New York City’s favorite web-slinger, Spider-Man, is considered one of the most popular characters featured in comic books.
Peter Parker / Spider-Man has inspired generations since being created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in August 1962, and the upcoming fan-made film “Spider-Man: Lotus” is set to illustrate this wholeheartedly.
The anticipated upcoming non-profit fan film “Spider-Man: Lotos” will explore the psyche of Peter Parker as he confronts the bourdening guilt of his past mistakes.
In the film, following the tragic death of his former girlfriend –– seemingly caused by his own attempt to save her –– Peter Parker (Warden Wayne) lingers in the guilt of the past, questioning whether the curse of his alter ego should be buried for good. When he’s met by the news that a terminally ill child has requested to meet Spider-Man, Peter contemplates the decision to comfort him in his final days.
“We decided to primarily take inspiration from ‘Spider-Man: Blue,’ along with many other stories during that era such as ‘Death and Destiny’ or Gerry Conway’s run, and ‘The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man,’ two grounded stories that focus on the melancholic life of the character,” said Writer and Director Gavin J. Konop. “Our approach is very character driven, with necessary action, but not an over-saturation of it.”
According to Konop, the goal was to dive into Spider-Man’s natural human flaws.
“What defines a man who is crushed by his own mind?” Konop stated. “We pulled from hundreds of different comic books from over the years, whether it was written by Stan Lee, or Gerry Conway, or Tom DeFalco, or any other legendary writer to take on the character, all in an effort to craft a story that honors the character in the best way that we can.”
The movie, which was originally slated for a Fall 2021 release, will finish filming and enter into its post-production stages come June. “Spider-Man: Lotos” is set to premiere January 2022 on the YouTube channel, GJ Konop.
The adaptation was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the delay proved beneficial to the project because it allowed more time for Konop to linger and think on ideas during production.
Spider-Man has always been an influential part of Konop’s life.
“Whether it was a distraction from problems at home, or an escape into a world greater than myself, he was there with me every step of the way – not as a flawless idol, but as someone I could directly relate to,” Konop said. “Peter Parker is endearing because he isn’t perfect – he gives up, he falls short, he collapses under pressure.”
When asked if a certain amount of pressure comes with bringing such an iconic character to life, Konop said the following:
“I think a certain level of pressure will always come with adapting an icon; however, I prefer to stay in my own head and focus on what makes the character endearing to me,” Konop stated. “In creating what I would like to see from the character as a fan, I feel like a lot of that pressure is lifted because I’m doing it out of love, not an obligation.”
Spider-Man has always been an integral part of Konop’s life and bringing his vision of the character has been extremely “therapeutic” for the writer and director.
“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a fan, quite honestly,” Konop said. “According to my mom, I was captivated by the screen when ‘Spider-Man’ (2002) played on the TV for the first time when I was around three years old, and ever since then, I’ve been obsessed.”
According to Konop, Spider-Man exists to reassure people that they’re not alone in their struggles.
“He is reacting, failing and prevailing just like anyone else,” he said. “At the core, [the movie] is very much a story about normal human beings burdened by elements of fantasy, much like Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man 2,’ my personal favorite film of all time,” Konop said.
Konop stated that there’s supposed to be a certain level of realism to the character Peter Parker.
“I don’t feel a disdain towards versions that contradict my vision anymore, because every artist has their own idea of how to interpret a character,” Konop said. “Having the ability to take him into my sandbox, with all of my creative freedom, allows me to focus a lot more productively rather than lingering on negativity.”
When asked about the current version of the webhead featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the “Spider-Man: Lotos” writer and director said the incarnation wasn’t for him.
“I think the character of Spider-Man should always be treated with gravity, and putting him into the atmosphere of ‘action-comedy’ has never worked for me,” Konop stated. “At the center, he’s a drama character — everything special about his stories stems from the internal conflicts and relationships with others.”
Throughout early development and production on “Spider-Man: Lotus” a fundraising campaign was transpiring. Their various milestones were met and exceeded beyond expectations with the film achieving an insurmountable amount of $29,624, nearly $10,000 over their ultimate fundraising goal.
According to the director, the sky’s the limit with this communally raised amount. Anything in addition to the initial budget allows the cast and crew a chance to flesh out the quality and length of the film.
“It feels truly, truly humbling and rewarding,” Konop said. “I dedicated two years of my life to this project, with tireless work day and night, and so many sacrifices… to see it exceeding my own expectations, and going far beyond what I ever imagined is insanely satisfying, and makes it feel like everything was worth it in the end.”
Konop and Warden will not be receiving any monetary benefits. 30 percent of funds will be going to production expenses, 20 percent will be dedicated towards talent and crew each and 15 percent will be going to both post production and travel expenses.
Making movies has been a dream for Konop since he was extremely young.
“I’m inspired by movies such as ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,’ ‘Big Fish,’ ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ ‘Spider-Man 2,’ and ‘La La Land,’” he said.
After Spider-Man, Konop wants to start projects about humanity’s mentality.
“I want to start focusing on projects that center around my observations about human psychology, and illustrate messages that I’ve always felt a need to convey on a wider scope,” Konop said. “Every story I tell will always be with the intent of conveying some sort of larger point.”
Wherever his art takes him, Konop will continue to pour passion into everything he creates.
With the help of their talented crew, “Spider-Man: Lotus” has brought their ideal Spider-Man costume to life. Designed by Tiago Datrinti, the suit is a modernized version of John Romita Sr, Ross Andru and Gil Kane’s original artwork, with a custom logo created by Evan Jackson.
Following the initial design, it was projected by Lorenzo Di Sante, who modified the concept into a 3D landscape and illustrated its translation into live-action.
After the 3D projections, Comic Suit Factory (@comicsuitfactory) began practical realizations of the face shell and logo, in addition to group consultations for exchanges of ideas and plans.
Finally, the team at The Amazing Spider-Lab began crafting the full costume. The result became Konop’s favorite Spider-Man costume to date.
Warden Wayne as Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Warden Wayne will be portraying Spider-Man in this film. Konop has known him for nearly four years and, with their shared creative mindset, the development of the project has been seamless.
“We have helped each other grow as creators, and over the years, I have watched his progression as a dedicated, talented actor who will do justice to this character,” Konop said.
Sean Wythe as Harry Osborn
Harry Osborn, portrayed by Sean Wythe, will play a major role in the film. According to Konop, Wythe is one of the most dedicated, determined and talented actors he knows.
“Sean has been a massive part of this project — not only in his ability to tirelessly work on his performance, but also in his contributions to the film itself,” Konop stated. “He is responsible for the ‘Lotus’ title, and his constructive criticism on the script has led it to become the best it can be.”
While he will not become the Green Goblin in this story, you will see how Harry deals with the death of his father, Norman Osborn, and how it ties directly into the central themes of “Spider-Man: Lotus.”
Moriah Brooklyn as Mary Jane Watson
Illuminating the conflicts of the film will be Mary Jane Watson, played by Moriah Brooklyn. According to Konop, Brooklyn’s passion, energy and charisma brought something to the role he has never seen before in an adaptation.
“The moment I saw her, I knew I was looking at someone who could truly do justice to this massively important character,” Konop said. “We are all excited to work with her this summer, and show you a version of MJ that we feel has been overlooked outside of comics.”
Tuyen Powell as Gwen Stacey
Tuyen Powell will be portraying Gwen Stacy in this film — the person who taught Peter Parker the meaning of love. While Konop couldn’t give many details on her role in the narrative, he could say that Tuyen’s passion for comics seriously revealed itself through her audition.
“Each line was delivered with the perfect level of subtlety that we were looking for, and the energy surrounding her illustrates exactly who Gwen Stacy is,” Konop said.
Max Fox as Tim Harrison
Max Fox is Tim Harrison — the emotional core of the entire storyline. Faced with the curse of terminal illness, Tim lives his final days with hope and optimism, effortlessly modeling himself off of the icon that he views Spider-Man to be.
“I have wanted Max in this project since the day we announced it — not only does he carry a strong presence with his acting, but he also loves the comic books about as much as the character he’s playing,” Konop stated. “We have faith that he will nail the role, and deliver the exact portrayal that we are envisioning.”
“Spider-Man: Lotus” will premiere January 2022 on the YouTube channel, GJ Konop.