Flyboy is a web series from Modcot Films.
A twisted comedy of superheroes and sexual assault, heroism and heart ache, Flyboy tells the tale of an ineffectual superhero battling against the brutish forces of Dublin’s underworld.
Blacker than midnight in a room with no windows, Flyboy is a balls-to-the-wall subversive comedy that dares to ask the age-old question: What does it mean to be a man?
Written and directed by Keith Jordan and produced by Séamus Connolly for Modcot Films, the five part series features the acting talent of Des Daly, Sharon Clancy, Amy Kelly, Aidan Corrigan and Stephen Thompson.
Steven Galvin caught up with Keith Jordan to find out more about the man under the cape.
How did the idea behind Flyboy come about?
It’s based on a comic book I created as a kid, about an overly confident superhero who could fly but had no other amazing abilities. I drew this early version of ‘Flyboy’ when I was going through an incredibly dark period about the age of ten or eleven. Up until then I had been conditioned by comic books and VHS to believe that good always triumphed over evil, that the just and true always came out on top – then I got smashed in the face with the lump hammer of life and everything changed. The comic was basically a chronicle of a deluded fool getting his ass handed to him and suffering countless indignities. I realize now that Flyboy was me, and that I was using humour to mask a very real sadness that was pouring out from within. So I kind of wanted to go back and revisit it through the prism of who and where I am now, to do it all over again, basically.
You achieve that fine balance between the subject matter and the gags…
With subject matter like this, we were aware that there’s a very fine line to walk but, to be honest, the show is nothing like what you expect reading it on paper. It’s not gratuitous. Obviously some people are going to be disturbed by the subject matter, but in many ways the show is an exercise in twisting people up in knots. We want to make them feel lots of different things at once. It’s just as much an exploration of people’s attitudes towards certain taboos as it is a humorous meditation on failure. I love how different people take different things from it. Some laugh from start to finish, some wonder where the jokes are, others find themselves oddly moved. It’s not really like anything else, and that’s the point. It’s desperately funny and it’s wonderfully sad.
What was the thinking behind adapting Flyboy as webisodes.
We set a goal for ourselves that when each episode ended the audience should be left saying ‘I didn’t see that coming’. The first episode sets it up as one thing, and then suddenly it takes a sharp left. Then the next episode rolls with it and goes into a completely different direction. And so on and so forth. It starts off all zany superhero comedy, and then evolves into this bizarre stylized melodrama-cum-revenge thriller black comedy, then evolves into something else as moments of poignancy begin to stab their way through the schadenfreude. The idea was to take people on a journey. A very messed-up journey, where things never turn out how they thought they would.
Tell us a bit about the filming process.
We had a blast filming it. It was a pure passion project. We shot it for next to no money – borrowed equipment, roped in famly members to supply locations, and convinced some of our preternaturally skilled friends to crew for free.
We were very lucky in landing our two amazing leads. Desmond Daly and Sharon Clancy.
Des, who plays Flyboy, is my real-life hero. He did an incredible job playing this ridiculously over-the-top superhero caricature, and then this destroyed, broken mess of a man forced to question everything he ever thought he knew about himself. He makes you sympathize with him even while you’re laughing at his misfortune. I could watch him forever. He just nails it.
Sharon Clancy plays Claire, Flyboy’s wife, and her character is very much at the heart of the piece. I find their relationship endlessly fascinating, because while she clearly loves her husband to death, she’s also culpable in a lot of ways for feeding into his deluded worldview. Watching this sugary sweet adoring wife who’s bought into this bizarre lie the man she loves has told himself, and observing them trying to deal with something horrifically real, is hilarious.
The music has very distinct eighties feel to it.
We knew that the obvious choice would have been to riff on a Superman style orchestral theme, but there’s something about those Don Simpson / Jerry Bruckheimer scores that I instantly equate to my childhood. We wanted it to be Lethal Weaponesque. It probably shouldn’t work, but it does. And that’s all thanks to genius of Andy Kirwan, who not only supplied all the music but did our sound edit as well. The guy is beyond talented.
The series is from Modcot Films – tell us a bit about your relationship with them?
The producer, Séamus Connolly, and I founded Modcot Films last year. We’ve both been working in the industry in different capacities for the last eight years or so. We originally met while working as runners in a post-production company and just hit it off. We have very similar sensibilities; he’s a talented, technically minded cinephile and a great friend, and we just decided to finally make a go of it, go out and start shooting. We’ve made a good number of music videos and comedy shorts, but we’re always trying to push the boat out. Give people more than they expect.
Flyboy is a four-part series; any plans to develop it further?
I have an idea for where I’d like to go for a second series, but I don’t know if people could handle how far I’d take it. I don’t even know if I could take it. I couldn’t sleep for two days after I wrote the treatment. I kept listening to Neil Young and crying into the mirror. Which makes me think I might be onto something.
What other projects are you working on?
We have an excitingly cinematic music video in the pipeline, and a horror short set to shoot at the end of the summer.
You can check out episide 2 below – As Flyboy deals with the aftermath of his horrific assault, he finds himself faced with a new dilemma: Just what will he tell his wife?
Official website: www.flyboy.tv
Company website: www.gotmodcot.com