EXCLUSIVE: Arrow star Stephen Amell has spent four seasons fighting the bad guys of Star City on the CW, but he wants to bring some original action of his own to the big screen – and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows actor may be well on the way. Halfway through its run on Indiegogo and offering perks galore, Amell and The Flash actor Robbie Amell’s feature Code 8 has surpassed its $200,000 crowdfunding goal by 323%.
With just over $646,000 raised so far, the film starring and EP’d by the Amells focuses on an urban America where 4% of the population have been born with supernatural abilities and skills. As the fast-paced 10-minute self-financed short the Amell cousins released on March 22 shows, that 4% are not the winners nor society’s heroes. In fact, many of the “specials” live in close to or under the poverty line and often resort to a life of crime in desperation against a highly equipped and trigger happy police force – and in that you have the conflict and the drama.
“Choosing the crowdfunding route, which is simply a part of the overall financing, allows us to retain 100% of the creative control in the project,” Stephen Amell told Deadline of the potential late-2017 feature. “Both Robbie and I are products of the studio system, both in television and features, and we owe most, if not all, of our success to that system. That being said, we think there’s a real opportunity to fill some white space in the sci-fi genre in a feature film that hasn’t been occupied yet.”
The Fast & Furious franchise’s Sung Kang, who played the now-deceased Han in a number of the car action movies, is also in the short and set for the big-screen version.
The Arrow star helped produce the short but did not appear in it due to his CW and Ninja Turtles schedules, but cousin Robbie — who most recently was seen as FBI Agent Miller in Fox’s The X-Files revival — was in the Jeff Chan-directed sample of sorts. Chan came up with initial Code 8 concept and co-wrote the short with Chris Pare. The duo worked together on the 2014 horror pic Grace, which Chan helmed. Chan is writing the story for the Code 8 feature, and Pare will write the first draft of screenplay. Both are producers on the short and will be producer and co-producer on the feature, which Chan will direct.
“We called in as many favors as we could, and Code 8 wouldn’t be what it is without Jeff and the team of people he put together in Toronto,” Robbie Amell told Deadline today.
“From a practical standpoint, I was confident we could utilize our social media presence and make a campaign that would be up there with any other campaign promoting original IP,” added Arrow’s Amell, who is working on the Season 4 finale for that show. “The toughest thing to do in this business is take a new idea and get people excited.” And it looks like they have gotten people excited as the campaign for the feature length version of Code 8 pulled in $100,000 in its first 24 hours last month.
“Whether the feature is a direct pickup of where the short leaves off or not is something we’re keeping to ourselves,” Stephen Amell said. “My role was initially in flux depending on availability, but we’re confident that enough time will be carved out to really have this be a feature starring both myself and Robbie. We want it to be as advertised for all the people supporting the project.”
Before Code 8 sees life, Amell will be seen on the big screen in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, which hits theaters June 3.
Stephen Amell is repped by CAA, Gary Goddard Agency and Leverage Management. Robbie Amell is repped by WME,Coast to Coast Talent Group and Protégé Management. Chan is repped by Management 360.