Adi Shankar, the producer behind for the gritty Power Rangers reboot that wowed the internet last week, is back again, proving that phrases like "intellectual property rights" are just words to him. This time, Shankar has released an animated James Bond short, using Sean Connery's likeness and titled In Service of Nothing. It features a retired 007 haunted by past missions and trying to navigate a modern world that no longer needs him. Oh, and there's some atrocious accents in there too.
"an alcoholic, reckless guy with Mommy issues."
"I always wondered what would happen to the Ian Fleming James Bond in today’s world," Shankar told Deadline. "He was an alcoholic, reckless guy with Mommy issues and has the same instincts as a serial killer, and if you revoke his License to Kill, what would he become? This is not the kind of person that you give a gold watch to. He’s a highly weaponized guy, and then at some point you figure he’s going to snap after the call for duty ends."
More interesting than Shankar's take on Bond perhaps, is the producer's preference for shooting films first and asking questions (about rights issues) later. Having worked as a producer on mainstream titles including Liam Neeson wolf-fest The Grey and Judge Dredd reboot Dredd, Shankar isn't a total outsider. However, his "Bootleg Universe" of unauthorized and semi-authorized short films show that he'll happily operate without official permission when he needs to. As well as the James Bond short above and the Power Rangers film, Shankar has created his own takes on comic book staples such as The Punisher and Spider-Man villain Venom.
Shankar shoots films first and ask questions (about rights issues) later
In the case of last week's Power Rangers short, the film was pulled off YouTube following a copyright claim from rightsholder Saban but reinstated just days later after a deal was struck with Shankar, presumably influenced by an online backlash. Our colleagues over at Polygon have looked at whether it was legal or not to use the characters in the first place, but Shankar's stance is clear — if you've got enough support from fans then you can get away with whatever you like.
"There is a changing of the guard, and we need to stop pretending that the people in the digital filmmaking are not credible because the audience is gravitating away from us and to them," Shankar told Deadline. "You must be fearless, but the vast majority of decisions in this industry are fear-based ... This new generation doesn’t hold movies as above or below any other form of content out there. And stuff that is easily accessible online is in a lot of ways closer to what they actually want to watch in terms of the pacing and storytelling."