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What began as a riff on Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace has turned into a phenomenon.
Four years, 167 videos and 1.1 billion views later, Honest Trailers are nearly as anticipated as the blockbusters they skewer, with screenwriter Max Landis joking in March that the Honest Trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was his “most anticipated movie of 2016,” and Captain America: Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo admitting they attempted to “Honest Trailer proof” their film during production.
Now, the parody YouTube series has reached another level of success, earning its first Emmy nomination, competing in the outstanding shortform variety series category.
In honor of the Screen Junkies series’ first nomination, Honest Trailers creator Andy Signore sat down with Heat Vision to go behind the scenes of some of his team’s best work from the past year.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Like the latest Star Wars film, its Honest Trailer united two generations. In a sometimes forgotten piece of Honest Trailers history, Jon Bailey, beloved voice of the series, wasn’t always so beloved. He was actually the replacement for original voice Gannon Nickell, and it took fans a few months to warm up to him.
“Jon came in and fans were, ‘Who is this guy? Get him out of here!'” recalls Signore. “For a good several months, people hated Jon. Now it’s funny because it’s completely shifted and they love Jon and then Gannon came back in. ‘Who the hell is this old guy? He sucks!’ It was funny to me.”
Signore had been looking for a way to bring back Nickell, and he happened to be in Los Angeles and sent Signore an email to catch up.
“Force Awakens was this perfect mix of nostalgia and new,” Signore says. “This was the perfect excuse to have two dueling audience voices. ‘No, it’s great. I love it because it reminds me of the thing when I was a kid,’ and the other voice saying, ‘No, it’s not as good as what we knew as a kid.’ The dueling voices was an important part of that.”
No Honest Trailer this year has made more of a splash than Deadpool, which featured a first for the series — getting a star from the film to participate in the trailer. Signore was able to strike up a correspondence with Ryan Reynolds on Twitter, and landed him for the trailer without going through agents or studio Fox.
The first draft of the trailer only had Reynolds’ Deadpool show up at the very end, and Signore was hesitant to try to take too much time out of the busy actor’s schedule. But it soon became apparent Reynolds was game to do more.
“He asked, ‘Is there anything else I can do?’ Once he did that, I was like, ‘Well sure! It’d be funny if you came in earlier.’ And he was down,” says Signore. “We actually flew a sound guy to London to record with him in a car. He couldn’t get the booth again. The dude is a busy guy and he made a point to have a web series come out there with a random sound guy and sit in a car for 20 minutes. He had to re-record the whole script again because it couldn’t sound different. And he did it. He killed it and gave it 100 percent.”
Now that he’s had Deadpool, who is on Signore’s dream list of guests? None other than Wolverine, whose son is apparently a big fan of Honest Trailers. A friend of the show who worked on the set of The Wolverine managed to get an autographed photo for the team, with Jackman writing that he loves Honest Trailers.
BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
“That was probably our most important trailer of the year in a way,” says Signore. “So many people were so frustrated by it and there was so much argument about it that we really wanted to do it justice of explaining why so many of us were so annoyed and frustrated by it.”
Screen Junkies producer Dan Murrell spent an afternoon meticulously writing out Lex Luthor’s (Jesse Eisenberg) evil plan; a scroll explaining the scheme ended up being the centerpiece of the trailer.
“The scroll was like five times longer, but we edited it down,” says Signore. “When I read it, I was laughing. ‘This makes no sense!’ Just put it on paper. Sometimes being honest is writing it out. We didn’t go in to make mean jokes or to crack a bunch of unfair things about it. We just really wanted to be as honest as we could and explain why we were so frustrated by that movie.”
For more from Signore, check out his Facebook Live chat with The Hollywood Reporter:
Meet your Emmy nominee: Andy Signore, creator of Screen Junkies’ Honest Trailers is LIVE. Leave your questions in the comments below.
Posted by The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, August 23, 2016
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