The following is an interview with writer/director Jennie Kong, rapper Jason Chu, and actress Jessika Van (CW’s The Messengers) on the new music video from Stan Lee’s Worlds of Heroes, “No Hero Now.” The action-driven music video stars Van, Beth Riesgraf (TNT’s Leverage), Dan Feuerriegel (Starz’s Spartacus), Chelsea Harris (CBS’ The Stalker), Tony Messenger (The Expendables), and Jack Yang (A Leading Man). In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon chats with Kong, Chu, and Van about the premise of the music video, why World of Heroes is the perfect platform for the project, where you will be able to find the cast and crew at Comikaze Expo this weekend, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Congratulations on the upcoming release of the music video, “No Hero Now!” For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the project, how would you describe its premise?
Jennie Kong: “No Hero Now” is an extended narrative music video produced by Black Mast Studios for the new single from upcoming artists Vy Nguyen featuring Jason Chu. Similar to other music video events, the video goes beyond the song and invites viewers to explore a larger story world. In this case, the video chronicles the life of a retired and reformed assassin, Rian, who must walk back into a life of violence when she finds out her old gang members has been killed or compromised. This is all because they uncovered genetic serums on the black market that allow for humans to now assume super powers and behaviors to fight back.
BD: Why do you feel that the music video is a great fit for Stan Lee’s World of Heroes digital network?
Jason Chu: Growing up, you know we all – directors, musicians, artists – looked up to Stan. The stories that he helped birth inspired us to tell our own stories – and there’s nowhere more fitting for those stories to find a home than on ‘World of Heroes.’
BD: A very talented cast and crew were brought together for this music video. Can you tell us about the process of working with the creative team and the contributions of these individuals?
JK: The project has been in discussion for a while, but it started taking off this summer when one of our producersm Yuka Kobayashi from Stan Lee’s company, brought the core team together. After I pitched my video concept, things began to move fast and we brought on DP Sam Rosenthal, Stunt Coordinator Jimmy Lui, and his team, and our cast and crew on board. In pre-production, we spent a lot of time discussing the tone and feeling of the visual, as well as the characters and story arc to the fight. I cannot say enough great things about Sam and Jimmy who really elevated my vision onscreen. Our post team – Kevin, Conrad, and our visual effects artists – also took it to the next level. It was a really ambitious project, and everyone really gave it their all.
BD: With the plethora of superhero stories being told through the comic book, film, and television mediums, what do you feel makes “No Hero Now” unique?
Jessika Van: Rian doesn’t want to be a superhero. She’s afraid of the power she can wield and doesn’t like who she is as an assassin. She is on a human journey to find the meaning of her life and accept the responsibilities that come with the gifts she’s been blessed with.
JK: Like anything, for me it’s very much about story and character. For “No Hero Now” we decided to focus on the human side of the story, where the lead character is a reformed and retired assassin trying to stop a brewing war between humans and those with super powers. The story begins with her entire team being betrayed and wiped out, and she has no choice but to assume that darkness again.
JC: I think it’s rare to have such a breadth of creative talent on one project; we have musicians, a rapper (me!), graphic artists, videographers, actors, and martial artists all working together to create something truly greater than the sum of its parts. That’s a team-up.
BD: What do you hope that viewers will take away from the video?
JC: I hope they’ll step away inspired. Not just “thinking happy thoughts” but with something to keep them going when they face the real, difficult trials that face heroes in real life.
JV: Honestly, I just hope you all have fun.
BD: Some of the cast and crew of the project will be appearing at Comikaze Expo for a panel discussion. Where will attendees be able to find the panel?
JK: Yes, we’re super excited to host a panel at Comikaze Expo on Sunday, November 1st, at 12 p.m. in Room 511ABC. Come and say, “Hi!” to us.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about “No Hero Now?”
JK: Visit TheRealStanLee.com and also World of Heroes channel to leave a comment or to read more on the details for the video.
JC: On my part, you can check out youtube.com/jasonchumusic for more music and spoken-word videos talking about fighting for hope and healing in a broken world – and stay tuned for more!
JV: Jennie, the writer/director, created a very rich universe for this project, and “No Hero Now” is but a minuscule glimpse into the characters’ lives. If you want more, speak up! And, if you have lingering curiosities, I’m here on the internets (@jessikavan).