Archenemy is a new superhero movie produced by SpectreVision and Distributed by RLJE films, featuring an original story from rising writer-director Adam Egypt Mortimer. It’s based on a story that Mortimer co-created with Lucas Passmore, and it stars Joe Manganiello as Max Fist, a mysterious drunk who claims he was once a superhero from another dimension.
Skylan Brooks plays an exuberant storyteller named Hamster, who is drawn to Max. When his sister Indigo’s checkered past catches up with them, the three of them are pulled into a battle like no other.
We spoke with Skylan Brooks about the upcoming film, and are proud to share that interview with you. Please enjoy, and be sure to check out Archenemy is in theaters, and available on VOD and Digital today December 11th!
ARCHENEMY STAR SKYLAN BROOKS
The Illuminerdi: What sets Archenemy apart from other superhero films?
Skylan Brooks: Thats a good question. I would like to answer this with this. Before The Boys came out, this set a realistic tone for superheroes. This movie sets the tone of what it means to have layers, to being a hero without your superpowers and that there is emotion there. We can overlook the emotions of the superhero stuff. We just look at them for the powers.
With this, it sets itself apart in the sense that, now you have to deal with life and with all the problems that face you, without the powers. And that shows the emotion of the person themself.
What do you think draws Hamster to Max Fist in the first place, outside of his [Fist] status as a potential opportunity for a good story?
I believe that there’s a feeling of [Hamster] pulling himself towards Max, and there’s also this sense of pushing away from Max Fist. Hamster looks at him, he sees a story in his mind, but he’s actually intrigued by the person himself. He’s a mixture between “you’re just interesting, look at you, you’re punching walls with your bare fists, you’re making indents, and it’s giving me the vibe that there’s something here in my intuition”.
Hamster is literally saying “you, you are the story.” It’s a mix of knowing his background, that he’s from a different dimension, but also seeing the physical proof for himself, that motivates him to actually believe it a little more.
Tell us what it was like working alongside Joe Manganiello.
The very cool thing that I found out about him is that he actually is a theatre guy, a theater buff, he’s very well versed in that area, and he brings that to the acting. When it comes to playing Max Fist, and he comes on set, he’s locked in, he’s extremely focused and he doesn’t break for anything.
It’s really cool to see him have moments like that, where he doesnt break out of character, and I appreciate that as a fellow actor, watching another actor go in all the way, so it helps me lock in and stay in too, to give those scenes the truth that they deserve at least.
You know Joe is actually a very multidimensional guy, I didn’t know he played Dungeons and Dragons until like the last day of set, so the guy does it all, the guy does it all.
What was your experience working with director Adam Egypt Mortimer? Did you have a favorite part of the filming process?
I really enjoyed him being the director on this film, and part of it, which actually drew me to the project more, was when I read Hamster. It was interesting because I was a little worried, I was like, “Where is his high energy coming from? Where is this indomitable will to tell stories no matter what it is coming from?” I wanted to take a meeting with him to actually see “why did you write this story?”
And, coming from some personal moments in his life, it’s kinda like a healing piece that kind of solves a puzzle in his life, and i wanted to help him solve that puzzle. So working with him and getting to watch him do his process and actually enjoy making the film really inspired me. It’s one of those experiences where it’s like, I couldn’t see this happening with anybody else, this specifically. It’s his movie more than it is anyone else’s.
SPOILER ALERT: Why do you think that Indigo ultimately gets the powers of Max Fist instead of Hamster at the end?
The question I’ve been waiting for! At the end of the day, I know that it’s a story thing. Now, I still have questions. I do feel that at the end of the day, Hamster is the only reason why Indigo even met Max Fist, it’s because of me. Hamster would make more sense to have the powers because all the events transpired because of his drive to tell the story no matter what. So, I don’t know the why per say, but I do understand this.
Indigo’s character is a protector, and so if anybody is a defender, a defender of the city, her journey is to take on the…Well not take on. It was actually through, as you see in the film, a kind of finesse and actually creating a way out of the life that they were in by finessing the system that she was a part of. I can understand that she would take on the defender role because she protects, she tries to protect Hamster.
It’s kind like passing the mantle in a more symbolic sense. Also, Hamster doesn’t wield guns, he doesn’t like violence. So if he had the powers, I believe that he wouldn’t have used them to their full potential, or he might not have fought crime at all. So it could have been a waste, I feel like it would’ve been a waste to give it to Hamster because of the way his character is built to be. But, if you ask me, it would’ve made more sense to give it to hamster because of all they went through.
What would you like to see in a possible sequel to Archenemy?
In my head, I feel that I don’t know, but I do believe that it would be a really good thing if it got a number two. I’m not saying because it would be nice to have a number two and work, moreso it is actually because the story has potential to actually be like an actual superhero story, more than one tale. It could be a mixture of the power being passed down a long line, it could be a story of Krypton, getting the mantle passed down, like the Iron Fist.
I feel that Indigo would definitely be aiding the city. I don’t know how, in what way, and I think maybe I would be, Hamster would be moreso, I wouldn’t say like a Jimmy Olsen for Superman, but he would have his own thing. There would be a way to kind of divide their stories but still have them be a cohesive unit, and kind of watch the world, watch how the city becomes after she gets the powers.
Would you be interested in playing a superhero yourself? There’s a Static Shock movie in development with no lead attached yet…
Actually that’s the exact thing that I’m talking about, that’s exactly what i’m thinking. I actually really like Static Shock. I used to watch the cartoon a lot. A lot of people don’t know that he exists as a superhero comic, and he does have issues and everything too, people don’t know much about him but I feel like I could play him.
Weird enough, people have sent me pictures by themselves, not prompted I swear to you, literally just comparison of me as a character, or me as Miles Morales Spider-man. It’s interesting to see where people’s heads go that they’re like “I can see you as that character.” Well you know what, I love those characters, so if anything, those two would be really dope, i would love to play those.
What does this movie have to say about trust, and how does the relationship between Max Fist and Hamster explore that concept?
I would definitely say that a little bit of Hamster is trusting too blindly, and that he’s letting his want to tell the story blind him from the truths that come with that story. As a person, he is finding it hard to accept reality, and he wants it to be something different, but when it comes to the facts, he can’t change the fact that he’s a nonviolent person, he doesn’t want to see people get hurt or killed. So I believe that it’s a mixture of trusting your gut but also knowing when to quit.
With Max Fist, his relationship is that, you know, people are not appeasing, but people are slowly opening themselves to the options, to the variables of knowing another person and believing in that person regardless of what the face or what the situation holds in front of them, and that you can’t move forward if you don’t have help. You can’t move forward without some assistance, and Max Fist realizes that.
People look at the sheer size of Max Fist vs Hamster and it’s like, they are polar opposites. You would never believe that they would be a team, but the whole situation requires them to believe and have faith in someone else, and I feel like that’s life, like people should never judge a book by its cover and people should be open minded.
Archenemy stars Skylan Brooks as Hamster, Joe Manganiello as Max Fist, and Zolee Griggs as Indigo. The film is in theaters, and available on VOD and Digital today December 11th!. Let us know your thoughts on the film in the comments below or on our social media!