Edgar Wright: I'm Brandon Generator
Episode one of The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator, the interactive comic book produced by Internet Explorer to show off the talents of IE9 and HTML5, is now available on line and Pocket-lint caught up with its writer and co-creator Edgar Wright for an exclusive one-to-one chat.
Film director Wright is hot property in Hollywood at the moment, having helmed hits Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs The World. However, it is Brandon Generator that he's currently excited by - a character, he told us, inspired by someone close to home.
"He's kind-of based on me," he said.
The comic book is narrated by The Mighty Boosh and Nathan Barley star Julian Barratt, who looks a lot like Tommy Lee Edwards's illustrations of Brandon, but, explained Wright, that's purely coincidence.
"He was one of the first people I thought of," he said. "But Tommy had actually drawn him before Julian was on board. I think that's what most scruffy writers who drink too much coffee look like."
Wright and Edwards were given complete creative control by the Internet Explorer team at Microsoft, and that's important as, for Edgar, this was new territory for him. Writing Brandon Generator wasn't like scripting a movie or TV show.
"It's mostly been like writing a comic," he told us, which was something he'd never done before. "I wrote the script and then Tommy started sketching it. Then I gave him more prescriptive ideas on what kind of images I'd like to see for each frame.
"Tommy's really great in terms that he takes the ball and runs with it. When I told him the initial idea, he immediately started sketching the character.
"But it was different to doing a film or a TV series in that everybody's at different computers all over the world. I'm in LA, Tommy's in Carolina, and everybody else is in London. It couldn't have been done with the technology two years ago."
Certainly, the social media and interactive elements of the comic book make use of technologies that have been available only for a relatively short while. Not only is it totally in-browser, the screens and interactive elements are also layered so that you never have to leave the main screen.
It's close to a game or app-like experience. With this experience behind him, therefore, we asked Wright if he would consider making the leap into working on a genuine console title?
"I've been asked a couple of times over the years, but I've never really got into it," he said. "But this has been an interesting experience. So yeah, possibly.
"It's great fun to create a character and create a new world for him, as the world that he's in - as you will discover - is not exactly like our own. That's something that's really fun to play with and stuff.
"I sort-of had a little bit of involvement, but not much, with the Scott Pilgrim game that Ubisoft did. I actually delegated that more to my brother and Bryan Lee O'Malley [Pilgrim's creator] and I was really impressed by that. So, yeah, I would be interested if it was the right thing.
"The good thing about this is that the brief was so wide that I basically just created the character and the concept and it was fun to start with literally a blank page and then let something develop naturally."
Which brings us back neatly to The Adventures of Brandon Generator and the theme that runs throughout episode one. Catch it at www.brandongenerator.com - it works in most browsers, but has been tweaked to work best in IE9.
What do you think of Edgar Wright's new project? Let us (and him) know in the comments below...
Pic: (cc) Gage Skidmore