the sidekick.”