Well, my friends, you’ve all seen it by now, and if you haven’t then, seriously, you need to check it out! The Brothers Rapture short film has gotten over 447,136 views on their YouTube channel and plenty of internet buzz to match. Based within the established world of the hit video game Bioshock, the story takes a look at life within the imagined city of Rapture from the perspective of two brothers.
But how did this film come to be? Who is responsible for the level of awesome displayed? Well, I sat down with Writer/Director Shaun Rykiss and Producer Trevor Lareau to talk about the origins of the film and the response it’s gotten.
A Conversation with The Real Brothers Rapture
So thank you for talking to us here at Nerd Like You. My first question for the pair of you: How did the idea for the short come about?
Shaun Rykiss (SR): The initial concept of two brothers living in Rapture was something I had been developing for about a year prior to attending Vancouver Film School. The original BioShock had always been one of my favorite gaming narratives and one of my major goals as a filmmaker has always been to adapt video game stories to film or television, so it seemed like the perfect match.
Nice! What was it about Bioshock that made it such a great narrative for you?
Trevor Lareau (TL): For me it was absolutely the world. It felt so grounded, with all of these side stories of people that you could relate to, while at the same time taking place in this larger than life setting. The game managed to make this huge underwater city filled with mutants who have extraordinary powers feel like it could exist, which just stuck with me even after all this time.
SR: Agreed. The thing that I always come back to is how grounded in reality the characters you meet, either in person or through Audio Diaries, despite the extraordinary circumstances that they are in. You come across so many stories of raw human nature, which was my inspiration for writing characters like Charles and Arthur.
And Ken Levine does such a wonderful job of writing characters that have relatable, rational motives. Even though you know a guy like Dr. Steinman has lost touch with humanity, we can still relate to his desire to be more, to be better at what he does. That’s something everyone wants, regardless of difference in lengths we may be willing to go to achieve that.
That’s a seriously fantastic point. It’s what struck me about those games as well. So what brought the two of you together to work on this project?
TL: Well we made this as a ‘Final Project’ at Vancouver Film School, so we could choose our own team and whatever story we wanted to tell. I hadn’t decided exactly what I wanted to do, when Shaun came to me to talk about this project he wanted to direct. It was called The Brothers Rapture and it took place in BioShock, he asked if I would be interested in Producing it. When reading the script I could immediately tell that this was something different, and something I had to be a part of. I had never seen a story like it told before Rapture fell, about two every-man characters. So I told him I’d love to be a part of it.
SR: Our other partner in crime, Salman Sajun (who was the cinematographer on the show) and I had been developing The Brothers Rapture early on in the process and we had never worked with Trevor prior to this project but had always wanted to. Trev and I are nerd brothers in arms and he was equally familiar with the BioShock universe and the type of product we were trying to create so we knew he was the perfect guy to help us see it come to fruition.
Okay, so I’ll admit, I’ve seen this short a few times and I can honestly say that I’m a fan of the characters as well as the story, what was the process for casting Charles, Arthur, and Tippet (hopefully I spelled that right lol)
SR: One of the benefits of our final projects was that we were able to open up casting to anyone. It was funny because we had refrained from referring to the BioShock brand while we were in preproduction as we were sorting out our agreement with 2K Games, but almost every actor who auditioned figured out it was a BioShock film as soon as they read the sides (excerpts from the script). At the end of the day we got incredibly lucky to meet Nic (Charles) and Jon (Arthur) who were both avid BioShock fans, and that passion definitely served as fuel for their performances. Trevor had worked with Jake (Tippet) before and, as with the other two, he killed it in the audition. Vancouver is a fantastic place to find young actors, and we were fortunate that they believed in our little project.
I see that the film has been getting a lot of press on the web since its release (our site included) and the reviews I’ve seen have all been good. That has to be gratifying to know that so many have seen and loved your film
SR: Oh absolutely! We’ve been blown away by the positive feedback we’ve received. The Internet as you well know can be a pretty brutal place, and especially when you create something that’s related to such a beloved franchise you run the risk of offending the audience you’re catering to. You know that you’ll get plenty of people praising it simply because it takes them back to a world like Rapture, but to have people positively comment on the story and the characters, that’s been the truly gratifying part.
TL: Yeah, the whole community has just been absolutely incredible. We worked on that project for nearly 10 months, so of course when you release it you’re going to be nervous. But we’ve been really fortunate with how great people have been, we couldn’t be happier with the response.
That being said, I’ve seen a lot of comments where there are fans of the film clamoring for a sequel or a full length film. If it were a possibility and someone were to say, I don’t know, start up a Kickstarter to fund it, would the two of you be up for something like that?
SR: There’s no question that we love the story that we’ve created and would like to work in the BioShock universe again. Given the nature of the industry it’s never as simple as that unfortunately, but if the right pieces were to slide into place it’s definitely something we’d explore.
Are there any video games out there right now that you would love to adapt or see adapted for film or even television?
SR: Truth be told I don’t think that the feature film format suits the stories that video games have to offer. One of the main reasons people play games is to immerse themselves in a universe, and there simply isn’t enough time in a 2-3 hour movie to properly acknowledge everything that makes a game world interesting. Most single player games take anywhere between 8-20 hours to get through, and so you end up with feature films with rushed story lines and weak attempts to tie key elements of the game into them. Television and webseries’ are far better formats to tell the stories that games have to offer.
As for franchises I’d love to tackle? Dishonored is one I’d love to explore. That’s another game that was carried by interesting characters and the effects that their choices have on their world and the people that inhabit it, and Dunwall has so much to offer as a narrative setpiece.
Coolness! What about you, Trev?
TL: I agree with Shaun in general about Television having it over film as far as video game adaptations. But I think for a franchise like Uncharted, Film is absolutely the way to go. It’s all about taking what the video game story does best and figuring out what medium those would work most effectively in. The Warcraft universe is one of my favorites, I would love to do something there. A movie could work, you could also do a TV series in the style of Game of Thrones. It’s so broad and versatile, with such established history and lore, there’s so much to do.
Holy Crap! I’d watch all of them, no question! Those all sound like they’d be epic shows/films if the writing was done well.
What games are the both of you playing right now (if any)?
TL: Currently I’m gaming on my Mac, so I’ve been playing a lot of Blizzard games. Doing a second run in Diablo 3 and waiting until I can afford StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm.
SR: I’ve been neglecting games lately. I’ve been meaning to do my 1999 Mode run of BioShock: Infinite, which I played through at release and loved. I still prefer BioShock’s storyline, but Infinite was a far more complete game. Otherwise I play a ton of multiplayer, mainly DOTA2 these days, with a dash of Team Fortress 2 every so often. Still my favorite online shooter.
I’d like to thank you both for agreeing to be interviewed for the site. And on behalf of Bioshock Fans everywhere, I’d like to thank you for The Brothers Rapture and tip my hat to you two for a job awesomely done!
TL and SR: Thanks for chatting with us and watching the film!
Well, there we are friends; hope you all enjoyed this and for more information on the film check out and like their Facebook page as well as their YouTube channel (where they have a hilarious blooper reel and director’s commentary). DO IT!! You can also check out the NLY review of The Brothers Rapture here
Well, until next time friends, Nerd Hard, keep being awesome, and may the Dice (if you use them) Always Roll in Your Favor!
All images sourced from The Brothers Rapture – Behind the Scenes
This article was originally posted on Nerd Like You in July 2013