The real story behind Fanboys

Kyle Newman talks about the film’s production history and the effect of fandom.

With the film finally out there and response strong – so much so that it had to be pulled from iTunes because of the sheer numbers that it was doing and the subsequent lack of physical copies that it was shifting – Newman is predisposed towards possibly revisiting it in the future.

“I love the material, I’ve stuck with it for closing in on seven years. It showed that it was selling well and there was demand for extra features, so who knows? They might come back and say hey, why don’t we do the special edition, the very final version? I’m open to it, you never know.”

One thing that becomes clear when speaking to the director about the film is the affection that he holds for the fans who talked about his film, and kept it alive in the online media. Indeed, the support of the bloggers and news outlets that covered it was more than important.

“It was essential for multiple reasons,” he said. “A, it was a grassroots type of promotion in a lot of ways, because we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on it. And it was organic, lots of people talked about it and spread it. And it also helped to set the record straight in a lot of ways. In some ways it was scary because there was a lot of talk about these problems, but in reality the movie was testing phenomenally well. Especially for something that I consider to be slightly polarising because it’s a niche, you know? It’s about Star Wars fandom, in a sense, it’s other things – pop culture, and music as well – but it’s really about a time and it’s about Star Wars fans, and you’re not going to win everybody over with that.”

Even fan support and positive testing didn’t halt studio interference, however.

“The figures were phenomenal for what we were trying to do, but they were like ‘Well, if we offended fans – more people dislike Star Wars and make fun of nerds than like Star Wars – we can get even more people.’ That’s not the right strategy, sometimes you have to just set out restraints and say ‘this is what we set out to do, this is it, and that’s what we made. Let’s embrace it.’ I’m just glad we did that, and as I say, it’s really helped to let people know where it was going and that’s what really helped the movie release, to open up around the country in every major city in America. We only planned in opening in 12, but because people kept demanding it and sites kept writing about it [it opened in more]. In fact, the very first screening we had in Celebration Europe on 2007 was a different cut of the movie, but we showed it there to over 1000 people and that response was huge, because of those websites were there that talked about it and spread the word to other fans, they knew that it was a different sort of a cut that we were trying to make, and there was a cut that they were trying to force on people that none of the people who created this really wanted out there. And because of those sites we were able to communicate the difference, that there was a difference, that this is the version we were trying to make that was good, and this was the version they were trying to put on us. And that’s what helped us get the final cut out and salvage what we could of it.”

Fanboys is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 4 October from Anchor Bay Entertainment.