Now very much part of the mix at DC Comics, writing titles like "Countdown to Final Crisis," "Countdown to Adventure" and an upcoming issue of "Brave and the Bold," writer Adam Beechen got his start in comics with his creator-owned graphic novel "Hench" for AiT/Planet Lar.
Featuring art by Manny Bello, "Hench" was released in 2004 but was thrust back in the spotlight last week when "Variety" first reported the OGN was being made into a movie by Warner Bros. as a starring vehicle for "Tropic Thunder" and "Land of the Lost" actor Danny McBride. McBride will also partner with Shawn Harwell on the script.
CBR News checked in with Beechen to get his thoughts on the news. The writer was nothing short of thrilled about the prospect of "Hench" finding its way to Hollywood with McBride as main character Mike Fulton, a professional football player who signs on as a villain's lackey after he suffers a career-ending injury.
CBR: First off, tell us a little about "Hench" itself.
ADAM BEECHEN: "Hench" is the story of all the guys you see in the background in comic books. They are the guys in the old Jack Kirby books who wore fedoras and had the Tommy guns and you never quite knew where they came from. There was an inexhaustible supply of them and this is the story about one of those guys and how he finds himself getting into this life and where it leads him.
It's the personal story about the guys that are cannon fodder. The guys who wear the silly costume and stand next to the Joker and take all the lumps while he gets away to fight in another issue of "Detective Comics" on another day.
It's a story about a guy, who's not a bad guy. He's just out of options and circumstances have pushed him towards this world and this life. And it's about that life, the ins and outs of it and ultimately, what it can cost you.
You must be pleased about the that Warner Bros. has scooped up the movie rights to "Hench" as a starring vehicle for Danny McBride.
I'm pretty blown away, as you might imagine.
Was this something that you knew was cooking or did it catch you by surprise?
No. It's actually been in the works for a couple of months. And I wasn't allowed to talk about it and it was driving me crazy. Only a couple of people besides me knew about it and I just wanted to climb up to the rooftop and scream about it for the last two months. But the folks at Kickstart Productions counselled me wisely to not jinx it and keep it quiet until they gave me the go ahead and they gave me the go ahead after it was published in "Variety."
Will you be involved in the movie at all?
I'm happy to be involved as much as they want me to be but it's their show. Danny and Shawn are going to co-write it. And I'm sure they are going to do an amazing job because I love their writing on everything else they've done. But if they ask me for any input, I'll be happy to give it to them. Otherwise I'm just as excited as everyone else is to see what they come up with.
What do you think about Danny McBride playing Mike Fulton?
Well, in the book, Mike is African-American. And that's how I always sort of pictured it. But when I heard Danny was interested in it I thought, "My god. He's perfect." And he really is. And at the point, you start thinking, "Well, if Danny's going to be in it, who else is going to be in it?" You think about all the other actors Danny has worked with and is pals with and the possibilities become kind of exciting. But I'm sure whoever they wind up putting around Danny they're going to be great.
So you haven't heard any other names or care to speculate?
I haven't heard any names. It's all so fresh. Danny and Shawn, I believe, are off writing the outline for the script. So the process is just getting started. I haven't even spoken to those guys. I have traded one email with Danny and one email with Shawn, kind of a "nice to meet you," "really excited about this" but I haven't met them or heard their plans or anything. So I'm excited to find out.
Do you know a target date for when they are planning to release the movie?
I know Danny has a second season of "Eastbound and Down" he's doing. And I can't wait for that because I loved the first season. And I know he's doing a movie with James Franco ("Your Highness"). But I know this is something he feels really strongly about and he loves the material and wants to get it out there so I imagine he and Shawn are going to be working pretty hard on the script. I would guess they want to get going as soon as humanly possible, but I really don't know.
As this movie develops, interest in the "Hench" graphic novel will certainly be on the rise. Any thought about possibly returning to the character to tell more stories within the "Hench" universe. Maybe "Hench 2?"
"Hench 2: This time it's personal."
Or what about "Son of Hench?"
"Son of Hench." I like it.
Just give me a credit.
[laughs] Manny and I have talked about going back to the world of "Hench." If not specifically, revisiting Mike. Because we feel like we've created a world of characters where there are a lot of possibilities for stories to tell. But this all so fresh and so new I don't think either one of us has had a chance to digest it. Maybe when we come through that we'll sit down for real and think about doing something else with some of the other stories we've talked about that take place in that world.
When you are writing a creator-owned comic, like your upcoming "Killapalooza" for WildStorm, do you think into the future about the story appearing in other media or platforms, like TV, film or games?
You always just want to tell the best story you can. And let that kind of stuff take care of itself. And let other people worry about it. Obviously, you hope when you write something that people find other ways to bring the story out and bring it to a larger audience but I don't sit down and think, "Man, this would make a great movie. I'm going to write this comic book and I can't wait to see it as a movie." If you write it as a comic book, I want it to be a good comic book first.
Any plans for AiT/Planet Lar re-release it?
No, I haven't talked to [AiT/Planet Lar principal] Larry [Young] about it. I know you can still order it. You can still go into the comic book shop and order a copy of "Hench." You can go to Amazon, although someone told me today there is like a three-week wait for it. That's crazy. So I imagine the good folks at AiT/Planet Lar are planning to make new copies available to people if they want them.