Exclusive: Interview With Mike Doto, Writer and Director of ‘The Legacy’

Every once in a while, we’ll get an opportunity to check out a new indie film from out of nowhere and get blown away by it. Sadly, this happens less often than we would like, but in this case, it was completely true.

We recently got to check out the short film The Legacy, written and directed by Mike Doto, about a boy who discovers that his father is the world’s greatest superhero. The film is, by all definitions of the word, fantastic. It captures some of the elements that made the original Superman films so great, without treading into campy territory.

With that in mind, we got a chance to sit down with the writer/director of the film, Mike Doto, about what it took to make the project, and where he goes from here.

The Flickcast: With a concept like The Legacy, what drove you to this idea? Were you a big comic fan growing up? If so, which books were you inspired by the most?

Mike Doto: For The Legacy I really wanted to get back to the roots of why I wanted to be a filmmaker to begin with. I feel like I grew up in a time when movies really connected with kids and I’ve never forgotten the impact that those films have had on me.

Most of these films starred a young protagonist that I could relate to quite easily, films such as E.T., Goonies, Wargames, D.A.R.Y.L., The Last Starfighter, and Back to the Future. What I’ve learned is that these weren’t just kid movies, these were movies for all ages, they appealed to the both the young and the young at heart.  So I thought about what movie I would have written when I was 10-years-old and I decided that I probably would have written a movie about being a superhero.

Superman was my boyhood hero so naturally that’s the hero I wanted to emulate.  In thinking further about the Superman story I decided that it would be more effective to write a film about the relationship between the father and the son since this is at the heart of the Superman character. I actually wasn’t a big comic book fan growing up. I was a huge fan of the Superman movies, but I didn’t really spend much time reading comics.

I would much rather dress up as a superhero or play with my action figures and imagine what that world would be like to live in. Even though a camera wasn’t rolling, I think this was the start of my filmmaking career although I didn’t realize it at the time.

TFC: There are a bunch of parallels to DC’s Superman and Superboy, did you hit any legal crossroads in putting some of these likenesses onto film?

MD: This was our biggest challenge in making this film.  Before shooting, I met with an entertainment attorney to see if this was even possible.  We needed to cover ourselves in a lot of areas, but I believe we created this film without stepping on any copyrights.

We changed the names of the characters, created an original score, refrained from showing the “S” shield, and custom illustrated all of the comics that you see in the movie.  A lot of people have asked me why I didn’t create a completely original superhero for this film.

For a short, I needed a superhero that people were familiar with because I didn’t have enough time to create the back story needed to tell this story.  Every time “Kryptoman/Kryptoboy” is seen and heard we have an alternate take where it is replaced with “Superman/Superboy.” This version is available in the event that Warner Bros. and DC award us the rights.  I’m not holding my breath.

TFC: We loved Legacy around the Flickcast offices. If this takes off with critics and fans, is there a plan to return to the Kryptoman character in future projects?

MD: The response has already been amazing.  I don’t have any plans to return to the Kryptoman character, but I am writing a feature length Superman script just in case those execs at Warner Bros. are interested.  This script is similar in tone to The Legacy and I think it really gets to the heart of the character.

TFC: Now that Legacy is in the can, where do you go from here? Are you planning on hitting the film fest circuit?

MD: Yes, we are hitting the festival circuit this year.  We have been giving a lot of thought as to where we want our world premiere to be.  My last film Peace played at over 30 film festivals and that experience has really helped me in forming a solid festival strategy for The Legacy.

We’re going to be working hard to get the film out to those fans who want to see it.  Our world premiere will be at The Garden State Film Festival in March. Being a New Jersey native, I’m very excited to kick off our festival run in my home state.

Check out the trailer for “The Legacy” below, and we’ll be sure to bring you more updates as they come our way.

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