By Elliott Serrano, @ElliottSerrano
12:00 AM CDT, April 8, 2014
If there's anything you can count on when it comes to comic book fans and their favorite characters, it's controversy over how certain costumes are interpreted for movies and television.
You can go as far back as the first X-Men movie, when Bryan Singer swapped out spandex for leather in creating the mutant super-team's uniforms. I remember how that intially raised the ire of a few fanboys.
It wasn't that long ago when Wonder Woman fans were up in arms over David E. Kelley's take on the "Amazing Amazon" which involved her wearing a costume that included - gasp- pants! (I'm still shaking my head over that one.)
And most recently has been the discussion over Joss Whedon's version of Pietro Maximoff - AKA Quicksilver - in the upcoming sequel "Avengers: Age of Ultron."
When these kinds of things occur, you'll hear a fair share of complaining in comic shops and read it on message boards. And the common refrain is: "why do these filmmakers and television producers decide to deviate so much from the source material?"
Someone who would wonder the same thing is adult entertainment director/producer Axel Braun. Known for his "geek porn" parodies like Spider-Man XXX, Batman XXX, Iron Man XXX, etc., his films are noted for having costumes that are often startlingly faithful to the comic book visuals.
After the images of Quicksilver on the set of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" hit the internet, Vivid Entertainment was quick to share Axel's take on the mutant speedster.
At that point, I just had to reach out to the director to get his opinion on the current state of costume design in superhero movies; ask why he's determined to be faithful to the comics; and about the rigors that the costumes endure when...um...in use:
Elliott Serrano: It's been a while since we last chatted, what have you been up to?
Axel Braun: Shooting non-stop as usual, and enjoying fatherhood at an age when I should be a grandpa. My daughter just turned 11 months old.
Elliott Serrano: Congratulations on that! So, last time the discussion surrounded Wolverine in your features versus in the big-budget features, this time it's Quicksilver. Why do you think this is such a hot topic?
Axel Braun: I think comic fans are often turned off by Hollywood's versions of superhero costumes, and being a fan myself it's easy to see why.
When I saw Bryan Singer's version of Quicksilver I was spellbound by how atrocious it looked. And then Joss Whedon's came out and it was the worst thing I had ever seen.
Now keep in mind, I'm a huge fan of both Singer and Whedon, which makes it even more disappointing to see that with all their resources they couldn't come out with a better Quicksilver costume than mine.
Or with a better casting choice. Aaron Taylor-Johnson with a white wig and dark stubble?
Seriously? I loved him in Kick-Ass, but he looks seriously miscast as Pietro Maximoff.
Elliott Serrano: So why is it that folks like you - and other indie fanboy/fangirl filmmakers - seem to adhere to the look of the comics while the larger studios don't?
Axel Braun: Studios have different priorities; they need to be able to reach a broader audience, so they often use a more widely relatable approach. I am more than content to appeal mainly to fanboys.
Elliott Serrano: I can imagine it's a challenge to get the "look" just right. How difficult was it?
Axel Braun: It is definitely a challenge. Unlike Hollywood, we only have one costume per character, and it needs to survive sex scenes. So on top of getting the look right, we have to use materials that are very resistant.
And zippers. Lots of zippers.
Elliott Serrano: Haha! Okay, whenever I see the actors in your films - um - in action, all I can think is "gee they sure must get hot in those costumes"! Would I be correct in assuming that?
Axel Braun: You would be absolutely correct. The batsuit that Giovanni Francesco wore in "The Dark Knight XXX" was so heavy that he lost 12lbs over the 4 days of shooting. True story.
Elliott Serrano: Yikes! Is there a costume that you've been trying to interpret for film that you haven't been able to yet?
Axel Braun: There are plenty, actually…but I'm getting there!
Elliott Serrano: You just finished the Captain America parody, so what's next?
Axel Braun: "Spider-Man XXX 2: An Axel Braun Parody" is coming out in May, and it's awesome! To me Xander Corvus is STILL the best Spidey ever put on screen, and this time he's teaming up with Arachne…
…in more ways than one.
Intriguing. Thanks for sharing!
Axel Braun: My pleasure, Elliott.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC