Originally written for Femme Fatales Magazine, (November 2003)
Like a single match setting the world on fire, a story flourished from the mind of screenwriter Bryan Kinnaird to stir in the hearts of minions of loyal fans. The pilgrimage of Kort Villikon is the story of a noble soldier whose been framed and sentenced to a distant penal colony on the planet Itasca. It is the story of a man’s survival against a vampirical race of hybrids known as Porphyrians, and his hope to escape from the God-forsaken Hell that incarcerates him, and restore honor to his family name. But in a sea of sci-fi films and stories rich with symbolic themes such as Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Dune, Mad Max, and Lord of the Rings, what gives The Villikon Chronicles any leverage as a contender? Kinnaird has raised the bar. The bad guys are downright evil and the bad girls,...well, lets just say that they are literally drop-dead gorgeous and incorporate lesbianism into their blood letting. No wonder fans are crawling out of the woodwork for a sneak peak.
The award-winning screenplay was originally drafted in 1998, and with a hand picked cast and crew, and a budget that would make a studio picture’s catering crew laugh out loud, pre-production on a very different VC production commenced in the lifeless trenches of Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon, Arizona. Though the earliest production efforts never made it to film, the process proved invaluable in the development of costumes, weapons, and various props. The first versions of the ominous black armor for the Sentinel Soldiers was crafted by then production designer, and later artist for the original graphic novel series, Roy Young. More recent designs were collaborated with and refined for trade shows by artisans from the Star Wars Costuming Group known as the Arizona chapter of the 501st.
The original production effort was documented with an abundance of still photography storyboards featuring characters, scenery, and action sequences designed by Kinnaird. Roy Young, who had worked as a prop builder in the motion picture industry, and also worked as a colorist for Todd McFarlane’s popular SPAWN series, and on numerous titles for now defunct CHAOS! COMICS masterfully transformed the photography with traditional art into more than 1,000 illustrated panels, which became the three-volume graphic novel series, a derivative of the film draft.
The three books were two-and-a-half years in the making and have since been distributed worldwide in conjunction with Diamond Comic Distributors, and in distribution deals with BORDERS, and VIRGIN. Kinnaird and Young's fledgling empire was born. The co-creators forged an alliance known as YK Productions and set out on a promotional blitz in 2001, making special appearances at comic book chains, Border's Bookstores, Virgin Megastore outlets, and comic book conventions nationwide. Over the course of almost three years, crowds have been treated to book signings, as well as a meet-and-greet with original and frequently re-cast characters from the graphic novels (and planned sequels/prequel) in full costume.
While the project is gaining momentum, a screen trilogy and spin-off is moving to the desks of several Hollywood producers and film studios. Adult superstar Cheyenne Silver was so attracted to the project that she sent an audition tape and pictorial of herself as one of Villikon Chronicles’ main protagonist characters. "The main thing I relate to…" says Cheyenne, " is the warrior part of her (Mystere). For some reason, I strongly believe that at some point in my past, I was a warrior. Maybe in a past life, maybe it was a dream." Although best known for her adult work with Vivid Video, and her sexy layouts as a Penthouse Pet, Silver has been evolving into a mainstream actress and recently completed a film with James Woods called “This Girls Life.” Her celebrity and unbridled passion for the role has breathed new life into the Villikon Chronicles machine, not to mention she’s raised the heat in the sexual appeal department. With their trump card in hand, YK Productions set out to show her off at the mother of all comic book conventions this year, returning to San Diego's Comic-Con. "We love the fact that we have someone attached to the project who lends promotional interest in doing a film version so early on," says Kinnaird, "Fans at these conventions tell us they feel privileged to meet an actress they would be entertained watching kick butt and pummeling Porphyrians on the big screen."
For this convention, and those that follow, a team has been assembled to pull out all the stops in a contrived promotional effort to steal as much attention as possible in an endless city of trade show booths marketing new products. Several suits of armor were created, the most noteworthy being the minimalistic "Kramcutioner" gear worn by Cheyenne. A professional body artist was commissioned to actually paint portions of Cheyenne's costumes and tribal face make-up. A 10'x 20' backdrop for the convention stands out, as do mass- produced art prints that now feature Cheyenne as the coveted heroine Mystere. Additional actors were brought in to represent the characters including accomplished actor, and original template for the Epimetheus Von character, Shane Stevens (Tank Girl, Aces: Iron Eagle 2). Stevens had actually been a part of the original film cast and his likeness was kept in the graphic novel series. For the Las Vegas Comic-Con convention, a local model, Kalucha, was bodypainted to look bone white with the skimpy liquid latex outfit worn by Sha'leste, the surrogate sister of Mystere, later turned Porphyrian Queen in the graphic novel series. Wearing nothing but paint, there was no shortage of cameras around the YK Productions booth.
Hollywood's attention has been caught and a feature film serial is inevitable. But in the meantime, the crew trudges forward. The website, www.villikonchronicles.com is the source for news and information concerning the project, and the graphic novel is available at www.Amazon.com if your comic book retailer doesn’t have it in stock. Kinnaird has written a prequel to the Villikon Chronicles, which features Cheyenne Silver's role as the lead character Mystere, and two sequels have been drafted for film and comic book adaptations. Will Villikon Chronicles be the next big blockbuster saga? Only time will tell, but if the number of fans keeps growing at the rate they have been, it won't be too long before we see "Escape From Itasca" video games and Mystere action figures!