Interview by: Brandon and Brett Pascall
Written by: Brandon Pascall
Photos by: Brett Pascall
Saturday evening at SDCC was Deadly Class’s time to shine. We had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing most of the cast and crew along with attending the following panel. One thing was apparent throughout the conversations and the panel: Deadly Class will remain a faithful adaptation, it’s honest, brutal, and charming. We’ll start with the interviews and then move on to the footage.
The first person we sat down with was co-showrunner and executive producer Mick Betancourt, whose past credentials include having written for shows like Chicago Fire and Law & Order Special Victims Unit. Mick made it clear that his job is to make sure people stay on track on following Rick’s [Remender] and Wes’s [Craig] version of the show. He reminisced about his past of being a homeless teen in Chicago and how relatable the characters in the story are. Mick said “We are not going to sensationalize that [lifestyle] but we are going to lay that out as the way the world really was, how difficult it really is being a teenager and how lost you can feel while trying to find your true self and what that can mean, [the show will focus on] not what happens when you can step in and save the day in honor of your friends, but what happens when you don’t?”
The consequences on the show are going to be real. Character moments and relationships are going to be leaned into heavily and focused on more than the glorified hero type.
Rick Remender and Wes Craig were next. Starting things off, I asked if the iconic first villain of the show would be appearing? Chester Wilson, aka F-face.
Rick responded. “Oh yeah. We are casting for F-face real soon! Old Chester is a huge part of season 1 and he has all of his leanings.”
My next question was for Wes, I asked if the wacky and zaniness of the comic would be translated into the show?
“Yes. The TV version will carry that over but don’t think of it as panels shifting to fit the story, that gets in the way. The color palettes and design will stay the same. I don’t want a literal translation of that, but the feel and style will remain the same.”
Rick stepped in. “From the first meeting, I had with Sony. I had a promise that I would be involved, and everyone has held true. I’m the lead writer and writing a huge chunk of the season, so if you don’t like the show, it is an extension of Deadly Class, unpacking the character in a way that Wes and I envisioned them, and it is true to the intention of what we created in the book. Any alterations are minor and most of them are additions, [for example] having someone like Benedict Wong who can read a phone book and you can sit there all day and listen. We are unpacking Master Lin and the rest of the teachers a bit more. Fans will be delighted to see that it is the book and it is not subdued or tamed. It is our broken brains brought to life and anything that is new I am cooking up with other people and signing off on it.”
Fellow Texan Benjamin Wadsworth who plays the titular character Marcus sat down with us next. I started things off by asking how relatable he finds the character. “I resonate with Marcus’s anger, his loneliness.” Ben talked about how he was home schooled and how that helped him connect with Marcus. He recently moved from Houston to Vancouver for the TV show and loves it, it’s his first time living alone.
Last but certainly not least Lana Condor and María Gabriela de Faría sat down with us to talk about their characters. Lana coming from exclusively a movie background and María coming from an exclusively Latin America background. I asked how have the productions compared to the different projects you’ve worked on? Lana responded. “This was my first TV experience, but it wasn’t much different. We shot the pilot like a film, it’s very cinematic and we are so very honored to be working with the best [people in the business].” María answered next. “For me it was! It was this huge difference, I’ve been working my whole, 20 years in Latin America and the first day on set I was overwhelmed! I mean there are people who are here just to open the door for me. It was this huge production, and everyone knew exactly what they were doing and there’s food everywhere! So yes, I was a bit overwhelmed by everything.” They also talked about how the makeup department helped them transform into their characters, they did most of the work for them because when they walked out of the trailer they could really become their characters.
Now let’s move on to the footage.
As a fan of the comic book I can say wholeheartedly that everything about the 13 minutes of footage was perfect.
The footage begins with Master Lin talking to a class of students, we see familiar faces such as Marcus and Brandy. As Master Lin walks by Brandy passes Marcus a note, before he gets a chance to read it, Master Lin uses his cane to hit Brandy in the nose. Marcus reacts by flinching in his seat and Brandy holds in a yelp. Master Lin continues with his monologue and Brandy wipes the blood from her nose and licks it seductively as Marcus stares.
We jump to Marcus walking in the hallway where pages from issue 2 of the comic are presented and transformed faithfully to the screen. Willie bumps into him and Saya ignores his remarks when he tries to approach her. He arrives at his locker and pulls out the “child killer” doll with the knife in its back. Marcus then tells us how this all started. He is standing in front of what looks like the remains of the foster home he was from and burned down.
His inner monologue is filled with dialogue from the comic as he goes throughout his day. Eating a trashed McDonalds hamburger from a garbage bin, writing in his journal, commenting on a family and how that’s what he wants, and we get hints of Saya following him. We jump to the evening where he picks up a half-smoked joint which unknowingly to him has been laced with Angel dust. As he begins to go on a trip we see flashes of color and a broken TV plays a recording of Ronald Regan which mocks Marcus on how drugs are bad. Regan then begins to crawl through the TV and Marcus runs into The Day of The Dead parade. The scene plays out very similarly to issue 1 of the comic.
Marcus is fixated on Maria’s dancing and is paranoid someone is watching him when Willie appears behind him and lets him know that the feds have arrived. The cops chase Marcus through the parade while Maria and Billy [who skateboards in] throw some cops off his tail. Marcus runs into a parking garage where he is cornered. Saya is finally fully introduced by driving in on her motorcycle and saves Marcus by beating up the cops which shows off what type of action we can expect in the series. Willie comes from behind Marcus as he crawls away and throws a bag over his head which is where the scene ends, and we cut to Marcus being tied to a chair. We get the classic comments from the comic book from each of the characters and then Master Lin enters. Things play out differently here though, Marcus does leave and does not take Master Lin’s offer but Saya does not go after him. Instead, Marcus steals Willie’s wallet in which we get a flare of some Russo-brothers humor and Marcus goes to the top of a tower [instead of the Golden Gate Bridge] and almost jumps, this is where Saya steps in and saves Marcus and then kisses him. He then returns with Saya to the school’s secret entrance where she tells him about the rules, we again see Billy, Willie, and Maria. The clip ends with Saya welcoming Marcus to Kings Dominion.
Deadly Class will premier sometime in 2019.