RICH INTRERVIEWS: Marty Langford Director “DOOMED!” Documentary
First Comics News: How did you get the job of Director on “DOOMED! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four”?
Marty Langford: I created the job! I had always been fascinated by the story behind the shelving of the movie and had been waiting for the definitive account to come out. But it never did! So, because I had a connection to film (DOOMED! exec. Producer, Mark Sikes was a childhood friend, and also the casting assistant on the Corman FF film), I decided maybe I was the one to do it. I was originally going to write a book, but Mark suggested a documentary. It made sense, I mean… we were both filmmakers, but my fear was that we wouldn’t be able to use any footage from the original movie. Mark said, “screw it, let’s do it”, and I said… “ok!”!
1st: You also write and edit as well as direct how did you manage to wear so many hats?
Marty: I have a background in corporate/commercial video, so I know how to produce, write, direct and edit, because I often had to do all four in the various videos I was hired to produce. In a perfect world, I’d have enough of a budget to hire a proper crew, for both production and post, but as is often the case, we just didn’t the have the cash. Believe me, I would have much preferred to hire an online editor to have cut this movie – I had over 90 hours of interviews! – but, because I own an Avid (editing software) and funds were so low, I knew I would have to do it myself.
1st: Why did you want to make this documentary?
Marty: It sounds corny, but I believe the story just had to be told. The fact that over 300 people worked on this movie and never had the satisfaction of a proper release was just a shame – especially for the principal cast and crew. For years, the assumption had been that film was unreleasable because it was a bad movie. And then, after the bootleg surfaced, it was clear that while it was a pretty good piece of filmmaking, that no one was ever going to receive the attention/money they deserved, as no residuals would be given to those that earned it.
1st: What did you think of the original “Fantastic Four” movie and the actors in it?
Marty: I acknowledge that it’s a flawed movie, and embrace it for what it is – a loving and loyal tribute to the comic that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created. The FF are the “First Family” of Marvel Comics, but every subsequent FF film seems to forget that. They may have huge budgets and crazy effects, but they lack the heart and charm of Corman’s film.
1st: When Oley Sassone was interviewed how did he feel about the film not being released?
Marty: He has a quote at the end of the documentary that sums up beautifully his feelings. I won’t give it away, but he’s pragmatic about it. He wishes it were different, and he still hopes a release is in the future, but he’s had a solid career post-FF. As Alex Hyde-White states in the doc, it’s Oley that got screwed the most – it’s his career that could have, and should have, benefited the most from a proper release.
1st: Would you like to see the original “Fantastic Four” movie released and in what form?
Marty: Oh hell yeah. In fact, we’re pushing a #ReleaseCormanFF hashtag in hopes of proving that support is out there. I’d love to see a special edition Blu ray – maybe one that licenses our doc and includes it. Nothing has been discussed, though, and we haven’t been approached to do so. Wishful thinking, yes, but yeah… that’d be terrific.
1st: Have you seen all the Fantastic Four movies, how do you think they compare to the original one?
Marty: They look great, sure, they all lack heart. And more importantly, they lack the family dynamic that Oley and his crew understood a successful FF demands.
1st: Why do you like working on films, what do you personally get out of it?
Marty: I like eliciting a response. I really enjoy watching/hearing/seeing people react to something I created, especially live, like during a screening. It feeds the ego, yeah, but that whole thing about “nourishing the soul”… it does that, too.
1st: What work of yours are you most proud of?
Marty: Oh, without a doubt, this film. Prior to DOOMED!, I’d mostly been a for-hire writer or producer on a project. But with this documentary, I feel a very strong sense of ownership. I’m very proud of DOOMED!
1st: Do you enjoy teaching others your craft?
Marty: I really do. It’s very satisfying to identify students with the passion that I had at their age and nurture their talents. I’ve had students go on to make successful short films and place in festivals. One of my students even signed a deal with Cartoon Network for a show he worked on in one of my classes. It’s terrifically rewarding.
1st: If you could direct a super-hero film which super-hero would you pick other than the Fantastic Four?
Marty: Green Lantern. Without a doubt, it would be Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern. He’s far and above my favorite super hero of all time. The fact that they got him SO wrong in the Ryan Reynolds film was traumatic for me.
1st: What type of movies do you usually watch for entertainment?
Marty: I watch everything. I grew up a horror and sci-fi guy, but I’ll watch anything. Good storytelling trumps all. It trumps genre actors and special effects and whatever. If you can engage me for 90 minutes, I don’t care what kind of movie you make.
1st: What would you like to say to fans of the “Fantastic Four” movie?
Marty: Other than BUY MY MOVIE, it would be to spread the ReleaseCormanFF hashtag. Again – if we could the original film properly released… That’d be amazing.