Barbra Dillon: Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: The Fanboy Comics staff and I learned about your song, “Batman Maybe,” a few weeks ago, and we cannot get it out of our heads! Aside from The Dark Knight Rises film itself, what inspired you and the members of NoBatStache to create the song?
Wesley Freitas: I really just wanted to combine what I thought were the two most popular things at that particular time: TDKR and CRJ (Carli Rae Jepson). I am not ashamed to admit that I like the song, but, then again, since it played on the radio every few minutes, it was more of an acceptance of the inevitable. I get random skit ideas or funny concepts in my mind and then do nothing with them; this time around I told myself it needed to happen. Once I recorded the song with my buddy (Tyler Trautman) and people heard the lyrics, I got great responses and that carried it through to shooting.
BD: What can you tell us about the team behind NoBatStache and how the group came together?
WF: I went to Chapman University, and all my friends were film majors. I would act in their films and collaborate on projects. We have kept in touch over the years, and when I proposed the idea, they jumped on board and were super supportive. Jonathan Bruno, who also went to Chapman, is a newer friend of mine and is the man. He really spearheaded this along with me more than anyone and is a wizard with a camera. Tyler, who produced the song with me, is also from my Chapman days and is a great director/writer and is the lead singer in the bada-- band Glenn and the Sunshine Gang. He will probably direct the next one, so I can just fool around more in front of the camera.
BD: It goes without saying that you had quite a hand in the production of this song, as you not only wrote the lyrics but also produced, directed, and starred in the music video. Did you find it difficult to manage all of these roles throughout the production process?
WF: Yeah the credits were actually kind of a joke. It feels douchey to me when people put their name in like four title cards. I get credited for Blake, producer, and song guy as "Wes Freitas," but then Director as "Wesley Freitas." If I could do it again, I would have made the joke more blatant, but oh well. Technically, I did do all those things, but it’s because I was just having fun. Once the camera was rolling, it was pretty collaborative. Jon was just as much a director as I was, along with being grip/electric, AD, PA, camera operator, and Director of Photography. Everyone was passionate about making it a great video and contributed funny ideas.
BD: Many of the actors in “Batman Maybe” hold an uncanny resemblance to their counterparts in The Dark Knight Rises. How would you describe the casting process for the music video?
WF: Well, as soon as I started planning, I tracked down Russ Russo. I met him on the set of CSI: Miami a few years back, and I made a mental note that he was a dead ringer for Christian Bale. I found an old message thread on Facebook and told him to call me. At first I think he was a little reticent about the idea, but then when I told him he would get to wear the Batsuit, he was in. I don’t think this would have worked at all without him. As far as Bane, Catwoman, and Gordon, we got them on the day of the shoot . . . no joke. Andrew Ducote, Slim-Jim Gordon, got me Matt Holbrook’s phone number, and I called him the morning of the shoot!! I explained I was paying for this out of pocket and that the pics of him that I had seen looked amazing, and I would kill to have him on the shoot. He came early, did his own make-up, and stayed till the end . . . and he did it for free. He’s the man. Andrew was my focus puller, and Russ pointed out on the first day's shoot that he could play Gordon, and then I borrowed my boss’ wife for Catwoman. Boom, casted. I should have gave Wes Freitas a casting credit too, next time.
BD: The music video also features impressive sets and costumes that appear to be straight off the Warner Bros. lot! Was it a difficult process to acquire the filming locations or the costumes?
WF: An authentic Nolan suit was essential to me. If I couldn’t get a legit one, I was just going to keep Russ as Mustache Wayne the whole time. Luckily, fellow Chapman alums Ethan Cushing and Bryan Nest had just wrapped a Nolan-esque fan film: Batman: Puppet Master. It’s awesome. Watch it. They agreed to let me rent a $2,500.00 suit from them at a day rate. I was double dipping when I used it for the Nigthwing rooftop scene, sans the cowl.
You wouldn’t think so, but Blake was the hardest costume to put together. I was obessed about looking the part, so I even got the exact turtle neck GCPD smock from the people who did it for TDKR! They still had the stitch pattern on file for it from the movie, so no extra charge. Bonus. I am still bummed that I did not have the real GCPD badge and patch, which I almost ordered from Chicago, but I’ll get over it . . . maybe.
As far as Bane goes, he told me he pieced that together from several different places and got custom things done himself. He’s the man, did I mention that?
The Wayne Manor I got from a friend who lives in Irvine. He owns a construction company and built his own little manor. Bob and his wife Michelle let me take over for a day with my tiny crew. The penthouse from the video is actually where I work. My day job is a wooden-eyewear-cobbler in downtown LA (sireseyewear.com). Chris and CJ, the bosses, let me have full run of the place, and they are the biggest fans of the video. Chris literally shows every customer, even if they don’t want to watch it. Awesome. I owe Bob, Michelle, Chris, and CJ for the production value of their places.
BD: Am I correct in that “Batman Maybe” has received nearly 1 million views on YouTube? How would you describe fan reaction to the song?
WF: As I am writing this, Tyler texted me saying, “1300 away from a million,” so that’s nearly I suppose. I am blown away by the reactions. This was my first video to post on a formally non-existent channel; I had zero suscribers. My friend sent it over as soon as it was live to themarysue.com, and it spread through the internet from there, I suppose. Damon Lindelof tweeted it soon after that, and then it was on Seacrest’s Blog, and then Oprah’s! Still funny to me. I think Batman fans gave us the most support. By this time there were hundreds of CRJ spoofs and fan films, and I was in the works to make a video before The Dark Knight Rises premiered, with Catwoman as the singer, but I’m very proud of the video as it is and humbled by the response.
BD: Have you received a positive response from any of the individuals involved in The Dark Knight Rises?
WF: None directly, but I was told the editor of The Dark Knight loved it and showed it off on his Facebook page, and that Jonathan Nolan was emailed a link. To be continued.
BD: Are there any other projects that you currently have in the works that you would like to share with our readers?
WF: There are a few, but I am not sure they will be Batman related. I want to enjoy the success of this one, but to be honest with you, I am stressing about how to follow this up. In any case, I have to do what I will be proud of, and being a geek myself, I believe it will find a welcoming audience.
BD: Being that we focus on all things “geek” at Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about your favorite comic books, graphic novels, or movies?
WF: Oh yeah, I would love to! I just did Comic-Con and met a bunch of cool writers and independent publishers. (I have dreams of finding the next big thing and optioning it before those that occupy Hall H do. Haha!) I really like the guys from Keyleaf; they are putting out good stuff. I have to mention Mythoi and Dust by James Ninness and his San Diego-based crew; they are awesome books. I am inspired by people who make what they want to see, read, and watch happen. Let's see, I have been on a Western comic book kick lately, you need to read Dust . . . really . . . it’s awesome. Oh yeah, Gunther Reed, the bear-riding cowboy is a lot of fun. I met the writers and I told them it was like seeing Han and Chewy in the old west; they laughed politely. I guess I kinda let the comics filter through my friends and I read what they recommend.
In terms of movies, my all time favorite is Big Trouble in Little China. I love it. I watched it last night . . . for work or pleasure? I am not saying but still so good. INDEEEEEDDD!!
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell our readers who want to learn more about “Batman Maybe?”
WF: You can ask me anything on Twitter that you would like . . . I kinda suck at it, but I’ll try my best to respond. My neighbor made t-shirts and they look awesome. If you are inclined to rock one, the profits go to more vids (nobatstache.com). Shameless. Oh, and some of the comments on the YouTube video are priceless! One guy said that I looked like “Joseph Gordon-Levitt on a high salt diet.” That almost made me laugh out loud, but I realized that it was supposed to be an insult, so then I just GTM’d (giggled to myself).