Kyle Whisner discusses his time with Project: LEX
Four years ago a fantastic cinematic trailer released for DC Universe Online that featured a plethora of DC Comics superheroes and villains battling it out for nearly six and a half minutes. The trailer went on to be viewed close to 5 million times on YouTube, and offered more of a movie viewing experience than a traditional video game spot. Many of DC’s character were put on display in slightly unique takes on their traditional costumes to reflect their style as depicted in DCUO.
The DCUO trailer that inspired Project: LEX
Thanks to the popularity, and overall awesomeness of this DCUO trailer, renowned Superhero photographer Adam Jay decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to recreate the characters in real life for a DC Universe photo shoot for the ages. This concept resulted in Project: LEX, which is now fully funded, and almost ready for release. In addition to wrangling up all of these DC characters in real life for a photo shoot, Project: LEX will also produce a live-action 4K video based on the trailer with the help of Bing Bailey and the Bat in the Sun YouTube channel (known for the Super Power Beat Down series).
Project: LEX on Kickstarter
It’s safe to say that this project is going to be awesome, so now that it’s almost finished we reached out to one of the stars of the shoot, the Green Arrow for an interview. Well, not Mr. Arrow himself, but rather Kyle Whisner (Pro race car driver), who portrayed the arrow slinging do-gooder for Project: LEX. Kyle was gracious enough to provide some insight into the photo shoot, and his involvement with it, as well as what it was like to don Green Arrow’s costume.
EB: How did you first get involved in Project: LEX?
KW: Adam Jay (The creator of Project:LEX and founder of Super Hero Photography by Adam Jay) and I where trying to figure that out ourselves. It had been such a arduous journey we had both forgot how it all started. Essentially it came down to having mutual facebook friends. After seeing the projects kickstarter page I did everything in my power to be apart of it. After a few emails it became apparent Adam (hailing from the UK) would benefit from having an LA based corespondent. In trade for helping with locations and bringing other talent in I was offered the opportunity to dawn the bow. Just goes to show it never hearts to ask and helping others to accomplish their goals helps you accomplish yours.
EB: Did you have a choice of which character to play, or did you go into it wanting to be the Green Arrow?
Having driven race cars since the age of 9 of course I wanted to be the Flash. What race car driver wouldn’t? But Adam knew best and cast me as Arrow.
EB: If you had the choice, then why did you go with Green Arrow? Is he one of your favorite DC characters, and why?
At that point I had no real idea of who Arrow was. But after some research it was apparent Adam nailed the casting choice. I have always been a big DC fan. Batman is and will always be the man and through out the comics and animated series it’s known that Arrow has a deep respect for him. Well so do I. Then Ollie’s back story starts to surface. His Robin Hood style origin. The sticking up for the little guy. The underdog in every fight. Look the guy gets by on his skills. No superpowers. But that’s all of us right? And that’s why Arrow resonates with us. He may be up against foes that could take down any member of the Justice League, but he takes them down with wit and a few trick arrows. All with a sense of humility and integrity.
Batman sums up the character of Green Arrow the best:
Batman: Well, if it isn’t the monster killer.
Green Arrow: I was lucky, so was everybody else. Still don’t think I belong up here.
Batman: That’s the point. Someone like you will keep us honest.
EB: All of the Project: LEX costumes look fantastic, how did the Green Arrow suit feel once you were in it? Did your archery skills improve as a result of wearing it?
I had never shot an arrow in my life. But I frequented the range before hand to get an idea of what was to come. Though, nothing prepares you for suiting up and dawning the bow. You have an uncontrollable felling to turn on and off light switches without getting up and shoot apples off people’s heads. Some of the costumes were made by the talented cos-players themselves. Arrow, Wonder Woman and a few others were made by Lee Trujillo at Tru Costumes & Props. The guy does some amazing work. I had been in the gym for months and had grown muscle since the measurements were taken, so how the costume fit so well on our first fitting is beyond me. It’s like he knew, left some wiggle room, and only had to tweak a few things here and there. His craftsmanship is superb and if you ever get the chance you should see the top secret gizmos and gadgets he is currently making for a few “unnamed” A-list feature films.
The costume including the Bow and Quiver are going up for Auction in April. So be sure to get in early as the money raised will go to help the Victory Junction Camp for chronically ill children.
EB: What is the most impressive suit featured in Project: Lex, and why? As a follow up, if you could have chosen your role, which one would you have picked after seeing the finished costumes?
Would have to say the most impressive suit is the one for Wonder Woman. The detail is fantastic. You’re looking at a piece of art at this point. Up close the leather’s intricate stitching and layers makes for (an) eye full of awesome. Plus it’s being worn by a good looking woman, so that helps. :) To be honest I lucked out. Everyone on set thought the Arrow costume was amazing and I would have to agree. Lee knocked it out of the park and I was grateful to have the opportunity.
EB: Project: LEX donated proceeds from selling the DC costumes to the charity that each actor chose, so which charity did you support, and why did you pick it?
Victory Junction Camp was created by Kyle Petty after the death of his son Adam. The forming of the charity as a way to heal from the racing tragedy has brought joy to many children suffering from a multitude of illness including cancer. It resonates close to home. Racing, my fathers death to cancer, having worked closely with the Richard Petty Driving Experience and heck being named after the guy (Kyle Petty)… when asked, it was the first charity to come to mind.
EB: Are there any future plans for Project: LEX?
A 4k short is in post production. Directed by Bing Bailey (best known for his feature film which has been sold in over 17 countries “Portrait of a Zombie,” and now available on blu-ray distributed in the US under Revolver Entertainment label as “About a Zombie” ) with VFX from Yoshi Vu who worked on The 2011 Green Lantern movie.
There is also the equivalent of Project:LEX 2 in the form of Super Bar/Brawl. Same group headed up by Adam Jay based on the “Super Bar” image by Charlie Layton. Taking it further with an all out brawl and additional characters.
EB: Can you tell us when the live action short may debut?
It looks like we are shooting for sooner rather then later. With all the projects in the works we’re getting little sleep, yet pushing forward. Not to mention this year’s race schedule. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say by this summer. Just keep an eye out for updates on the Project:Lex Facebook page and from Super Hero Photography by Adam Jay.
EB: Do you have any current or future projects that you’d like to share?
Wow, Yes! We finished up shooting Star Trek Renegades at the end of last year. The pilot episode is in post production and will be released this year. Star Trek Axanar is a feature film that’s in pre-production and is shaping up to be fantastic. Headed up by Alec Peters, Christian Gossett, Tobias Richter and Mark Edward Lewis the project is everything we love about Trek and then some. Be sure to check out the kickstarter to boldly go where these these talented folks are.
We also just wrapped shooting “The Man In The Trunk” earlier this year so look for it on DVD sometime in 2015. The thriller is an edge of your seat ride and was a pleasure to co-produce. It also showcases some cool stunt driving and I have to say, it was a heck of a good time hot rodding a 1987 Buick through the back woods of Arkansas at night.
(I) was offered a ride in The SRL S-2 Late Model Series this year from car owner Joe Nava. A companion series to the Spears Srl Southwest Tour. Performance P-1 Motorsports (PP1M) has cars in every division up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, and based off our good run last Saturday night we will be going door to door at a short track near you. So come on out and bring the family. Your in for a great show.
Oh and be sure to check out “After the Black Flag” – a Motorsports Action/Thriller that’s currently in development that’s already sparked the interest of Sony and Magnaflow. It will be my first staring roll in an indie feature and looking forward to working with Brotherhood pictures and Little Brother Sight and Sound once again.
Big thanks to EntertainmentBuddha.com for shining a spotlight on some awesome and note worthy projects. The more people that take notice the more we can help others while creating some great work.
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