Past Friday, Netflix
brought the adaptation of Gerrard Way's popular gothic comic book series, »The Umbrella Academy«, to New York Comic Con
as part of its "Netflix and Chill" spooky programming block. Way and the cast, which includes Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige
, Cameron Britton
, Tom Hopper
, David Castañeda
, Emmy Raver-Lampman
, Robert Sheehan
, Aidan Gallagher
, Colm Feore
, Adam Godley
, John Magaro
and Ashley Madekwe
, were in attendance to talk about the project and show the first trailer.
While the video itself isn't available on the internet yet, it opens with the adoption of each of the seven children of The Umbrella Academy. Fast-forward 17 years and their father Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Feore) is dead. Some of the children appear to be dancing, perhaps celebrating the death of their dad, but others look upset. While each family member has superpowers, these are only glimpsed in the footage.
(Video courtesy of Aidan Gallagher)
Here's a summary of the event with the most notable statements and how the actors would describe their corresponding role using just a single word:
"I play Number One… and this is my second New York Comic Con. One word to describe my Luther (aka Spaceboy) … Pressured," Hopper explained whose superpower in the series is his strength. "There's one word that's been being used out there, and it's bitter… and he's not bitter. He's just mean," Castañeda teased about his role as Diego aka The Kraken (number 2). "One word is tricky, so I would say she's guilt-ridden. She's got a lot of guilt," Raver-Lampman added while talking about Allison aka The Rumor (number 3). Sheehan described his character, Klaus aka The Séance (number 4), as "Chaos. Chaos is a good word. He's a swirling Tasmanian devil of a character that doesn't know which end is up most of the time." "Number Five" (he has no other nickname) is able to travel through time, and despite being in his 50s, is trapped in a youthful body. Gallagher called his character "Calculated. Calculated chaos."
"I play Vayna (aka The White Violin, number 7) … and Vayna, I would certainty say, is anxious," Page confessed. And what of number 6, Ben Hargreeves aka The Horror? Well he is dead when the comic series begins but has a way of popping up through visions and other forms. Finally, there's the "Super Evil" Hazel. "He works as a time-travelling assassin but he still finds no magic in that," Britton said of his character who is partner-in-crime to Blige's character, Cha-Cha. "One word to describe my character is evil. Just evil, evil, evil. She's just an empty, evil character," the actress shared.
When asked about the similarities between the show and the comics, Aidan Gallagher shared: "this is such a unique property, when you explain it to people who aren't fans, they'll say 'I get it' - but they won't get it... when you see the way it's shot, the writing behind it, our incredible cast, you guys are gonna be blown away. I think we do a good job of honoring the comics, but we have some interesting stuff ahead." "Because it's 10 hours of footage, the characters have gotten more complex and more well-rounded," Cameron Britton added. "You have to take liberties. You have to spash some of your originality into the soup… otherwise you're just recreating something in a different form, but fuck that," Robert Sheehan concluded.
"I've always wanted to be the superhero or super-villain," Mary J. Blige shared. "I wanted to learn how to shoot a gun and do martial arts. It was perfect, yeah. Oh, I picked up some skills, yes." "There's many an email chain about all of us having very unique dancing styles. A lot of YouTube videos shared," Emmy Raver-Lampman revealed while Robert Sheehan added "the first thing I did was my part of the dance montage, and I was shitting a giant brick because it was my first day filming." "Vayna Hargraves plays the violin. She's very, very, very, very excellent at it. I am not," Ellen Page stated with a laugh. "This posed a challenge that I was excited to accept, and kudos to anyone who plays the violin, because holding the goddamn thing is so damn hard. My 'Twinkle, Twinkle' is close to perfect!"
"I thought it was like a physical thing, because the comics are very inspirational. You see his piercing eyes and the way he holds himself," Gallagher shared. "I found myself drawing on this mentality… I try to portray that maturity through a 58-year-old's mindset." "You know what's weird about this role is that my whole career I've always been told, 'Don't get too big! You won't get cast,'" Hopper recalled. "I could not get big enough for this role. You'll see as this show comes out that there was no way I could have gymed enough or taken enough steroids to get where I needed to get to." "I think, for me, the work was the same. The finding your intentions and playing the scene and being in the moment and the acting part of it. The thing that's the biggest difference for me is the scale," Raver-Lampman said, comparing the role to her time on stage as a member of Hamilton. "The camera is maybe an inch from your face and you have to do a lot less."
The 10-episode series comes from Steve Blackman as executive producer and showrunner, with additional executive producers Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg from Dark Horse Entertainment and Blue Grass Television. Jeremy Slater wrote the pilot script adapted from the comic book. »The Umbrella Academy« will be available to stream beginning Friday, February 15, 2019.
On the same day in 1989, forty-three infants are inexplicably born to random, unconnected women who showed no signs of pregnancy the day before. Seven are adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a billionaire industrialist, who creates The Umbrella Academy and prepares his "children" to save the world. But not everything went according to plan. In their teenage years, the family fractured and the team disbanded. Now, the six surviving thirty-something members reunite upon the news of Hargreeves' passing. Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Vanya and Number Five work together to solve a mystery surrounding their father's death. But the estranged family once again begins to come apart due to their divergent personalities and abilities, not to mention the imminent threat of a global apocalypse.