Introducing: Chuck Steinmann – the award winner of Best Screenplay at the FanFilm Awards 2016.
What inspired you to write The Shadow screenplay?
So there’s two parts to this: first is that my grandfather was a fan of the original radio series growing up and he would quote the famous line “who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” to me some times when I was misbehaving, so I was aware of this character from an early age. When I had the idea to write a comic book fan film I was actually on the golf course with my father as an adult. So it’s like a multi generational thing, like the story is sort-of, and so he hit a bad shot and all day I was thinking about what to start writing the next day, and I had just finished this sci-fi pilot that got shelved. So he hits this really bad shot and gets into the golf cart and says “Who knows? Who knows why I hit that shot? The Shadow knows…” and it clicked. The next day I started writing the script.
The timeline is set decades ahead from the original Shadow series. Were there any challenges in building this new world of the Shadow?
Well, sort of, yes well, I took a lot of time to make sure that it made sense as far as the characters aging and with the anti-aging powers that the Shadow’s family possesses it was a good explanation as to why they are over 100 years old now and thriving. So, these characters can still be alive and active today in modern times more than fifty years after the original era of the hero. And you know, that’s the real beauty of comic book series like this, you can pick it up in the future, or on another timeline completely, and build around the original core material and see what took place then and relate it to what new story could be happening now, present day. So I wouldn’t say it was as challenging as much it was fun for me as a writer to analyze all this and organize it into a new world.
Items and quotes from the old series were brought back in this film. Was this directed to just the old audience?
Well no, I wanted to re-introduce these things to a new audience, and have new characters saying them, but still have recognizable quotes that they can connect to the old series. So I wouldn’t say it was just directed to the older fans of the series but definitely wanted to have them included as earmarks for them as well as a reference for new fans to go back themselves and find the source material.
During the production, were there any changes to the original screenplay? Did we miss anything juicy?
The script went through some changes, and we had to cut some scenes and add some scenes for budget reasons and to add clarity. Originally it was a full TV pilot 60 or so pages, so yeah there are many juicy cutting room floor things, but I think I’ll keep all of that within the Shadow network for now.
This felt more like an episode. Is this a pilot for a series?
As I just mentioned yes there is a full pilot script but that is all. Right now it’s not up to me what happens next, but I really appreciate this opportunity to promote this fan inspired story and hopefully it will get the attention it deserves.
What can we expect from this new Shadow?
You will see an all new shadow, Harry Cranston, adopted son of Lamont Cranston, who is younger and more abrasive, and he’s just starting out using his powers for do-gooding. Before it would be just for his own personal protection. So Harry is just kind of thrown into this mystery and he’s going to come out blazing, for better or for worse LOL! He’s got a lot to learn and we’ll see him shed his self centered ego and evolve as the hero character eventually. It will be exciting to watch!
More about Chuck Steinmann
I was drawn to film and television at an early age and had a unique interest in science fiction, swinging light sabers at my family and running through the house chasing aliens. Born and raised in Queens, New York, I was lucky enough to be raised in a culturally diverse environment which allowed me to develop as a storyteller through the lens of all creeds and nations. Early influences were of course Star Wars, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, X-Files and anything in the paranormal range of entertainment was something I shined to early on. With a background in business marketing and working as a freelance promoter for entertainment outlets, I found my way independently into a position on the creative side. Currently I am developing scripts and working on producing for film/TV/new media, most notably as a writer, as well as occasionally working as an actor. I am also pursuing publication for books and short stories as I develop scripted projects in the genres of sci-fi, action and thrillers. I currently reside in Los Angeles, California.